Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Returned by Jason Mott

(GoodReads): Jacob was time out of sync, time more perfect than it had been. He was life the way it was supposed to be all those years ago. That's what all the Returned were.

Harold and Lucille Hargrave's lives have been both joyful and sorrowful in the decades since their only son, Jacob, died tragically at his eighth birthday party in 1966. In their old age they've settled comfortably into life without him, their wounds tempered through the grace of time ... Until one day Jacob mysteriously appears on their doorstep—flesh and blood, their sweet, precocious child, still eight years old.

All over the world people's loved ones are returning from beyond. No one knows how or why this is happening, whether it's a miracle or a sign of the end. Not even Harold and Lucille can agree on whether the boy is real or a wondrous imitation, but one thing they know for sure: he's their son. As chaos erupts around the globe, the newly reunited Hargrave family finds itself at the center of a community on the brink of collapse, forced to navigate a mysterious new reality and a conflict that threatens to unravel the very meaning of what it is to be human.

With spare, elegant prose and searing emotional depth, award-winning poet Jason Mott explores timeless questions of faith and morality, love and responsibility. A spellbinding and stunning debut, The Returned is an unforgettable story that marks the arrival of an important new voice in contemporary fiction.

My Thoughts: Once I read the synopsis of THE RETURNED I knew I wanted to read it. The idea of loved ones who have passed away showing up on your doorstep, I believe is a very exciting premise. I found the novel to be compelling and very well written.

Since the premise was so different than anything else I've read, I had no idea what direction the story would go. As people began returning, the Bureau took over the Hargrave’s small town of Arcadia. There were too many people returning, some families didn’t want them and the government needed to put them somewhere. There becomes not only an issue of where they are going to live, but they needed to be fed. These are natural consequences to something like this! So as the Bureau tries to keep control over the returns you begin having people feeling the pressures of the returning taking resources. Mobs begin. On the other side of the coin you also have people fighting for the rights of the returning.These are things I wouldn't have thought about.

I want to make sure to add, that as I was reading I kept having questions. The novel discussed some of the dilemma of what was going on in the world, but it seemed to me there would be more discussion and more internal thought of the characters than I found in the novel. Another issue that really jumped out at me was the time lapse for Jacob was never addressed; neither Jacob nor the other returns seemed to ask what was going on, how come you are now so old. I believe part of the reasoning would be to show how different the returned were to the living—but I would have liked to have seen this in more discussions, how they are different. I mention it because I felt like the main living characters weren't as complex as I would have liked them to be. I guess for me I felt the story could have gone a little deeper than it did.

Now even though there were a number of issues with the story I am not saying I didn’t enjoy THE RETURNED. I did. I believe it was an excellent book, but with a few differences I believe it could have been exceptional.

The complexity of THE RETURNED really makes you stop and think. What would you do, how would you feel, what would you think of them? Twelve years ago I lost my mother to breast cancer. After she passed away, she often showed up in my dreams. She would just magically appear. I’d tell her we thought she had died and she’d say no I’m here now and my brain just accepted it. We would talk and I would tell her everything that was going on…and each time I dreamed of her we would catch up from the last time. I miss those dreams and would do anything to have another one. I’ve never had one with my dad who passed away last year. THE RETURNED for me allowed me to stop and imagine them again, but the story took it where I think exactly where I think it would go if it really happened (hope that makes sense).

THE RETURNED is a thought provoking, well written, excellent book I am highly recommending. I also want to add the ending of this novel was perfect and might just be one of the best endings I have ever read.

Buy your copy of The Returned by Jason Mott

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ABC is going to be airing "Resurrection" this fall based on Mott's book! And it looks amazing!

Jason Mott’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, August 26th:  Jenn’s Bookshelves
Tuesday, August 27th:  Rinn Reads
Tuesday, August 27th:  River City Reading
Wednesday, August 28th:  Bookalicious Mama
Wednesday, August 28th:  From the TBR Pile
Thursday, August 29th:  Peeking Between the Pages
Friday, August 30th:  Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Monday, September 2nd:  Col Reads
Tuesday, September 3rd:  Man of La Book
Wednesday, September 4th:  Books Speak Volumes
Thursday, September 5th:  BookChickDi
Friday, September 6th:  Sara’s Organized Chaos
Monday, September 9th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Tuesday, September 10th:  Mockingbird Hill Cottage
Wednesday, September 11th:  Simply Stacie
Thursday, September 12th:  A Bookworm’s World
Friday, September 13th:  The Book Wheel
Monday, September 16th:  Peppermint Ph.D.
Tuesday, September 17th:  Unabridged Chick
Tuesday, September 17th:  Melissa Firman
Wednesday, September 18th:  Bewitched Bookworms
Thursday, September 19th:  A Bookish Way of Life
Friday, September 20th:  Luxury Reading
Friday, September 20th:  5 Minutes for Books
Monday, September 23rd:  Happy. Pretty. Sweet.
Tuesday, September 24th:  The Best Books Ever
Wednesday, September 25th:  Silver’s Reviews
Thursday, September 26th:  Between the Covers
Friday, September 27th:  Literally Jen
Monday, September 30th:  Julz Reads
Tuesday, October 1st:  Ageless Pages Reviews
Wednesday, October 2nd:  Book Addict Katie
Thursday, October 3rd:  Broken Teepee
Friday, October 4th:  A Novel Review
Monday, October 7th:  Guiltless Reading
Tuesday, October 8th:  Life in the Thumb
Wednesday, October 9th:  Laura’s Reviews


  1. I enjoyed your review, Laura ... well done and thought provoking! I've had this book on my list since I first saw the trailer and I'm hoping to crack the spine soon.