Cover Image: Girl in the Walls

Girl in the Walls

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Member Reviews

When I first read the blurb of this book, I thought it was about a ghost, but it surprised me by being something a little different and more unusual than that. Elise is a girl who really does live in the walls of a home - one that used to be hers until a life changing event. Now she lives alongside a family, unknown to them, and follows their lives intimately whilst still trying to cling onto the fragments of her own. It’s a beautiful exploration of grief, loneliness and change in a young girl’s life but in some ways I also found the concept a bit unbelievable, and I’m not sure I completely enjoyed the read as a result. 

My thanks to #NetGalley and 4th Estate for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. This book will be out on the 4th March in the UK.

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Elise is not an ordinary girl. She lives in walls, she takes every nook and cranny in the house she calls a home. But in this house also live a family of four. Can they see her, feel her?

Such a mistery. And somehow both, creepy and sad.
Totally different kind of book, I loved it.
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Elise was the sole witness to her parents' tragic death. She is orphaned, homeless and, with no near-by family to come to her aid, is transported to a temporary foster home. She doesn't make it through the night there.

Elise knows exactly where she needs to be. Her childhood home beckons to her and she finds her way inside its inviting walls, flitting from shadowed alcove to dusty floor space and attic hidey hole, whilst its new occupants remain oblivious to her presence. 

I was anticipating this to be a chilling, autumnal read but instead found this to be a largely sorrowful tale, rather than a Gothic one. I liked it no less for that, but did find much of the narrative concerned with adding bones to the particulars already vaguely detailed in the synopsis, before more grit and tension was introduced. This, again, made for slower-paced but not an unlikable reading experience.
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This book had a gothic style to it, which had me intrigued. Have you ever thought you can hear the creek of a floor board upstairs whist in the house alone and you are downstairs? What if someone is actually living in your walls, you can’t see them and the noises they make are just put down to “old house” noises?
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Where do you go when your parents are killed in a car crash and you have no immediate family? Where do you feel most safe? The new house your parents have just moved to, or the old one, the one you have most memories in, the one that might still hold remnants of your parents, the odd sock fallen and lost into the places no one thinks to look?

Elise is eleven. She remembers how to get into the house and she finds her way into the walls. A new family live there now. A couple with two boys, the youngest, Eddie, almost two years older than her. He is quiet, considered odd because, amongst other things, he doesn’t like the sounds people make when they eat and has his supper apart from his family. He doesn’t tell them about the lego figure that moved inside his carefully constructed castle, or the books that go missing for days. His big brother thinks playing with lego is lame, that he needs to grow up, to stop being so weird. 

The brothers don’t get on, but slowly it becomes clear there is one subject upon which they can agree. They are both certain there is someone else inside their house, moving about, stealing their pop tarts. Their parents won’t believe them, so what are they going to do about it? Will Eddie be man enough to tackle the problem?

There are so many facets to this novel that even though the plot grips and drags you along, it isn’t hard to put yourself in the shoes of every different character. You can imagine longing for the safety of an old house, or lying awake afraid you can hear someone breathing just the other side of the wall, or being a happy-go-lucky, brave and lonely kid who likes to explore other peoples’ houses when they’re out and takes a strange girl in his stride. Even the villain who spends his days in internet chat rooms, obsessed with an old tormentor he knew was living in his house as a kid, feels believable, human, pathologically disturbed but understandable. All of them ready to have their lives exposed by a storm.

Out early next year, Girl in the Walls is a fast-paced read that exposes some of our social cracks. Children can be lost, ignored, pressured by social and gendered stereotypes. Finding a safe home isn’t always easy.
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I loved the minuscule details of this novel most of all... the descriptions of the world inside the walls, the sounds of the living house, the flashes of Elise in the corner of everyone's eyes. This is a gripping book and had me conflicted the whole time. I wanted Elise to stay hidden for her own good... but the plot made it so that she could not. This is a well crafted novel with a pacy, readable plot. You will love it!
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When I first heard about ‘Girl in the Walls’ and its premise, I’ve been immediately intrigued. The premise is so unique – the book promises a ghost-like gothic tale, and it certainly delivers this aspect. At moments literary, at moments fast-paced almost thriller, ‘Girl in the Walls’ remains on the verge of supernatural. 

A. J. Gnuse’s ‘Girl in the Walls’ is so unique, and I have not read a similar book so far. Though there have been moments – in the first half of the book – where I have almost wished that the actions sped up, you get to know the characters and the setting very well before you get engrossed into the action in the latter half. 

‘Girl in the Walls’ follows Elise, who used to live in the house that now belongs to a different family. Knowing the house, her home, better than its current occupants she hides in the plain sight, staying in the walls when the family is in the house, and appearing when they are gone or asleep to wander through the rooms and get food. Throughout the book, it becomes obvious that she’s lonely and she’s longing for a human connection. She’s less careful than she should if she wants to remain undiscovered, and she knows it, but small and bigger proofs of her existence in the house are left to be noticed by two brothers living in the house. 

Without spoiling the ending, I really loved it – so many things remained unsaid. Not everything was sorted, not everything was resolved, and not all questions were answered. It left me wanting more, but it also made the ending feel more real and more fitting to the whole story.

‘Girl in the Walls’ has a mysterious and at moments creepy element to it, but above all, it’s a story about finding yourself following a loss, grieving, and carrying on. I have enjoyed A. J. Gnuse’s style, and I’m looking forward to more of their works.
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I loved the look of this book, even though I’m not much of a horror book fan. But wow, I actually really enjoyed it! I devoured the second half of it in one day, and it even had me scared of my own shadow on one occasion! 

The story is mostly all told from Elise’s point of view. From the start, you’re not really sure if she is alive or dead, a ghostly figure roaming the house, or... an actual child? It keeps you guessing for a while. She creeps around, inside the walls of the house, being as quiet as she can so no one figures out that she is there.

I liked Elise, she seemed like she was very young, but had an older mind. She knew how to do things a child wouldn’t, knew when to hold her breath as someone was just on the other side of the wall, knew when she could sneak out without being seen. The Mason family live in the house, Laura and Nick, and their boys Marshall and Eddie. I didn’t get on with Marshall for the first half of the book, a typical teenage boy, does what he wants and doesn’t like it if he doesn’t get his own way. Eddie I related to slightly. I know the book never mentioned Eddie having any sort of disability, but I picked up on a lot of autistic traits there. The boys relationship with each other seemed very true though, not fictional at all, getting annoyed with each for things I know my kids would too.

The book seemed to get quite dark and scary towards the end, and had me on the edge of my seat wondering about Mr Traust, and what was going to happen next!

All in all, I liked this, and would happily recommend it to others.
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The thought of a human body wandering around inside the walls of my house, creeping out when I’m not there to eat my cereal, and to use my bathroom, is something just far too sinister to imagine. Those little house-settling noises actually being made by a hidden being? Unfathomable. Gnuse has found an excellent premise here.

We soon find out the girl’s reason for being within the walls, and her story is heartbreaking one. Gnuse comments on bereavement, of letting go, and of accepting reality, no matter how difficult it is to bear.

As Gnuse’s narrative never strays from the four walls of the house, the plot begins to feel oppressive, making us feel shut in. I felt this mirrored how the girl would feel - a tight and claustrophobic feeling of isolation which never dissipated throughout the pages. It was an incredibly sensory use of setting.

Sadly, nothing really happens here. After being introduced to the girl, and the family living in the house, there are a few near misses where she’s almost discovered, and a couple of frightening scenes, and that’s all. The characters were pretty flat; I would’ve liked more depth to their personalities - why were the brothers the way they were? Why was the girl so determined to live there? Nothing was really reinforced enough for me, and it led to feelings of detachment.

Generally, this is a fairly quick read with merit in its setting and writing style. If you’re looking for a fast-paced thriller, this isn’t the one - I waited for a heartstopping twist which never came. But if you’re seeking something which explores the human mind and body, and to marvel at the things they can allow us to do under pressure, you should definitely pick this one up.
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As the title suggests, Girl in the Wall is about a family of four and the girl that secretly lives in the walls of their house.

This book was sometimes creepy, sometimes heart-wrenching, but all the while beautiful. I loved the author's way of describing things, of capturing those thoughts we have and putting them on the page. Though the concept (a literal girl living in the walls of a family home) is chilling, Gnuse explores feelings of grief, of growing older, of dealing with all that life gives you.

In other words, I came for the creepy concept and stayed for the beautiful exploration of human existence.

Would highly recommend giving it a read.
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Elise knows the house like the back of her hand. In fact she knows every nook & cranny far better than the people who own the house. Eddie is a strange child - not normal, his older brother says. Consequently he doesn't tell anyone about the flashes of movement he sometimes sees out of the corner of his eye. Then there is the question of who ate the pop tarts?
I really enjoyed this book - well, to be accurate I enjoyed the first 2/3 and the very end but felt the last 1/3 got very slow and full of padding. A great shame really as I had been captivated with the story and how it was moving forward before it seemed to hit a wall of treacle and almost stop. I found myself skipping whole paragraphs of thoughts which meant nothing.
I loved the idea of this book - a girl who lives inside the house but the family don't know about her. The little things that she needs to be careful of and how she can use the house when she knows they are all out. The complexities of food, washing and the toilet especially when the family are around. There was plenty of detail on this & i found it fascinating. The characters were generally sound with standard family tiffs about who ate the last whatever or who moved something. It was enough to make the reader question their own home - though to be fair I doubt many of us live in a house large enough to accommodate a secret person.
The ending of the book was good - I liked it and it fitted with the start. In fact if it weren't for the few chapters of padding I would have loved this and given it a 4 or 5 star rating.
I received a free copy of this book via Netgalley.
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I had expected Girl in the Walls to be a gothic thriller, perhaps with ghostly goings-on in the vein of Sarah Perry or  Laura Purcell, and was very pleasantly surprised to discover this is a literary thriller, whose story leaps off the page and demands to be read to its conclusion. 

While reading, I could easily imagine this book in movie form. Elise is a young orphan, returned to the house she considered her true home, though as another family now lives there, she survives by secreting herself in the walls.

Her occupancy does not go wholly unnoticed: Eddie, the younger of two teenage boys, often thinks he sees someone from the corner of his eye. An awkward boy, he wonders if the presence is a figment of his overactive imagination. Until his boisterous older brother confesses that he's noticed things too. 

I truly don't want to share any more of this fast-paced plot. Suffice to stay that events unfold which spiral out of control and put the lives of all the main protagonists in danger. A.J. Gnuse has created a terrific plot which keeps readers gripped right through to the last page. I don't think I've read anything quite like it!
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I loved Girl in the Walls. I thought I wouldn’t get into it at first but the story captures you and takes you on a fantastic journey of hopefulness, sadness interwoven with fear for the main character and some thrilling twisting turns to the book. A captivating read and I thoroughly recommend.
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Thank you to the author, publisher and Net Galley for the digital advance reader copy of this book in return for my honest opinion. 

 This was a great book to read over a bank holiday weekend as I was able to immerse myself in it rather than read a few chapters here and there. Elise is a shadow, a ‘something’ seen out of the corner of the eye, a figment of the imagination. She’s living in her family home. Unfortunately a different family from her own lives there too... 

 Eddie is an awkward boy who lives in his family home with his older brother and parents, who are determined to restore this old ‘fixer-upper’ to its former glory. His older brother is determined that Eddie should act his age rather than like a scared little kid. 

But that’s easier said than done when things are moved in the house by something unseen, when he feels like someone is sharing their home with them. But that can’t be true. Can it? 

The reader is drawn into Elise’s wraithlike existence from the outset, and I found myself holding my breath at times as she watched the family from her hiding places in the walls and cupboards. When Eddie’s brother realises that all is not as it seems, he seeks advice from outside sources and risks inviting in more than he bargained for. 

As someone who lives in a solid brick house over 120 years old, I found the idea of someone living in the walls rather fantastical at first. But then I stumbled upon accounts where it has actually happened, such as the case of Daniel La Plante, a murderer who terrorised a family in Townsend, Massachusetts whilst living in their walls. It made me appreciate A J Gnuse’s tale all the more. I would have liked to have learned more about a gap in Elise’s life but equally it’s sometimes good to be left to fill the blanks in yourself.
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This story was not like any other book I’ve ever read. Totally different and it felt quite weird and almost creepy. Even so, I couldn’t put it down. It’s actually so well written it was not predictable in any way. I really couldn’t decide how it was going to go. Sometimes I couldn’t really decide whether I thought the girl was real or not!
When the Traust man arrived, it became very dark and a bit scary. What was going on with him!!! Some kind of real weirdo he was. 
I’m still a bit undecided about whether or not the girl was real or even a ghost and the end left me totally up in the air. An 
excellent book for being so very different.
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Girl in the Walls intrigued me with its blurb.

Mysterious.

Ghostly.

Perhaps not one to read when you're alone in the house.

Do you ever feel like there could be someone, something lurking in your house? Strange noises, items moved or perhaps lost?

A spirit or something a lot more real.

Elise (the main character) is a girl, who lost her parents in a car crash and instead of choosing to go into care, opts to find her way back to her old home. 

This is where she lives, in the walls, hidden from view. 

Quiet, patient, waiting for opportunities during the day to come out of hiding. To eat, drink, to pretend like she's living a little.

The story was cleverly executed.

Haunting at times.

Scary to think just how little we know about our own homes, those spaces beyond the walls that we can't see, forget that they exist.

Girl in the Walls is a unique tale, when reading it felt almost poetic.

For a book where actually not a great deal happens, I felt compelled to keep reading, the protagonists way of describing things was extremely emotive. 

A slow burner that draws you in with each sentence. 

Captivating.

And the ending, satisfying, necessary.

Left me with a smile.
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When I saw this book on NetGalley I knew I needed to read it. The storyline sounded fascinating and the title itself reeled me in. 
‘Girl in the walls’ 

It’s a very descriptive read and i felt I could really picture the scenes. It felt like I was watching a movie in my head as the scenery really came to life with how well it was described. 

It isn’t my usual go to genre of book but I really enjoyed it. The characters were likeable and I really enjoyed getting to know them. It was quite a slow paced book, you it’s one you really need to sit and read thoroughly to appreciate it.  

It had a sense of ‘the betrayals’ by Bridget Collins, so If you enjoyed that, you’d definitely like this. 

Thank you NetGalley, 4thestate and William Collins for allowing me to read this fantastic book!
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I loved this take on the gothic tale. It was exciting and mysterious and I was intrigued by the concept of this story. Elouise, the girl in the walls, is not a ghost - instead she is grieving for her dead parents and unable to move on - literally. Instead she lives in the tiny spaces a house has and watches the new owners go about their lives. However, she cannot remain undetected forever and this is where the story gets interesting. A fab read.
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I wasn't quite sure whether this was a ghost story or a sad tale of of a child who has lost her way in life.
The writing was excellent and I waited for the inevitable twist at the end to bring the story full circle -but it just didn't happen and I was left feeling disappointed .
A good read -which could have been so much better .

Thank you Net Galley for an ARC in return for an honest review
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What would you do if tou found out there was someone living in the walls of your house? I requested this book because i found the title as well as the description of this book creepy n intriguing. But this was a different story from the dark gothic tale i was expecting,  even though it has some gothic elements.

When Elise's parents die, she becomes the girl in the walls. She doesn't want to return to her sprawling home and so starts hiding out in places above n below n in the walls. When a new family moves in, the two children of the family are sure someone else is in the house besides them. What happens then is the story of the book. 

This was a fresh kind of a book, which dealt with some serious issues in a tender way but also created an atmosphere of some tension at points in the book.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC of the book.
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