Haven’t They Grown / Perfect Little Children
by Sophie Hannah
I read an ARC of this book when entitled ‘Haven’t They Grown’. I believe this book with be published under the name ‘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 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?
‘Haven’t They Grown’ by Sophie Hannah is a really unique story, unlike anything I’ve read in a long time. I’ve read a lot of thrillers recently and I’ve been disappointed with most, but this was something different that had me guessing throughout.
Beth Leeson used to be best friends with Flora Braid. Their partners and children all got along well and they often spent time together. All was great until one day 12 years ago, the families drifted apart. We don’t know why this happened but in the first few pages Beth is sat in her car waiting outside of Flora’s new home like a stalker. She’s not there for any sinister reason, she’s just curious about what her ex-besties life is now like. Beth thought she’d get a glimpse of life in the Braid household in 2019 but she never imagined what she would see next.
Flora’s children Thomas and Emily should now be teenagers, just like Beth’s own children. But when Flora drives up to the house, out jump Thomas and Emily aged three and five. Why haven’t they aged at all in the past twelve years?!
The story is gripping, and this is one of those books that you need to keep reading because you are desperate to find out what’s going on. The story is told from Beth’s point of view and a lot of the content is her fast-paced thought processes. What does this mean? How is this related to that? How can that be? What should I do next?
I really liked this book and it was a quick read, but felt that it went on a little bit and I was ready for it to finish a fair way before the ending. There were a couple of plot points that I’d probably have removed but there was nothing terrible that could spoil this read for me.
Overall rating: Full of twists and turns, ‘Haven’t They Grown’ is a fast paced, unique story that I really enjoyed. I didn’t see the ending coming and I was kept engaged throughout. It’s 4 stars from me!
Thank you to Readers First for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.