Cover Image: Girl in the Walls

Girl in the Walls

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Member Reviews

I loved this. It was so original and I found myself on both 'sides' - wanting Elise to stay hidden for her sake, and wanting her to be found for the brothers' sake. Great characters and a brilliant premise, with an interesting narrative style to boot.
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I really wanted to like this story and give more stars, and probably would have based on the description but it wasn't meant to be - I only managed to read a few chapters before giving in.

To me, it felt like reading a series of story outlines, where the scenes were being described by a narrator, and something seemed to be missing. 

Perhaps another time the style of writing might be my cup of tea, but right now, it's not for me.

Thank you to Netgalley, 4th Estate and William Collins for sharing this eARC.
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I really enjoyed this book. I dont normally enjoy short reads, as I usually feel something is missing. But this book didn't leave me feeling that way. Highly recommend
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This was great! So different to my 'usual' type of book and also so different to what I expected but both in wonderful ways. I was very much expecting a Sarah Water's/Susan Hill ghost story here. I have to say to begin with I was a bit disappointed that this wasn't what this story was, BUT I couldn't put this book down. I stayed up waaaay past bedtime (Which with a teething 10 month old really is saying something!) to devour this book. It was full of atmosphere, anticipation and intrigue! Loads of mystery and just the right amount of exciting surprises! I think this will be so perfect for my bookshops market. Totally different to anything I've read recently and I'm glad because I loved it!
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Echoes of Flowers in the Attic here.  Well, only a little.

Girl in the Walls follows Elise who lost her parents in an accident and returns to the only home she knows by living in the hidden recesses of the house.  Things get interesting when the new owners' sons discover her living in the walls and resolve to get rid of her, without the knowledge of their parents.

I had a problem with some of the prose, with odd punctuation and long sentences, but the story develops nicely, and then Southern gothic atmosphere builds as learn more. 

The characters are filled out nicely, and the story grips, Well worth giving this a look.
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“Listen. We know there are people who hide in our homes. They crawl into attic spaces. Tuck themselves behind yard equipment in garages. Flit between the rooms of the house just outside the reach of sight.”

I’ve heard - we probably all have - those almost unbelievable sounding stories about people who live undetected in others’ homes - concealed in small spaces, emerging only when there’s no-one around. Of course, we only know about the ones who were discovered....

She moves through the house like a ghost - almost like a ghost - but Elise is a flesh and blood girl, who after the sudden death of her parents could bear no other option than to return to the large, sprawling southern Louisiana home they used to live in. To the hidden places only she knows. The space inside the walls, the spaces above and below the house. The Mason family, going about their lives, working and renovating the house, have no idea she’s there; only Eddie, a sensitive thirteen-year-old, senses her presence.

There’s an ever present danger of discovery, but there are also dangers which Elise (and indeed most people)  cannot begin to imagine, like a man with a violent obsession.

I was a little worried, in the beginning, that the “girl in the walls” was going to prove to be more of a vehicle for Eddie’s story. Thankfully, that proved not to be the case. This is most definitely Elise’s story. 

The concept is a fascinating one and in Girl in the Walls, it’s wonderfully brought to life. AJ Gnuse’s writing is beautiful and Elise is a marvellous creation, her existence almost unimaginable and yet fully realised. Her love of Norse mythology - a book, taken and hidden - runs throughout. Eddie and his family are also fully believable characters... and of course the house feels like a character in itself.

Almost unbearably tense at certain points, I couldn’t imagine how it was all going to end, but it proved completely satisfying.
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I've just finished this incredible book and I cannot wait to shout about it!! This is such a gripping story, haven't read anything so intriguing in ages! Loved the plot lines and I thought the characters were really well written and believable. Not my usual genre but I enjoyed it so much, really glad to have seen this and picked it up. Huge thumbs up from me.
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The feeling of being watched; a sound that is barely there; a suspicion of a movement caught in the corner of an eye: objects that disappear or turn up in unexpected places: the elements of a ghost story, maybe, a grisly crime narrative, or a sinister tale of horror?  This novel is none of those: I found it impossible to pigeon-hole it into a specific genre.  Thirteen year old Eddie and his big brother have those experiences, but most of the story is told from the viewpoint of Elise – the titular girl in the walls.   
Orphaned Elise has returned to her former family home, a ramshackle building that she knows inside out, sleeping in the attic and moving around through the walls in the house that Eddie’s family now live in.  Only Brody, who spends his time breaking into houses nothing like his own, knows of her existence and they become friends.  Eddie’s brother is so spooked by his suspicions that he has discussed it in an online forum, and when the boys are alone one night, a stranger arrives to rid the house of its unwanted inhabitant.
The atmosphere the author creates by confining the action to this oddly constructed house within a house is as suffocating as the stifling Louisiana summer when most of the events take place, with it’s the constant threat of hurricanes and broken levees and the building’s proximity to the river.  The impending storm increases the sense of menace and fear for Elise initially generated by the arrival of the stranger.
I found this book totally engrossing in its portrayal of the way Elise slowly begins to confront her grief, and the unexpected events of a plot that depicts a pivotal moment in Eddie’s relationship with his brother.  I found it a hugely satisfying read.  The only reason I can't buy it for our library is that our oldest readers are 11, but I will be recommending it wholeheartedly to my book club.
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Can you imagine that your home is your world and going out is squeezing out of the crawl space under the floors into the inner house where people live. Elsie has lived in the walls ever since her parents were killed in an accident, it was after all her home. When the family are asleep or out she comes out to find scraps of food and leftovers, occasionally taking a little more. She takes things she needs to survive. 
The knocks and creaks, when the family are home are put down to the normal noises a house makes when all is quiet. She knows all the dodgy floorboards and steps. She knows her limits so that the family don’t get too curious. But the youngest boy, almost a teenager has seen her, just that fraction of a second now and again. When his older brother confesses he has seen her too they decide to do something about it. 
Believe me, once you have finished this book you will hear every creak your house makes. Elsie, the girl in the walls is intelligent, harmless and lives every day with her own fears. Whereas the boys of the house fear what is in the walls, Elsie fears them finding her. She has nowhere else to live.
The author makes this a highly emotional read, nightmare scenarios and unusual friendships. The unknown is what people fear and at times your mind is your worst enemy. The story never really ventures from those four walls but it is packed with heart-pounding moments that are off the scale. This is a superb debut from this author, definitely one to watch out for in the future.
I wish to thank the publisher and NetGalley for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
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I really liked the sound of this novel by A. J. Gnuse so was pleased when I was granted access through NetGalley. 

"Elise knows every inch of the house. She knows which boards will creak. She knows where the gaps are in the walls. She knows which parts can take her in, hide her away. It’s home, after all. The home her parents made for her. And home is where you stay, no matter what.

Eddie calls the same house his home. Eddie is almost a teenager now. He must no longer believe in the girl he sometimes sees from the corner of his eye. He needs her to disappear. But when his older brother senses her, too, they are faced with a question: how do they get rid of someone they aren’t sure even exists?"

I honestly have no idea how I am going to write a review without spoilers; the plot is so tied into my enjoyment of novel that I am going to struggle to give specifics. Suffice to say that Elise is a wonderful character, she reminded me of Cassandra from I Capture the Castle. And her interactions with the house, where she essentially becomes 'at one' with it, are wonderfully described. There are some heart-stopping moments particularly in the second half (again, can't tell you anything about them without risking spoilers!) and Eddie is sympathetically drawn. In fact, all of the young/young adult characters in this novel are really well-described. 

A great modern gothic read which provides a true portrayal of loss and grief.
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Disturbing and brilliantly written, it gave me chills.  The story follows Elise who loses her parents in an accident and how she becomes invisible to the outside world whilst living in the inner recesses of her family home.  The plot gathers intensity when the current owners children work out something is living in the walls and resolve to rid the house of its unwanted occupant without the knowledge of the parents.
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Elise lives in the walls of the house, out of sight of its inhabitants. The brothers who live there, though, suspect that there is someone else as little clues give her away and they sense her presence. I didn’t love this book in the way that others who have read it seem to but that is just personal preference as it is well written and gently tense at times. Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC.
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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a fly on the wall? Listening to people's conversations, and watching them without then knowing? Well, Elise is a fly in the walls. She's a small orphaned girl who lives inside the walls of her old house, and creeps out when the family aren't around to scavenge for food and to explore. 
But when Elise starts to be a little careless, the boys of the house start to notice that their 'ghost' might be a bit real after all. 
My heart was leaping out of my chest with fear for what might happen. Gnuse has you waiting with anticipation as you wonder whether the girl will be found and what will happen to her.
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* spoiler alert ** This book is all over my social media,and I think i Mau have fallen for it's hype.
In parts it's beautiful,a girl,her grief,going home to find a familiar place and moving through the walls of a home she once shared with her family... unknown to the family that live there now.
At times it's downright sinister,and a litte scary and tension packed.
Then there's the ever so slightly duller bits.
It was a real mixed bag for me,and I struggled to know how to rate it.
I finished it with a smile on my face,and that can only be a good thing.
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A little girl loses her parents and returns to the home she knows best. She lives in the walls, sneaking around, filching food and books here and there. She hopes the new family don't know she's there.

This book had a solid creepy vibe to it, and I enjoyed the interactions between the family members, although I would have liked a little longer spent on this portion of the book. 

Overall, I enjoyed this book, a solid story and idea for a new author. While I didn't love this one, I would certainly like to pick up more by the same author.

Thanks for the opportunity to read this ahead of publication Netgalley.
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Unique story  of grief and longing/belonging, ghosts and adolescence. Elise can’t leave her childhood home and haunts Eddie on the cusp of childhood who is afraid of her and knows she isn’t there, or is she? “Eventually very hidden thing is found”.
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A gripping story, which completely drew me in.  The author conjures up a very real sense of place, and the characters are entirely believable, so that the reader really cares about all of them.  I would definitely recommend this book.
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The ARC of this book was kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. #GirlintheWalls #NetGalley.
Girl in the Walls is a gripping, emotional story that had me on the edge of my seat reading. It explores grief and loss in a way I've never experienced in a book before, through the stunning writing of Gnuse and the captivating imagery that carries this story. It had me looking over my shoulder and re-evaluating every creak of my own house whilst I was reading. There's a raw and honest connection built up between the reader and the characters, learning about them through the eyes of the girl gives us a unique perspective on their lives. This was haunting, right up until the last line. I cannot stop thinking about it, in the best way.
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Date reviewed: August 11, 2020

When life for the entire universe and planet turns on its end and like everyone else you "have nothing to do" while your place of work is closed and you are continuing to be in #COVID19 #socialisolation,  superspeed readers like me can read 250+ pages/hour, so yes, I have read the book … and many more today. And it is way too hot to go outside, so why not sit in from of the blasting a/c and read and review books??  BTW - stay home and save lives!!!!!!!! No tan is worth dying for.

I requested and received a temporary digital Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley, the publisher and the author in exchange for an honest review.  

From the publisher, as I do not repeat the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it as they do it better than I do 😸.

She doesn’t exist. She can’t exist.

‘A uniquely gothic tale about grief, belonging and hiding in plain sight’ Jess Kidd, author of Things in Jars

’Those who live in the walls must adjust, must twist themselves around in their home, stretching themselves until they’re as thin as air. Not everyone can do what they can. But soon enough, they can’t help themselves. Signs of their presence remain in a house. Eventually, every hidden thing is found.’

Elise knows every inch of the house. She knows which boards will creak. She knows where the gaps are in the walls. She knows which parts can take her in, hide her away. It’s home, after all. The home her parents made for her. And home is where you stay, no matter what.

Eddie calls the same house his home. Eddie is almost a teenager now. He must no longer believe in the girl he sometimes sees from the corner of his eye. He needs her to disappear. But when his older brother senses her, too, they are faced with a question: how do they get rid of someone they aren’t sure even exists?

And, if they cast her out, what other threats might they invite in?

This was a very spooky and thrilling book - and very, very unsettling. It also reminded me a bit of the movie "White House Down" where the president's son hides in those walls but this book is MUCH BETTER than the movie. It is expertly crafted and you may find yourself holding your breath - this is a rocket ride of a book that has ups, downs and all over the place within the house and the book.

Read it.


As always, I try to find a reason to not rate with stars as I love emojis (outside of their incessant use by "🙏-ed Social Influencer Millennials/#BachelorNation survivors/Tik-Tok and YouTube  Millionaires/etc. " on Instagram and Twitter... Get a real job, people!) so let's give it 🚀🚀🚀🚀🚀
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Girl in the Walls is a captivating and gripping original story which explores grief and all the power of the supernatural. It's eerie, believable and most importantly it features characters you connect to.
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