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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 lives near the football ground, that doesn't mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn't seen Flora for twelve years. She doesn't w 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 lives near the football ground, that doesn't mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? 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 open gates of Newnham House, 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 Beth would have expected. 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 still five and three. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt - Hilary hears Flora call them by their names - but they haven't changed at all. They are no taller, no older... Why haven't they grown?


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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 lives near the football ground, that doesn't mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? She hasn't seen Flora for twelve years. She doesn't w 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 lives near the football ground, that doesn't mean she has to drive past her house and try to catch a glimpse of her. Why would Beth do that, and risk dredging up painful memories? 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 open gates of Newnham House, 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 Beth would have expected. 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 still five and three. They are Thomas and Emily without a doubt - Hilary hears Flora call them by their names - but they haven't changed at all. They are no taller, no older... Why haven't they grown?

30 review for Perfect Little Children

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    This is So Wild!😨😱 THIS IS SOOOO CRAZY! IF YOU LOVE YOUR BRAIN AND NOT TO GET EXPLODED SO EASILY BE CAUTIOUS AS YOU READ THIS BOOK! This is nassstyyy and I enjoy it wholeheartedly! I found my fictional soul mate: obsessive character reader, has no limits and never cares when somebody warns her to stop, a quiet young version Of Miss Marple and a little mature version of Nancy Drew, keeps digging and digging till she finds the truth! Yes! I’m talking about DEAR BETH (our absolutely nuts, extremely This is So Wild!😨😱 THIS IS SOOOO CRAZY! IF YOU LOVE YOUR BRAIN AND NOT TO GET EXPLODED SO EASILY BE CAUTIOUS AS YOU READ THIS BOOK! This is nassstyyy and I enjoy it wholeheartedly! I found my fictional soul mate: obsessive character reader, has no limits and never cares when somebody warns her to stop, a quiet young version Of Miss Marple and a little mature version of Nancy Drew, keeps digging and digging till she finds the truth! Yes! I’m talking about DEAR BETH (our absolutely nuts, extremely risk taker heroine) who passes through her ex-friend Flora’s house (they had stopped talking for 12 years) and she finds her friend leaves the house with her children but WAIT A MINUTE! Something is wrong, guys! Her ex-friend she hasn’t been touched with for 12 freaking years should have invented a kind of time machine because her children are exact the same age she had known them. They didn’t get any day older. What is going on, is this a genetic mutation kind of sick, ugly scenario? Or Beth popped up LCD and methamphetamine (I became spelling contest winner with this word!) cocktail before she drove her car and spied her ex-friend in her car while head she was head banging with blasting death metal song? Has Flora’s children been captured by aliens, became friends with Mulder’s sister and replaced by cute, little aliens wearing human costumes? Does Beth suffer from psychological disorder like seeing things they were never there and confusing gnome statues with real children? Or did Beth forget her contact lenses at the house? Is Flora playing mind games with her friend to avenge what she had done to her years ago? Or is everything a part of candid camera show? Do you want to know the truth? Can you handle it? If your answer is already okay, READ THIS BOOK ASAP! It’s smart, it’s mind bending, it’s unputdownable! Even though I was at the dive bar and my friends were singing Karaoke and my traitor husband ate all my wings and nachos (if you stop by Ye Rustic Inn/ Los Feliz-LA, you may probably find me there singing “Feliz Navida”) you, I kept reading it , ignoring drunk crowd because it was soooooooo good! One of the most intriguing, surprising and riveting thrillers of 2020! Oh let’s give an applause to Zannah as best supporting character, Beth’s genius, cool, curious daughter. My only question is where was Beth’s son? He has been mentioned to many times and we saw him at the beginning and till the end the book, he had no line. (At the end he didn’t talk, too and I though he was invisible character or there is something mysterious about him but thankfully he was real! What a relief!) Giving my mysterious, nail biter, hand eater, dream killer, nerve bending four stars! Special thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for sharing this heart throbbing book’s ARC COPY with me in exchange my honest review. I loved it so much!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Yun

    Perfect Little Children starts out with Beth driving by the home of her best friend, Flora, who she lost touch with 12 years ago. She knows she shouldn't be there, but she's so curious about her friend. She sees Flora call out to her children Thomas and Emily to get out of the car, but the children who appear look exactly the same as the children Beth remembers, aged five and three, from 12 years ago. They should be teenagers now, but the children Beth sees haven't aged a bit, as if they've been Perfect Little Children starts out with Beth driving by the home of her best friend, Flora, who she lost touch with 12 years ago. She knows she shouldn't be there, but she's so curious about her friend. She sees Flora call out to her children Thomas and Emily to get out of the car, but the children who appear look exactly the same as the children Beth remembers, aged five and three, from 12 years ago. They should be teenagers now, but the children Beth sees haven't aged a bit, as if they've been frozen in time. Isn't that just the craziest premise for a book you've ever heard? It sounded so intriguing to me, I knew I had to read it. And it turned out to be exactly what I was hoping for, twisty and turny, with so many secrets and mysteries that it's not clear where one ends and another begins. I honestly couldn't put it down. One thing I particularly enjoyed about this story is that all the things I'm mulling over and trying to puzzle out, it's all spelled out in the book too as dialog between Beth and her husband and her daughter. In particular, her daughter Zannah is a hoot, coming up with clever observations and just offering general insight and support for Beth throughout the whole ordeal. For maximum reading pleasure, there are a few things a prospective reader should keep in mind. The most important is that Beth, our narrator/self-styled detective, has absolutely no understanding of personal boundaries or limits, and you the reader must accept this. If you don't and you question it, her actions will drive you crazy. She pretty much acts like a relentless and obsessive loony through the whole book, sticking her nose where it doesn't belong and essentially hounding the people in Flora's circle until she got answers. If you think about it, who would do this for a friend they haven't seen for twelve years? Well, no one, is the answer. The other is that when a premise is so amazing like this one, it's best to keep one's expectations tempered when it comes to the actual explanation. After all, it still has to fit within the boundaries of reality and science (unless it's paranormal). I found the ending satisfactory and interesting, but it wasn't jaw-dropping amazing. No, I thoroughly enjoyed this book for the journey, and the ending was sufficient to wrap everything up. For me, this reads more like a mystery than a thriller, and that's probably why I enjoyed it so much (since I usually find thrillers to be more hokey than thrilling). The process of trying to figure everything out was so fun and entertaining, it was almost a letdown when I reached the end and it was all explained. I wanted to keep reading more of Beth's zany antics and Zannah's sage perspectives. This story is so unique, weird, disturbing, and strange, and I'm glad I picked it up.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ceecee

    4-5 stars Well, if you like twisty and twistier then this is your book! Beth and Dom have grown apart from Flora and Lewis Brain and haven’t seen them for 12 years. On a whim, Beth decided to go to Newnham House, the last address she has for them. She parks up, sees Flora drive up to the secure gates of the large house, she gets out of the car with two children who she calls Thomas and Emily. What? The Thomas and Emily Beth knew should now be 17 and 15, so what on earth is going on? To describe 4-5 stars Well, if you like twisty and twistier then this is your book! Beth and Dom have grown apart from Flora and Lewis Brain and haven’t seen them for 12 years. On a whim, Beth decided to go to Newnham House, the last address she has for them. She parks up, sees Flora drive up to the secure gates of the large house, she gets out of the car with two children who she calls Thomas and Emily. What? The Thomas and Emily Beth knew should now be 17 and 15, so what on earth is going on? To describe Beth as dogged in her pursuit of the truth is somewhat of an understatement as it is more like obsessive but find the truth she does! This is a very puzzling mystery which Dom wishes she’d drop but she finds she is unable to do so. One of the things I like most about this book is the characters. Although Beth drives you a bit mad with her relentless pursuit, she is very likeable. Her relationship with Dom is great but the standout character for me is their 16 year old daughter Zan (Suzannah) who I just love. She is so funny, perceptive, incredibly smart and also supportive of Beth’s investigation. Yes, of course she should have been studying for her GCSE exams but hey, she’s a smart cookie! Lewis is the character you love to hate, in fact I found my fists clenched at some of his antics. The story is peppered with humour which I like very much but this ceases obviously, once the very dramatic conclusion unfolds. Yes, it’s probably implausible, yes it’s somewhat convoluted, yes some of the characters wouldn’t know truth if it socked them between the eyes but I actually don’t mind very much because it is such an enjoyable read. Overall, I admit that at times I feel like I’d been down the rabbit hole with Alice but at the same time it’s terrifically entertaining, twisty, a bit creepy, weird and strange psychological drama which I couldn’t put down. Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder and Stoughton for the ARC Expected UK publication 23/1/20

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    This is So Wild!😨😱 THIS IS SOOOO CRAZY! IF YOU LOVE YOUR BRAIN AND NOT TO GET EXPLODED SO EASILY BE CAUTIOUS AS YOU READ THIS BOOK! This is nassstyyy and I enjoy it wholeheartedly! I found my fictional soul mate: obsessive character reader, has no limits and never cares when somebody warns her to stop, a quiet young version Of Miss Marple and a little mature version of Nancy Drew, keeps digging and digging till she finds the truth! Yes! I’m talking about DEAR BETH (our absolutely nuts, extremely This is So Wild!😨😱 THIS IS SOOOO CRAZY! IF YOU LOVE YOUR BRAIN AND NOT TO GET EXPLODED SO EASILY BE CAUTIOUS AS YOU READ THIS BOOK! This is nassstyyy and I enjoy it wholeheartedly! I found my fictional soul mate: obsessive character reader, has no limits and never cares when somebody warns her to stop, a quiet young version Of Miss Marple and a little mature version of Nancy Drew, keeps digging and digging till she finds the truth! Yes! I’m talking about DEAR BETH (our absolutely nuts, extremely risk taker heroine) who passes through her ex-friend Flora’s house (they had stopped talking for 12 years) and she finds her friend leaves the house with her children but WAIT A MINUTE! Something is wrong, guys! Her ex-friend she hasn’t been touched with for 12 freaking years should have invented a kind of time machine because her children are exact the same age she had known them. They didn’t get any day older. What is going on, is this a genetic mutation kind of sick, ugly scenario? Or Beth popped up LCD and methamphetamine (I became spelling contest winner with this word!) cocktail before she drove her car and spied her ex-friend in her car while head she was head banging with blasting death metal song? Has Flora’s children been captured by aliens, became friends with Mulder’s sister and replaced by cute, little aliens wearing human costumes? Does Beth suffer from psychological disorder like seeing things they were never there and confusing gnome statues with real children? Or did Beth forget her contact lenses at the house? Is Flora playing mind games with her friend to avenge what she had done to her years ago? Or is everything a part of candid camera show? Do you want to know the truth? Can you handle it? If your answer is already okay, READ THIS BOOK ASAP! It’s smart, it’s mind bending, it’s unputdownable! Even though I was at the dive bar and my friends were singing Karaoke and my traitor husband ate all my wings and nachos (if you stop by Ye Rustic Inn/ Los Feliz-LA, you may probably find me there singing “Feliz Navida”) you, I kept reading it , ignoring drunk crowd because it was soooooooo good! One of the most intriguing, surprising and riveting thrillers of 2020! Oh let’s give an applause to Zannah as best supporting character, Beth’s genius, cool, curious daughter. My only question is where was Beth’s son? He has been mentioned to many times and we saw him at the beginning and till the end the book, he had no line. (At the end he didn’t talk, too and I though he was invisible character or there is something mysterious about him but thankfully he was real! What a relief!) Giving my mysterious, nail biter, hand eater, dream killer, nerve bending four stars! Special thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for sharing this heart throbbing book’s ARC COPY with me in exchange my honest review. I loved it so much!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Beverley

    Gah, I was so disappointed by this book. I first heard about it at Theakstons Crime Writing Festival in 2018 and thought the premise sounded amazing. It is such a great hook and that was the only reason I kept reading, because I just had to know what happened next. The problem was the book was repetitive, overly complicated and dull and the actual 'reveal' was deeply unsatisfying and completely absurd. There was also a random side plot brought in three quarters of the way through which served no Gah, I was so disappointed by this book. I first heard about it at Theakstons Crime Writing Festival in 2018 and thought the premise sounded amazing. It is such a great hook and that was the only reason I kept reading, because I just had to know what happened next. The problem was the book was repetitive, overly complicated and dull and the actual 'reveal' was deeply unsatisfying and completely absurd. There was also a random side plot brought in three quarters of the way through which served no purpose whatsoever. I really wanted to like it and really wanted to be able to rave about it but overall it just wasn't for me.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mandy White

    Haven’t They Grown is one crazy story! And I really enjoyed it. I read this in a day whilst on holidays, struggling to put it down. I just needed to know what was going to happen next and how it was all going to play out. Every time you think you know what is the outcome will be it throws you another curve ball. Keeps life interesting! Yes the story is out there and at times a little unrealistic but that is why we read sometimes, for an escape from reality. I have enjoyed quite a few Sophie Hann Haven’t They Grown is one crazy story! And I really enjoyed it. I read this in a day whilst on holidays, struggling to put it down. I just needed to know what was going to happen next and how it was all going to play out. Every time you think you know what is the outcome will be it throws you another curve ball. Keeps life interesting! Yes the story is out there and at times a little unrealistic but that is why we read sometimes, for an escape from reality. I have enjoyed quite a few Sophie Hannah books and I love the way she writes her characters. Besides wanting to slap Beth at times, she was likeable. The other characters of her children and husband were also big parts of the story. Beth and Flora used to be best friends. But it has been 12 years since They lost contact and moved away. So when Beth’s son has a football match near where Flora and Lewis moved to she can’t help but go and check it out. But when she sees her ex-best friend in the driveway calling to her children she is confused. 12 years ago Thomas and Emily were 5 and 3. Today they seems to still be the same ages. How can this be? Beth becomes obsessed with finding out what is going on, going to some outrageous lengths to seek the truth. Her daughter gets in on the act but her husband Dom warns her to stop. But she can’t, Is Flora in trouble, or is something more sinister going on? Thanks to Hachette Books Australia for my advanced copy of this book to read. All opinions are my own and are in no way biased

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jayme

    3.5 rounded up for originality! Perhaps you have wondered about a friend you have lost touch with? Facebook doesn’t have the answers you are seeking.. Would you drive by their house for a glimpse of what has become of them, if given the chance? When Beth has that opportunity, she takes it, but she cannot believe what she sees...Her former best friend, Flora, looks the same, but twelve years older.. But five year old Thomas, and three year old Emily, look EXACTLY as they did, the last time she saw 3.5 rounded up for originality! Perhaps you have wondered about a friend you have lost touch with? Facebook doesn’t have the answers you are seeking.. Would you drive by their house for a glimpse of what has become of them, if given the chance? When Beth has that opportunity, she takes it, but she cannot believe what she sees...Her former best friend, Flora, looks the same, but twelve years older.. But five year old Thomas, and three year old Emily, look EXACTLY as they did, the last time she saw them...no taller, no older... WHY HAVEN’T THEY GROWN? Beth is determined to find out...really determined! And, she enlists the help of her husband Dom and their teenage children, Zannah and Ben. It was so refreshing to read about a couple with a healthy, loving marriage for a change, and two teenagers, who were normal teens! Zannah is a revelation! She is sometimes more savvy than her Mom, as she becomes very invested in the outcome of this mystery, and eager to help Beth prove or disprove her theories! (And some of mine) Suspenseful with a dose of humor, the book kept me guessing! The explanation at the end....well, I prefer my endings to be more plausible so I didn’t love the ending... But, if you like endings which are sick and twisted-this one is for you! Published under the name “Perfect Little Children” abroad and “Haven’t They Grown” in the US. And, available NOW!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dennis

    Sady, I’m going to have to DNF this book. I’m finding it rather unbelievable that someone would go this far to finding out a possible mishap with a former friend from a decade prior.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Faith

    Based upon a brief glimpse, Beth becomes convinced that her former friend Flora has somehow managed to have 2 children who have not aged during the past 12 years. They are even wearing the same clothes. This is the second psychological suspense novel that I’ve read recently that managed to be very entertaining, while not being at all plausible. Really, no one’s behavior in this book makes any sense at all. When I read the blurb I was actually hoping for a sci-fi element, so I was a little disapp Based upon a brief glimpse, Beth becomes convinced that her former friend Flora has somehow managed to have 2 children who have not aged during the past 12 years. They are even wearing the same clothes. This is the second psychological suspense novel that I’ve read recently that managed to be very entertaining, while not being at all plausible. Really, no one’s behavior in this book makes any sense at all. When I read the blurb I was actually hoping for a sci-fi element, so I was a little disappointed to find that was not the case. However, the writing was fast paced and the plot kept me guessing; it certainly wasn’t one that I had read before. To say anything else about the book would spoil it. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    This book was wild! Cannot wait to discuss this next Saturday! This book in emojis 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 🚙 ✂️ 📱 👶🏼 🤳🏼

  11. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Smith

    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 catc 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

  12. 5 out of 5

    Whispering Stories

    Book Reviewed on www.whisperingstories.com Husband and wife Beth and Dom used to be best friends with couple Flora and Lewis. Their children were roughly the same age, apart from Flora’s youngest Georgina who was only a few months old when they all lost touch. Lewis came into some money and the family moved away to St Ives in Cornwall. Twelve years had passed by and although Beth had tried to keep in contact nothing had come of it. She had also tried to see their new home on Google Maps but they l Book Reviewed on www.whisperingstories.com Husband and wife Beth and Dom used to be best friends with couple Flora and Lewis. Their children were roughly the same age, apart from Flora’s youngest Georgina who was only a few months old when they all lost touch. Lewis came into some money and the family moved away to St Ives in Cornwall. Twelve years had passed by and although Beth had tried to keep in contact nothing had come of it. She had also tried to see their new home on Google Maps but they lived on a private road. An opportunity came for Beth when her son had a football tournament near to Flora and Lewis’s house, so after dropping her son off Beth goes for a quick nosy around and it isn’t long before she sees Flora arrive in her flash Range Rover. However, nothing could have prepared her for the sight she was about to see next. Thomas and Emily, Flora’s children climb out of the car but they don’t look any different. They are still the same age as they were twelve years ago. Beth is astounded and confides in her husband and ear-wigging daughter Zannah, but can they put all the pieces together and come up with a plausible reason why the children hadn’t aged? Haven’t They Grown is a suspenseful novel that really plays with your mind. Some of the explanations that I had tried to come up with were the same as what the family did, could Flora and Lewis’s children have died and they had more and called them by the same name. Could there be a supernatural element to the book or even a scientific one given that both Flora and Lewis are Scientists in their own field? The plot takes you in many directions and throws in a few curveballs too. The suspense waiting to find out why these children were so young had me on the edge of my seat, though I wasn’t prepared for the real reason or even for the reason that the families hadn’t spoken to one another for twelve years. If you like books that make you think outside of the box and are mysterious then this is the book for you. It is beyond realistic but it is a damn good read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Javier

    As soon as I read the blurb for "Perfect Little Children" I got intrigued. The premise was so unusual that I couldn't begin to guess how it would unfold. With such an original starting point, this book could have gone terribly wrong, but nothing further from the truth. The author weaves such an intricately plot that you NEED to keep on reading to try to make some sense of what is happening, making Beth's character and her dogged pursuit of the truth completely relatable. One of the things I like As soon as I read the blurb for "Perfect Little Children" I got intrigued. The premise was so unusual that I couldn't begin to guess how it would unfold. With such an original starting point, this book could have gone terribly wrong, but nothing further from the truth. The author weaves such an intricately plot that you NEED to keep on reading to try to make some sense of what is happening, making Beth's character and her dogged pursuit of the truth completely relatable. One of the things I liked the most was how Beth's family gets involved in her investigation as opposed to trying to discredit what she saw and telling her "she's mad". The standout character for me was definitely Zannah, Beth's daughter. I just loved her. She's witty, sharp-minded, funny and an absolute joy as her mother's sidekick in their investigation. I can't stress enough how much I enjoyed reading a teenage character that's not annoying and a complete brat. Twisty and very well developed story with a set of likable characters that will grab you from page one. Thanks to Edelweiss and William Morrow for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lexi Mag

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book was complete and utter shit. Though, I'm glad I have to give it a single star (there are some books out there that I'd give zero or negative stars to if I were given the chance) because there are a couple of characters that actually add something to this dismal excuse of a book. Here is where I spoil it for you. But you won't be spoiled. To spoil means ruining something of worth. This book, no. Nothing of worth here. It starts out well. It gets you hooked. But after about 15 pages, eve This book was complete and utter shit. Though, I'm glad I have to give it a single star (there are some books out there that I'd give zero or negative stars to if I were given the chance) because there are a couple of characters that actually add something to this dismal excuse of a book. Here is where I spoil it for you. But you won't be spoiled. To spoil means ruining something of worth. This book, no. Nothing of worth here. It starts out well. It gets you hooked. But after about 15 pages, everything goes to shit. The kids are younger kids of the same couple. The daughter who died was killed by the father because...omg drumroll...she was crosseyed! Because that shit is believable. SEND THAT BABY TO HELL. The mother, even while living on a different fucking continent from the father still never managed to get on birth control or escape, so she kept having the coincidentally timed and sexed rape babies of the dad. And I'm not blaming the victim here- I'm simply pointing out how implausible and fucked the whole story line is. AND THE FUCKING LUNATIC OF A NARRATOR WAS RIGHT THE WHOLE TIME. This book is something for obsessive, lunatic women who create their own drama, to cling onto thinking, "One day I'll be right, just like this completely noble woman." I hate you, Sophie Hannah, I hate you so much. You've empowered the worst women through one of the worst goddamn books I've ever read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Erica 📚

    What a long, tedious piece of crap. I ended up skimming so many pages of useless crap that was mostly just repeated information over and over and over. The main character is obnoxious and needed to be arrested for stalking and trespassing multiple times throughout the book just to satisfy her own curiosity. I kept reading because I wanted to know what was going on. Was it something supernatural? Was it human cloning? Nope and nope. It was just a huge anticlimactic waste of time. It was ridiculou What a long, tedious piece of crap. I ended up skimming so many pages of useless crap that was mostly just repeated information over and over and over. The main character is obnoxious and needed to be arrested for stalking and trespassing multiple times throughout the book just to satisfy her own curiosity. I kept reading because I wanted to know what was going on. Was it something supernatural? Was it human cloning? Nope and nope. It was just a huge anticlimactic waste of time. It was ridiculous. I will save you some time; Flora had 2 more kids and gave them the same names as her first two kids after her husband murdered their 3rd child for having a lazy eye and blamed it on Flora smothering her in her sleep. He took the first two kids to America, flew back to rape Flora occasionally, and she had 2 more kids. That’s it. I felt like I was in a police station being interrogated for hours upon hours. Being asked the same questions hundreds of times and then told the answers and all possible explanations of every scenario over and over again. Because that’s what this book was. The main character going over and over everything and feeling the need to tell everything to every person she met regardless of the fact that everyone around her was telling her to just shut up. This is definitely going to be on my worst books of the year list.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Lalitha

    Overwrought and completely implausible plot — the twists felt anticlimactic. The only interesting, and frankly, believable character in the book was Zannah, the 17-year old daughter. I wish we had seen/heard more of her story, to be honest.

  17. 4 out of 5

    DeAnn

    3.5 unique stars (rounded up) This one had such a new sounding premise, I just had to get a copy from the library. Here the scoop: Beth has always wondered what happened to her old friend Flora. They had a falling out and it’s been 12 years since she’s had any contact. Beth’s son has a football match near Flora’s old house, so she decides to swing by just to see what Flora’s house looks like. Image Beth’s surprise when she sees Flora arriving at the house with two children that are the same age as 3.5 unique stars (rounded up) This one had such a new sounding premise, I just had to get a copy from the library. Here the scoop: Beth has always wondered what happened to her old friend Flora. They had a falling out and it’s been 12 years since she’s had any contact. Beth’s son has a football match near Flora’s old house, so she decides to swing by just to see what Flora’s house looks like. Image Beth’s surprise when she sees Flora arriving at the house with two children that are the same age as they were 12 years ago! What on earth is going on? I had all sorts of strange plot ideas going through my head and none of them turned out to be the way this one played out. Beth involves her daughter in the mystery and just keeps digging into the circumstances. In fact, Beth’s daughter Zannah was a great character! As you might imagine, things get dicey for Beth and I wasn’t sure how this one would end up! This one was a fine distraction, but the ending did leave me a bit flat.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Liz Barnsley

    Oh I ADORED this - twistier than you could hope for, a complex involving plot, a seemingly impossible mystery, with each passing page you get more and more addicted, whilst scratching your head in bemusement until Sophie Hannah unravels it all for you and it all makes sense. Clever clever. Also one of my favourite teenage characters in Zannah- a breath of fresh air. Full review to follow for the tour but definitely highly recommend.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    3.5 rounded up to 4 Beth was out doing an errand when she comes across an old friend she hasn't seen for twelve years. Beth knew that Flora had two children before they stopped talking to each other. The children that are with Flora are the same age now as when Beth last seen them. Beth becomes obsessed in finding out the truth surrounding the Braids. Beth seeks help from her family and her daughter, Zannah is one than happy to help out. This story starts off slow but the pace soon picks up. Ther 3.5 rounded up to 4 Beth was out doing an errand when she comes across an old friend she hasn't seen for twelve years. Beth knew that Flora had two children before they stopped talking to each other. The children that are with Flora are the same age now as when Beth last seen them. Beth becomes obsessed in finding out the truth surrounding the Braids. Beth seeks help from her family and her daughter, Zannah is one than happy to help out. This story starts off slow but the pace soon picks up. There is some good twists but it's also a it far fetched in places. I also felt the ending was a little bit rushed. I can't say too much the plotline as it would spoil it for potential readers. I really liked Beth and her daughter Zannah. They were likeable and believable. Overall, this is a pretty decent read. I would like to thank NetGalley, Hodder & Stoughton and the author Sophie Hannah for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Salena Moffat

    DNF. The book started off so well and drew me in. By midpoint, I no longer gave a darn about any of the characters (with the single exception of Zannah, the teenaged daughter of the protagonist) and I certainly didn't care about the solution to the weird mystery. Way too drawn-out and way too repetitive.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mean Drake

    Can't understand the glowing 4 and 5 star reviews given by other readers. I have read and loved her books, specially the Spilling CID and Hercule Poirot series but this book was a let down. The story at best in my opinion deserve a novella.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Oscar

    Fucking crazy!! Right from the very start, the book got me hooked. Also, I just want to point out how original, personally, the whole plot was.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Krystin Rachel

    Book Blog | Bookstagram Opening Hook: Alien children??? Main Character: I would have divorced her. Plot Twisty-ness: Off the rails but still moving. Okay, listen, this book is weird AF. You’re either going to fall down the rabbit hole and have a great time with how nuts it gets, or you’re going to DNF that shit because you can’t take how unrealistic it is. It just depends on the kind of reader you tend to be or the state of mind you’re in when you read it. For me, I am usually looking for something t Book Blog | Bookstagram Opening Hook: Alien children??? Main Character: I would have divorced her. Plot Twisty-ness: Off the rails but still moving. Okay, listen, this book is weird AF. You’re either going to fall down the rabbit hole and have a great time with how nuts it gets, or you’re going to DNF that shit because you can’t take how unrealistic it is. It just depends on the kind of reader you tend to be or the state of mind you’re in when you read it. For me, I am usually looking for something that’s so nuts and have never read before, and that’s exactly what I got so I don’t mind too much that it was also off it’s goddamn rocker when it came to the plot. This is my first novel by Sophie Hannah, but if this is any indication of the kind of crazy shit she can come up with, it won’t be my last. Beth and Dom used to be friends with Flora and Lewis until they moved away after mysterious happenings drove the friendship to ruins. Twelve years later, Beth is on her way to her son’s football game when she sees Flora entering her old house in the neighbourhood. And she’s calling for her children, Thomas and Emily, to come along. Beth, shocked to see her former friend, decides to be a creeper and watch her Flora and the kids. This is the first in a long line of moments where Beth is totally unabashed about being a creeper. The kids, who should now be the same age as Beth’s own teenagers, appear with their mother but are still the 3 and 5-year-olds that Beth knew over a decade ago. How can it be that they haven’t aged at all? Beth becomes fucking OBSESSED – all caps warranted – with finding out what the actual F is going on with those weird-ass kids. The whole book is basically just her being the most annoying amateur sleuth (read: nosy neighbour) that you’ve ever met. But the plot itself is so utterly wild that you can overlook the fact that you want to punch Beth in the throat. Her daughter Zan, on the other hand, was a gem of a character and I would have loved more scenes featuring her. She reminded me of myself when I was a teenager, which was not that long ago, shut up!! Beth’s marriage to Dom really grounded the novel in parts, and I thought it was a smart use of a relationship to bring the novel back to reality as Beth floated off into space with her obsession. Dom was logical and chill, keeping Beth from going totally nuts with her theories and impulsive plans. And he stayed kind and loving to her as she persisted in finding out the truth, even though it was totally disrupting their family and lives. She’d be like “WHAT IF IT’S ALIENS?!” And he’d be like, “Unlikely, but let’s talk about it." It was fucking sweet. So without being a romance at all, it still kind of was. Or I’m just totally sentimental (not likely.) I kind of read this book on a whim because I needed an audiobook to distract me at work and this one had no holds, which is usually a miracle. Rarely do I pick something up just because and end up liking it because I’m a very bitchy picky reader, but in this case, it was so unexpectedly coo-coo for Cocopuffs, that it shocked me enough to capture my thriller-loving heart. At some point I was thinking, is this going to be science fiction? Paranormal? I was so confused about what was going on I couldn’t guess at how the plot was going to unfold, which is unusual for me, let’s be real. But it’s none of those things, it’s just a thriller, and as the truths were revealed I started to catch on to what Sophie Hannah was weaving. Hannah is a tricky little writer, for real. Perfect Little Children felt original and clever, and despite a super annoying MC, it was a fun read that kept me asking WHAT THE FUCK? The ending was satisfying too. Nothing like ending with a little (or a lot) of blood. If you can suspend disbelief for a few large plot points and just roll with the weirdness, this is a twisted read for a thriller reader who isn’t totally jaded by now. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ | 4 stars

  24. 5 out of 5

    Erin Clemence

    This review is for the audiobook version of “Perfect Little Children” by Sophie Hannah, narrated by Laura Kirman and published by Harper Audio. Beth and her best friend, Flora, stopped speaking to each other twelve years ago, both having their own beliefs as to why the friendship fell apart. When driving her son to soccer practice one day, Beth has the oppourtunity to drive by her ex-best friends’s house and out of curiousity, she gives in the to the urge. Beth witnesses Flora with her two This review is for the audiobook version of “Perfect Little Children” by Sophie Hannah, narrated by Laura Kirman and published by Harper Audio. Beth and her best friend, Flora, stopped speaking to each other twelve years ago, both having their own beliefs as to why the friendship fell apart. When driving her son to soccer practice one day, Beth has the oppourtunity to drive by her ex-best friends’s house and out of curiousity, she gives in the to the urge. Beth witnesses Flora with her two children, Thomas and Emily, but something strikes Beth as odd. Both Thomas and Emily are the exact same age they were when the relationship dissolved twelve years ago. They are the same size, and look exactly the same physically. How could it be possible that the two children have not aged at all? Audio: 4 stars. Laura Kirman is quite the accomplished narrator, having been the voice on more than ten novels, including some well-known works by T.M Logan and Alex Lake. She speaks with a beautifully lilting English accent, and is both clear and emotive. There were a few parts of this narration where her volume dropped off, however, making it necessary for me to have to turn the volume up in my car for the entirety of the story to avoid missing parts. I’m not sure if this is normal for her narration, but to have a sentence start strong and drop off into whispers periodically was a bit off-putting. This didn’t happen often enough to be a regular thing though, so I was able to remain engaged in the story. Story: 4 stars I am new to Sophie Hannah, although I know she is an award-winning, world-renowned author. Through “Little Children” (alternatively titled “Haven’t They Grown”) , I am able to see why. Going in, you know the story is not going to have any kind of science fiction-theme, because Hannah is not known for this genre. But with that off the table, what else could it possibly be? It completely left me guessing, and I was impressed with Hannah’s ability to confuse me in this way. “Perfect Little Children” had a few characters that, once introduced to them, I had difficulty sorting out their relationship (who was married to whom and why, for example, as well as the various parts they played in the plot) but Hannah does reveal this more clearly as the story goes on. There was a “false ending” in the novel, toward the end of the book, which left me disappointed, and praying that it was not the real ending, as it was predictable and so anti-climactic. However, it turned out to be a ploy to psych me out, and I was grateful. The real ending was believable, but still entertaining, and delivered the right amount of dramatic punch. Although after twelve years, I doubt anyone would risk their jobs, families and lives to go traipsing through countries trying to find an estranged friend who doesn’t want to be found, but beyond this little hiccup, the rest of the story’s plot was relatively plausible. I was definitely impressed with Hannah’s ability to tell a mysterious tale, while maintaining suspense through until the end. “Perfect Little Children” intrigued me enough that Hannah has become another author for me to further explore.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Fictionophile

    Beth and Dominic Leeson were once friends with Flora and Lewis Braid. Such good friends that they even took their holidays together. Twelve years ago something happened which severed their friendship ties completely. Then, in Cambridgeshire, Beth catches a glimpse of her former friend, looking twelve years older, yet with children of the same names as her children - ONLY THEY HAVEN'T AGED!  They should be teenagers now, but instead they are still three and five years old.  And where is the baby?  Beth and Dominic Leeson were once friends with Flora and Lewis Braid. Such good friends that they even took their holidays together. Twelve years ago something happened which severed their friendship ties completely. Then, in Cambridgeshire, Beth catches a glimpse of her former friend, looking twelve years older, yet with children of the same names as her children - ONLY THEY HAVEN'T AGED!  They should be teenagers now, but instead they are still three and five years old.  And where is the baby?  There was a third child back then named Georgina - where is she? Dominic thinks Beth is imagining things. Beth is sure of what she's seen, though she concedes that her work as a busy massage therapist and being mother to two teenage children of her own have left her stressed and over-tired... She frantically searches on social media to find the Braid family. When she does, she finds that they are living in Florida. And that Thomas and Emily Braid are teenagers... as they should be.... Is she losing her mind altogether? MY THOUGHTS Rarely has a book's blurb grabbed me so strongly as with this novel. As soon as I read it, I just KNEW I HAD TO READ THIS BOOK!  I've read other books by this author, all sound thrillers, but something about this one sounded like it might have paranormal elements.... Surely not! My intense curiosity spurred me on to read at a feverish pace. What could possibly be going on here? Because I was so invested, I could easily understand why Beth was so invested in solving the mystery for herself.  Yes, there was a certain amount of repetition, but isn't there always when important decisions are being made? You have to go over and over things in your head in order to make a decision that you can live with. And no, it was not science fiction, nor was it paranormal, but it was rather 'over the top'. I was absolutely riveted for the first 80% of the novel, then it just seemed to get rather implausible after that. Mind you, I did read right to the end, and enjoyed it. A little implausibility never hurt anyone - but it did bring my 5 star review down to a 4 star. This is a story about emotional manipulation, deception, and psychological abuse - wrapped up nicely in a thriller. In three words, twisty, clever, and original.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I really liked this book. From start to finish I was hooked on finding out what was really going on. The story was excellent and so well written. It was so gripping and I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. I thought the characters were really interesting and each of them were different in their own unique way. I didn’t like Zannah though she came across really annoying and I didn’t like when she was involved with the story. The ending was brilliant and explained everything which you d I really liked this book. From start to finish I was hooked on finding out what was really going on. The story was excellent and so well written. It was so gripping and I couldn’t wait to find out what happened next. I thought the characters were really interesting and each of them were different in their own unique way. I didn’t like Zannah though she came across really annoying and I didn’t like when she was involved with the story. The ending was brilliant and explained everything which you don’t get with a lot of books. I can’t wait to read more Sophie Hannah books. This was the first one I’d read by her and it won’t be the last.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ingstje

    4.5 stars!! What the… what the… what the… hellllll is going on? If I haven’t asked myself this question 30 times or more I haven’t asked it once as I just couldn’t explain how the children didn’t age at all in 12 years. Well I had my ideas right at the start but my train of thought just evaporated and I just let the story take me wherever it was going. Ah, this novel is one big brain twister with thankfully a really great answer waiting for me in the end. I really liked Beth and her family, especi 4.5 stars!! What the… what the… what the… hellllll is going on? If I haven’t asked myself this question 30 times or more I haven’t asked it once as I just couldn’t explain how the children didn’t age at all in 12 years. Well I had my ideas right at the start but my train of thought just evaporated and I just let the story take me wherever it was going. Ah, this novel is one big brain twister with thankfully a really great answer waiting for me in the end. I really liked Beth and her family, especially her daughter Zanah (short for Suzannah). She might still be studying for her GSCE’s, or that’s what she should be doing at least, but I loved her assistence and everyone who reads this book will agree, you’ll probably love to have a daughter like her, she is one incredibly bright girl. It’s maybe a little onorthodox because she’s only 16 years but she’s just a great character who propels the story forward, asking the right questions and keeping the calm in the family and as such she’s the real voice of reason in this novel. I also really loved the fact that Beth nor anyone else doubts what she saw so we don’t get stuck in the paranoia/mad woman routine but we’re quickly running through possible explanations, none of which seem to be the right one though. And yet, there is people! Beth is like a dog with a bone and I’m so happy she didn’t let off. Even though she gets in contact with Flora and Ben, friends she broke all contact with for some reason 12 years ago, she can feel they are hiding something. There are lies and charades aplenty and well there were so many alarm bells going off I’m surprised the police didn’t knock on my door :-). I read one novel by this author before and let’s just say that wasn’t a satisfying experience so I didn’t really plan on reading more books in the immediate future but now I’m sooo happy I did. She’s definitely on my radar for the future because I love an ending that you never imagined and is just so brilliant and clever, and much more evil and dark than expected. I normally read a novel per week and I devoured this one in two days. I’m not even sorry I sacrificied some of my sleep for it, it was just so intriguing and addictive, I had to find out the truth!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Indieflower

    Well that was quite the ride - intriguing premise, uber irritating characters, ridiculously convoluted plot - farfetched doesn't even begin to cover it, my eyes were crossed trying to keep up. Did I care about the characters? No. Was I moved or touched by the story in any way? No. Was I entertained? Hell yes, it was so mental I could hardly put it down, I guess sometimes a bit of literary fast food is just what the doctor ordered 😋.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Nikki Houghton

    So this book starts with a wonderful bang a brilliant idea a marvellous premise and “wow I’m glad I bought this book” and hooks you in immediately and then......RAPIDLY descends into STUPID farce and I think I’d have preferred child-clones to infant murder and spousal rape and simple psychopathic nonsense. I have NEVER enjoyed a Hannah book, and it seems I never will. Tripe, utter blooming tripe. Avoid like the plague.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Emma Garland

    Driving her son to a match one day, Beth decides to drop in on a very old friend. It’s been 12 years since Flora and Lewis Braid moved away after losing touch over a small misunderstanding. Parking outside, unsure if she wants to see Flora face to face, Beth becomes lost in thought. A car pulls up shortly after making her pay attention. She sees Flora first, then two small children. Thomas and Emily Braid who look exactly how they did 12 years ago. How on earth is this possible? Driving away utt Driving her son to a match one day, Beth decides to drop in on a very old friend. It’s been 12 years since Flora and Lewis Braid moved away after losing touch over a small misunderstanding. Parking outside, unsure if she wants to see Flora face to face, Beth becomes lost in thought. A car pulls up shortly after making her pay attention. She sees Flora first, then two small children. Thomas and Emily Braid who look exactly how they did 12 years ago. How on earth is this possible? Driving away utterly confused, Beth cannot think of a single explanation for what she just saw. Nor can she leave it alone ... It took me a little while to get fully into this. The main character Beth came across as slightly obsessive in the beginning, over something I would probably brush off as a weird coincidence. However as the story progresses, much stranger facts come to light and Beth begins to believe her old friends may be in danger. With everyone acting secretive and bizarre it became really intense and I couldn’t put it down! I also loved the ending. 4 stars from me. ✨

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