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Ratings and Book Reviews (8 38 star ratings
8 reviews
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Overall rating

4.2 out of 5
5 Stars
17
4 Stars
10
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  • Unput-downable

    When Beth takes her son to an out of town football game, she can’t resist the temptation to check out her ex-best friend’s new house. Only while she is watching the house, something happens. Flora, who she hasn’t seen in over 10 years arrives home, and her children pile out of the back of the car – only they look exactly like they did 10 years ago. Flora has aged, but the children haven’t. Why haven’t they grown? Fast forward to a book filled with endless personal investigation, crazy suspicions, unthought-out actions, and a determination to figure out exactly what is going on in the life of someone who was once very important to Beth, and why it feels like something is very, very wrong. Haven’t They Grown is an exciting and very unexpected thriller, filled with dramatic action and bizarre twists. Beth makes a brilliant leading woman and is in equal measures frustrating and admirable. Her determination to figure out what is happening feels at times to be bull-headed obsession, and at other times a selfless need to make sure someone she once loved is safe. I can’t imagine acting the way she does, but I admire her spirit and her choice to not allow anyone to shut her down. Beth and her family are brilliantly written for the most part, although my only question is, didn’t she have a son at the start? He basically disappears after the first chapter, and I wonder if he almost would have been better left out. Anyhow, Beth’s husband Dom and daughter Zannah are both fantastically believable characters and I love their relatability and the humour they bring to the story. Zannah is beautifully precocious, as you would expect the daughter of a crazy, strong willed rebel like Beth to be. Dom is fantastically content with life, and I love the way he expresses himself. I really love the part where Beth points out that especially when you are young, you never really consider whether your friends might be bad people. They are just who they are, sometimes that’s embarrassing or angering, but mostly it’s nothing. You spend time with the people you spend time with, and that’s that. It made me think about the people I know, and about how I decided to be friends with them as well as why I continue to be friends with some of them. It can be decidedly refreshing and beneficial to realise that you don’t have to spend time and energy on people just because you have always known them. Friendship should not always be a default, especially when someone makes you uncomfortable or anxious. I loved the this thrill packed book, and I found it fairly impossible to unravel the truth before the end. If you like bold, determined protagonists who will absolutely not take no for an answer, then look no further than Haven’t They Grown. Full of twists and turns, you won’t be able to stop thinking about it until you know what’s really going on.

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    8 person found this review helpful

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  • Far fetched but entertaining....

    I’d yet to read a Sophie Hannah book, even after they’d come highly recommended by fellow readers. I was therefore very excited to be given the opportunity to read her latest novel “Haven’t They Grown” (also under the title “Perfect Little Children”). “All Beth has to do is drive her son to his Under-14s away match, watch him play, and bring him home. Just because she knows her ex-best friend Flora, lives near the football ground, that doesn't mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. She hasn't seen Flora for twelve years. She doesn't want to see her today, or ever again. But she can't resist. She parks outside the house and watches from across the road as Flora and her children Thomas and Emily step out of the car. Except... There's something terribly wrong. Flora looks the same, only older. As would be expected. However, it’s the children. Twelve years ago, Thomas and Emily were five and three years old. Today, they look precisely as they did then. They are no taller, no older... Why haven't they grown?” I found the whole premise, once it got going, very far fetched and utterly unrealistic but it didn’t stop me becoming fully invested into finding out exactly why the children hadn’t seemed to age. Told in the first person by Beth Leeson, she can’t believe what she’s seen and is determined to discover the truth at all costs. She has an exceedingly supportive husband, a lot more supportive than I imagine most husbands would be and two very typical teenage kids who made up the very strong family. Zannah the oldest child (though much older than her years mentally) really got into being the detective and relished trying to solve the unexplainable mystery. Although she could be quite annoying, she was a very well developed character and I pictured her quite clearly rolling her eyes at times and sighing in frustration. I did feel the scene with the teacher and the racism an unnecessary filler but on the whole I thoroughly enjoyed the whole story no matter how impractical most of it was and I found myself happily engrossed. It was very cleverly plotted, if a little complicated but written well, with excellently created characters and a denouement that kept me fascinated. Now that I’ve read my first Sophie Hannah book it certainly won’t be my last and I’d happily recommend “Haven’t They Grown”, it’s well worth a read, just keep in mind it’s entertaining fiction not a passable real life scenario. 4 stars

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    6 person found this review helpful

    6 people found this review helpful

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  • An engaging mystery

    When Beth drops by on her old friend Flora after 12 years she is surprised to see her still living in her old home. But when Flora’s children come into view they do not seem to have aged at all – what is going on? The only book I’ve read by Sophie Hannah is The Understudy which I was very much not a fan of. That book had been written by 3 other authors as well though, so I was willing to give her a chance as a solo writer as the plot summary really intrigued me. I’m glad I did as I actually really enjoyed Haven’t They Grown. The concept is a great one and the blurb really drew me in. The plot kept me guessing throughout and wasn’t an easy one to just work out as you are going along – there are a lot of twists and turns and not all characters are as they seem. It’s a nice easy writing style which kept me engaged throughout and I kept wanting to pick the book up to find out the answer to the mystery. I think one of my criticisms would be that it does stretch believability a little in the plot. Beth seems far too invested in what has happened to her friend Flora and is seemingly willing to even end her marriage because of it which just seemed odd. The beginning of the book hinted that perhaps she had done something in the past that she regretted that would cause this but when it’s actually revealed I don’t think it was big enough to warrant the fallout. As the book only really has one mystery, (although it’s a good one!) it does occasionally feel a little too stretched out. We get so many versions of the truth that it starts to get a bit muddied by the end with so many convenient explanations and people only telling half of the story that it feels frustrating and confusing. The end reveal didn’t really have the impact I had hoped that it would have although I did enjoy the conclusion. Overall I enjoyed Haven’t They Grown – it’s an engaging read that will keep you guessing from start to finish. Thank you to NetGalley & Hodder & Stoughton for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Price of perfection

    This is such an unusual premise that you can’t even begin to guess how the story will unfold and it’s written in such a page turning style that you can’t wait to find out what Beth will discover next about Flora and her children. The amount of imagination employed to write this is phenomenal and yet it’s so believable and frightening. Sophie Hannah has easily succeeded in making an impossible story both plausible and possible.

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  • Havent They Grown

    Great start but unfortuately the middle of the book became extremely repetitive and by the final third of the book I found myself skipping bits due to the lenghy explanations used to explain the plot. Normally love Sophie Hannahs books but I found this very disappointing especially the ending.

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