Haven't They Grown by Sophie Hannah

Image of the front cover of the ebook version of Haven't They Grown by Sophie Hannah. The front cover is displayed on a Kindle Paperwhite which is laid on a stone coloured background printed with cactus plants. The front cover features the author's name and the book title alongside an image of some ornate front gates leading to a house. To the left is a title that reads 'Review, Haven't They Grown by Sophie Hannah, www.chatterfox.co.uk'

Beth and Flora haven't spoken in years, not since their children were little. Now the children are all grown up, well, some of them are.... Haven't They Grown by Sophie Hannah follows Beth as she attempts to unravel how and why her former best friend's children haven't aged in twelve years. Is it a web of lies and deceit? Is Beth slowly losing her sanity or are unaging children merely the tip of the iceberg? 

The synopsis makes this book sound like a intense thriller with science fiction undertones. I can confirm that the novel starts out as a definite thriller. The mysterious events come thick and fast and build on each other to create a real sense of urgency in the reader- I was gripped to begin with and needed to know more. 

Sadly this intense pace begins to decline as the book progresses and what began as an intriguing mystery becomes a set of unrealistic circumstances one after the other. Is it really plausible to postpone your entire life and follow a hunch halfway across the world? I appreciate the author was maybe trying to emphasise how far Beth would go to unravel the mystery and potentially protect her friend but it just felt so silly. No one could afford to do that.

The entire novel revolves around a specific question 'why haven't Flora's children aged over the course of twelve years?' I'm not really sure what answer I was expecting or even what conclusion I would have been happy with but the answer I got felt obvious yet absurd at the same time. It felt like the author grabbed at every possible explanation and threw them all into the mix. Everything happened. There were so many different threads used to explain the course of events that it became confusing and nonsensical. The overall explanation of events was so far fetched and unbelievable that it made this book a chore by the end.

The main characters were annoying and unrelatable as no one would ever really behave like that in real life. The smaller characters were equally irritating. The only person I could relate to was Beth's husband as he became frustrated with Beth's obsession with discovering the truth- it got to the point that I didn't even care what the truth was. I could have happily walked away from this book never knowing why those darn kids hadn't grown- it felt like such a long winded, 'round the houses' way of explaining things.

As you can probably tell this wasn't one of my favourite reads. It's the closest I've been to not finishing a book in a long while and so it's definitely not one I'd recommend. 

Thanks For Reading

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