Print Length: 335 pages
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer (November 1, 2022)

From Goodreads.com: Minnesota, 1977. For the teens of one close-knit community, summer means late-night swimming parties at the quarry, the county fair, and venturing into the tunnels beneath the city. But for two best friends, it’s not all fun and games.

Heather and Brenda have a secret. Something they saw in the dark. Something they can’t forget. They’ve decided to never tell a soul. But their vow is tested when their friend disappears—the second girl to vanish in a week. And yet the authorities are reluctant to investigate.

Heather is terrified that the missing girls are connected to what she and Brenda stumbled upon that night. Desperately searching for answers on her own, she learns that no one in her community is who they seem to be. Not the police, not the boys she met at the quarry, not even her parents. But she can’t stop digging because she knows those girls are in danger.

She also knows she’s next.

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My Rating: 1 star out of 5

To begin with, despite there being some dark themes in this novel, I would still classify this one as a thriller geared more toward young adults. I just could not understand the logic of our main character Heather. She continues to wander around alone even after girls her age have gone missing (or, in some cases, turned up dead); she removes critical evidence from a home, making it inadmissible as evidence and only thinking she should have called in an anonymous tip after the fact. 

None of the characters are particularly likable, but it quickly seemed apparent that the author dislikes men in general as nearly every male character in this book (even ones who don't play an active role but are merely mentioned) are made out to be either monsters or just "wrong" in some way. An example that immediately springs to mind is when a random man out and about in town tells the girls they should "smile more," and it immediately angers our main character. Honey, given the town you live in, you have more important things to worry about than a random stranger telling you to smile. Even the adults who should have been able to be trusted turned out to be part of the "deep dark secret" in some way (trigger warning, they are exploiting minors). Heck, after Heather uncovers the fact that her father (who until this point has been a reasonable character) had had an affair, he too suddenly becomes a completely different person, basically saying that it was only a matter of time before her recently-found-dead-friend had something like this happen to her since you know her and her mother "both got out of line" once the man in their lives left them. He also takes a threatening tone with Heather declaring himself the man of the house when she doesn't immediately respond in the positive to his declaration that he loves his wife, aka Heather's mom.

Speaking of her, the two mothers heavily featured in this novel aren't much better. Maureen's mother is a hoarder (the author goes into great detail about how there are boxes of stuff piled up in such a way that you have a singular path in and out, and even though there is the smell of dead animal in the house, the sheriff comes in and no issues ever come up about the well-being of the teenage girl who lived there). And Heather's mom? Barely leaves her room anymore (and apparently set Heather on fire at one point, but that's not talked about), and when she does, everyone is "on edge" and waiting for her "to snap." Honestly, I'm still unsure what was supposed to be wrong with her as so many conflicting things were being told. One instance of the confusion is when her mother asks her how things went the night before (at a county fair where Heather's band performed live for the first time), but when Heather tells her mother that she thinks people like it, her mother snaps at her not to brag because it's "unattractive". 

All things considered, while the story was interesting enough for a while to keep me reading, at the end of the day, I don't think this is an author I would read more from. However, if the blurb seems like something you would enjoy (especially if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited), then by all means, give this one a try. You may enjoy it more than I did! 

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 The Quarry Girls is Available from Amazon.com
(for free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited)