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Source Notes. Recommended for libraries and classrooms that serve middle school students. I've written picture books, short stories, essays, novels, biographies, and environmental books. I write about things I want to know more about — and things I already know and love. Writing is a solitary business. Most days I work at home. Some days I go to schools to talk to the children I write for. It tickles my fancy to be a celebrity for a day! I love to travel around the world looking for stories. I've lived high in the Himalayas and on a tiny island in the Pacific Ocean.

I've also found stories in Holland, England, Bolivia, and right in my own backyard. Let me hear from you. Email is best: gretchenwoelfle gmail. I've got a miniature farm at my home in Los Angeles, California, with seven fruit trees, three kinds of berries, lots of vegetables, and a tree drooping with dozens of avocados. I once lived in a little grass hut on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

I'm writing a novel about it now. My front garden dazzles with golden California poppies every spring. Want to Read saving….


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Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Gretchen by Shannon Kirk. The new tenants have a terrible secret. All she understands are the rules: never lock eyes with strangers, never let down your guard, and always be ready to move on. Finally, after thirteen The new tenants have a terrible secret.

Finally, after thirteen years and eleven states, their next hideaway seems perfect. An isolated, fortresslike place in the New Hampshire woods is the new home they share with its owner, a gentlemanly pianist, and his lonely daughter, Gretchen. But Gretchen and her father have secrets of their own—and an obsession with puzzles that draws Lucy into a terrifying new game of hide-and-seek. And this time, for her and her mother in the house on the hill, it might be too late to run.

Get A Copy. Kindle Edition. More Details Other Editions 4. Win a Copy of This Book. Enter Giveaway. Format: Giveaway ends in: a Availability: copies available, people requesting Giveaway dates: Jun 22 - Jul 22, Countries available: U. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Gretchen , please sign up.

Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jun 26, Felicia rated it really liked it. Ohhh Gretchen. A lot of us knew a Gretchen back in school. In my case her name was Francine Sharp please don't let her be reading this and come butcher me in my sleep. Gretchens are friendless, awkward outcasts with a tendency to glob onto anybody that shows them the least little bit of attention.

As fun as Gretchen is she's not the MC. That would be Lucy and it's been awhile since I've loved one as much as I did her. She's smart and snarky and uber relatable. This story is rife with mystery and tension and wacko characters and everything else I love about a psychological thriller And it ruined what was, up until that point, an exceptional book. For that reason I had to knock off a star from my rating. Gretchen is a complete departure from Kirk's In the Vines, which reached a new level of madness, but equally captivating.

Kirk's writing is magnetic and the true star of her books. Despite it's failings near the end, this book is creepy fun and I can't wait for the next offering from this author. View all 65 comments. Heidi Great review - I felt the same about the ending! Jul 08, PM. Jun 15, j e w e l s rated it really liked it Shelves: books-bejeweled. Maybe even the truest Jenny. Sometimes a Gretchen can BE a Jenny. And vice versa. Got that? Shannon Kirk is an outstanding writer. She cleverly weaves together a mirrored double plot line that has the reader climbing a ladder of suspense.

You had best hold onto tight to each rung because when you reach the top, watch out!!! I had a difficult time rating Gretchen: A Thriller. We have an astute and insightful main character, yr old Lucy, who is on the run with her mom. Her father tried to abduct her when she was a baby and now that mom is in charge, she is not about to let that happen again. So, they run. And move towns a lot.

Eventually, Lucy meets Gretchen. Gretchen is a weird kid with personality to spare. I admit to some eye-rolling and skimming some long passages about bones. Yes, bones. By the end of the book, you will never look at lemons, jig saw puzzles or skeletons the same ever again! Despite some convincing writing, it was a tough sell on this psychological suspense fan. And I knocked off a whole star for the absurdness of it all.

I got over it.

September 2018 Reading

Pure horror and a bit supernatural. It helps me put it into perspective and look at it like a Stephen King paperback. Thanks to the author for allowing me to read and review an advanced galley. All opinions are mine! Gretchen is set for a July publication date. View all 12 comments. Jul 06, AM. Sounds like a good one! Jul 06, PM. Shannon Kirk is the queen of W. I fell in love with Kirk's writing last summer with her release of In The Vines. In fact, In The Vines was one of my top 10 novels for ! So when I heard the fabulous Shannon Kirk was coming out with a new novel for this summer, I knew I needed to drop everything and read it.

Kirk's upcoming horror novel Gretchen continues to follow in In The Vines 's footsteps as she ventures further into the gothic suspense genre. Although the story is titled Gretchen , it really focuses on fifteen year old Lucy and her mother. Lucy and her mother are basically nomads hiding from their past.

Lucy's mom refuses to let her get too close to people—she has to wear color contacts, she has to lie about her family life, and she can't use the internet without supervision. Lucy's mom is terrified of her daughter's father finding them due to his immense power and corruption. In fact, they have lived in eleven states since as long as Lucy can remember.

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Lucy and her mom finally settle in rural New Hampshire, hoping that the isolation of this small town will be the destination that they can finally call their mainstay home. They find a perfect cottage owned by a single father and his daughter Gretchen. They live on the ranch as well with another property nearby, and have a full listing ready for Lucy and her mother to move into. As Lucy and her mother settle into their new digs, they start getting to know their new landlord and his daughter.

Gretchen is around the same age as Lucy, and is desperate for friends. Not having anyone besides her mother in her life, Lucy accepts Gretchen's intensity as genuine interest and forges a friendship with her. As the two get to know each other, Lucy begins to question her new friend's behavior.

Gretchen is a very domineering friend, and she has a peculiar obsession with puzzles. The longer Gretchen and Lucy maintain a friendship, the more information she finds out about her own life. As Lucy begins to uncover the past about her dark family secrets, Gretchen begins to be force to be reckoned with.


  • Gretchen: A Thriller by Shannon Kirk.
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  • Gretchen is literally the most insane book I've ever read. Shannon Kirk dives deep into the darkness with this story, and I can't get the book out of my head! The pacing is very similar to In The Vines , so if you enjoyed how that story was told, you'll definitely be ready for Gretchen. The book goes deeper in its characterizations than Kirk's last novel, and it sets the right formula for the reader to fully be immersed into these characters' lives.

    As you read the story, you will believe that you know how this story will play out, but listen, you really, really don't! Gretchen has multiple story arcs that develop throughout the novel, and it allowed for each character to really play a role in the plot, which made for a really enjoyable horror novel. I wonder how fans will enjoy this story, and how they would categorize this book. I would say this is more of a horror novel than a thriller, but it really is in a league of it's own.

    Gretchen will be out July 23, and I want to thank Shannon Kirk for providing me an advanced copy in exchange for a review. I can't wait to see what you all think of it, and I can't wait for you to meet Gretchen! View all 6 comments. Megan I just finished reading it and it was crazy, in the best way!!! Great review! Jun 30, AM. Jun 27, Kimberly Belle rated it it was amazing. Let me just say, I'm so glad I read this during the daytime, when the sun was shining and I was in a plane full of people bc OMG.

    This book is creepy in the best possible way, and waaaaaay scarier than what I'm used to reading. The poor lady sitting beside me had her arm grabbed more than once because we've all known a Gretchen, a strange loner who turns out to be a batshit loon, only mine was named Pamela. Pamela, if you're reading this, I'm talking about a different Pamela. View 1 comment. Apr 30, Tucker marked it as not-released-tbr.

    Well, I do know who is narrating this novel.. I'm super pumped! Review soon! There are some scenes invol Review soon! It might be years before I have another glass of lemonade. Or pick up a jigsaw puzzle. This book is out in July - check it out. Christina Goebel This is a well-written review, Tracy. Jun 15, PM.

    Apr 09, David rated it it was amazing. Shannon Kirk does it again. Gretchen is psychotic perfection loaded with extra helpings of bizarreness and a couple of pounds of fried bacon thrown in. I loved it! Apr 09, Emily Carpenter rated it it was amazing. Gretchen terrified me, made me laugh, made my jaw hit the floor.

    Catalog Record: Gretchen : a novel | HathiTrust Digital Library

    How can a book do all three? This book is a nightmare, a delight, and a mischief-making, nasty-nice fairy tale pixie, all wrapped into one insidious package. The best kind. Apr 06, Hannah Mary McKinnon rated it it was amazing.

    Gretchen: A Thriller

    Jun 30, Megan rated it it was amazing. Lucy is a fifteen year old girl who has been on the run with her mom for thirteen years. While she does not know why they are constantly running, she knows that she must never engage with strangers, always wear her colored contacts, and be prepared in an instant to move to the next place. After leaving abruptly when Lucy mistakenly locks eyes with a stranger, Lucy and her mom go to their eleventh state, New Hampshire. There, they find a seemingly perfect rental property on the grounds of an isolated fortress, complete with hanging traps and electric fences.

    Their landlords are Jerry, a pianist, and his teenage daughter, Gretchen. It is evident that Gretchen is unusual and doesn't have any friends but she soon becomes Lucy's first real friend. But as their friendship develops, Lucy realizes that Gretchen's intensity has become controlling and unsettling. Gretchen's obsession with puzzles, particularly puzzles with dark themes, concerns Lucy. While Lucy has always honored her mother's wish not to look into her past, Gretchen begins to share who Lucy is. And as Lucy's backstory and secrets begin to unravel, Gretchen's own secrets come to light in a horrifying dangerous way.

    Gretchen is an absolutely crazy thrill-ride that had me hooked from the very first page. This story is so dark and intense that I felt like I was holding my breath the whole time I was reading it! It is full of WTF moments and I stopped trying to predict what was going to happen pretty early on because it was full of surprises and shocking moments that I don't think any reader could predict. I thought her character development was superb. Each character was carefully crafted and was distinctive, even the minor characters. I thought Lucy was a particularly strong protagonist and her voice was appropriate for a 15 year old girl.

    There are multiple plot lines in the book but they all weave together well by the end. I loved this book and how it completely captivated me. Kirk is an absolutely amazing storyteller and I definitely have to read In the Vines now! Just, whoa. I feel like I just read at least 3 different books for the price of one. Well, I mean it was free from NetGalley, but still, what a deal!

    So many shady characters, so many good characters that I waited for some of them to go bad! Do NOT miss this book. Thank you to netgalley for making sure I didn't! Gretchen, Gretchen, Gretchen What do you do when you've been on the run your entire life?

    What do you do when yo Whoa. What do you do when you don't know who to trust? Under strict orders from mom, she's not supposed to "engage" with anyone when they arrive in their 11th state and she better not take out those colored contacts to reveal her startling violet eyes again. Lucy is stuck between a haunted house and a hard place. But by morning, she is allowed to be friendly with Gretchen, the creepy little neighbor girl.

    She is allowed to get a job at the local gourmet grocery. But this comes at a cost, her mother is no longer speaking to her. It's a long terrifying summer for Lucy as her life turns upside down. Yes, there are minor flaws. I felt the chapters focusing on Mother took us out too far out of the main storyline. There was certainly a lot of coincidence involved. But holy crow this was the best walk through a haunted house I've had in years!

    Sometimes it takes excellent writing like Shannon's to make me realize it's not the destination, but the eerie journey that I enjoy the most. But, is it weird that I think I'd really like one of those cute apple print sundresses? May 28, Octavia ReadsWithDogs rated it it was amazing Shelves: summer-reads , sisters , women-author , strong-female-protagonist , fun , suspense , thrills-and-chills. Review coming soon on the Night Worms blog. Jul 02, Ludwig rated it it was amazing.

    Readers: Shannon, how much are you planning to disturb, unsettle and creep us out with your next thriller? Shannon: Yes. A mother and daughter on the run for thirteen years. What are they running from? Will they finally settle at the Sabins Property, even though the owners are the oddest people they've ever met? Leave it to Shannon Kirk to w Readers: Shannon, how much are you planning to disturb, unsettle and creep us out with your next thriller?

    Leave it to Shannon Kirk to write about complex mother-daughter relationships , creepy settings and deranged characters. Happy to say I enjoyed Gretchen to the fullest! Especially since I'm a huge fan of POVs of complicated teenagers with secrets and dark childhoods. The plot is clear, confident and compelling I loved the detailed description of The Sabins Property, which is the main lieu of events; The Sabin's fortress looks unsettling from the outside in a very appealing way - if that makes sense - while its inner space feels full-on disturbing, fascinating and claustrophobic.

    The author knows how to narrate a story in a way that characters and places brim with life, and I was happy to discover that Gretchen has the same signature writing style as In The Vines. Very powerful and unique. Plus, Kudos to the author for the incredible insight depth thrusted into the storyline. I am now fully intrigued by the world of jigsaw puzzles and ornithology. In a sane way. Jun 18, Victoria rated it liked it Shelves: mystery-thriller , net-galley , imaginary-friend. The format switches between two perspectives - 15 year old Lucy who is tired of her life on the lam and her mother's voice.

    This works more to drive the plot forward and keep the reader guessing than to really develop the characters, unfortunately. The plot's initial twists may not surprise everyone, but the later insanity is definitely hard to see coming! There isn't really enough foun Last year, I read and listened to Kirk's book, In The Vines, so I was curious about this one, her latest book! There isn't really enough foundation for some of them trying not to give anything away inadvertently here, so my apologies for sounding vague!

    The ending has some Scooby Doo style explanations that lacks depth. The house in Millberg, New Hampshire has some interesting background that doesn't really fit with the rest of the story. It's almost as if two separate novels were combined into this one and it doesn't really fit well at the seams, as the last third of the book really is rather jarring.

    The book is just unbalanced and the "friendships" here defy logic probably because the character's aren't deeply developed and never feel authentic. It's just a rather unbelievable book that relies on the plot to move forward based on coincidence. Plus, the villains of the story leave a lot of unanswered questions, too. And yet, it is an engaging read and I never once considered setting it aside..

    I just wish that there had been more depth to the characters and the book required less suspension of disbelief. If you don't think too much about this one, it is pretty entertaining

    Ten by Gretchen McNeil