Providence

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Aug 2018

Member Reviews

Jon Bronson is about 14 when he is kidnapped by Roger Blair, an H. P. Lovecraft fanatic who keeps him under sedation for four years and somehow gives him special powers during his captivity. Then Blair releases Jon, who must come to terms with the fact that he is now quite strong and can kill people and animals without touching them.  Then the story skipped ahead another six years. The story is told in alternating chapters by Jon, his childhood friend Chloe and Eggs, a police detective who is trying to connect the deaths of a bunch of random people.  This book just wasn't for me.  It was mostly internal monologues and painfully slow. The conglomeration of young adult angst and mild horror didn't do it for me.  I quit after reading about 40%. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.
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Jon and Chloe are best friends in school.  Since Jon is bullied while walking to school, he goes another way through woods.  Jon is bullied at school too.  Jon and Chloe go to a shed in the woods to visit and talk.  Jon is going to school when he is kidnapped.  Who kidnapped him?  Chloe searches for him along with others but aren’t successful in finding him.  Four years go by and suddenly Jon is in the mall.  He is recognized even though he has grown.  When Chloe hears the new that Jon is back, she runs to him at his parents home.  However, she gets a bloody nose and faints.  Chloe goes to the hospital.  When Chloe tries to see him, Jon refuses and won’t tell her why.  Chloe doesn’t give up trying to see Jon.  Why won’t Jon see her?

In this novel, you will discover what a true relationship is.  It is a novel that is a mystery, science fiction and romance.  The story is written with well-written, descriptive characters and plot.  There are twists and surprises in it.  I enjoyed the plot very much.  It’s a good story.  Read it!
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I love Caroline Kepnes. Love her. Would throw everything to the wind the second a novel of hers is released. That's what I did here. Unfortunate part? It was a DNF at 50%. 

RELEASE DATE: June 2018

PUBLISHER: Lenny 

DISCLAIMER: Novel sent via NetGallery in exchange for a honest review. 

SYNOPSIS: Growing up as best friends in small-town New Hampshire, Jon and Chloe are the only ones who truly understand each other, though they can never find the words to tell one another the depth of their feelings. When Jon is finally ready to confess his feelings, he's suddenly kidnapped by his substitute teacher who is obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft and has a plot to save humanity. Mourning the disappearance of Jon and facing the reality he may never return, Chloe tries to navigate the rites of entering young adulthood and "fit in" with the popular crowd, but thoughts of Jon are never far away. When Jon finally escapes, he discovers he now has an uncontrollable power that endangers anyone he has intense feelings for. He runs away to protect Chloe and find the answers to his new identity--but he's soon being tracked by a detective who is fascinated by a series of vigilante killings that appear connected.

REVIEW: This novel started out with a bang. I was hooked the first chapter. I wanted to know more. I wanted results. I wanted resolution. Instead, I felt heavily weighed down until I eventually gave up and fast forwarded to the end. 

Here's the good - Kepnes excels at obsession and it's clear here that the two main characters are obsessed with each other. The way she writes about feelings and longing really spoke intimately with this book (as opposed to her previous books about obsession which were a little more...murdery). I felt true pain with the characters and their distance between each other (both physically and mentally). 

Here's the bad - I lost interest the second after the main character Jon disappears. When he returned, it felt too much science fiction for my liking, and I slowly started the descent into boredom. A non-spoiler - the main character developed superpowers during his time away. Maybe science fiction is just not my jam. 

I love Kepnes. My review of one of her previous novels made it to the inside jacket cover of her book. I will always have a soft spot for her. This one just missed the mark for me.
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Goodreads Blurb: Growing up as best friends in small-town New Hampshire, Jon and Chloe are the only ones who truly understand each other, though they can never find the words to tell one another the depth of their feelings. When Jon is finally ready to confess his feelings, he's suddenly kidnapped by his substitute teacher who is obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft and has a plot to save humanity.

When Jon finally escapes, he discovers he now has an uncontrollable power that endangers anyone he has intense feelings for. He runs away to protect Chloe and find the answers to his new identity--but he's soon being tracked by a detective who is fascinated by a series of vigilante killings that appear connected.

My Musings: While lacking the "edge-of-your-seat suspense" of Kepnes's previous novel, You, I still really enjoyed Providence. Both Jon and Chloe were very complex and realistic characters. The confusing and conflicting feelings Jon suffers, as well as the intrigue of his new powers made for a great story. Kepnes succeeds so well at grey characters.

I wish that there were not so many loose threads at the end of the novel, but at the same time I also didn't feel like I was left hanging. This novel is one of the few that worked so well with multiple narratives. Everything was great, I hope we get a sequel!

Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Buy
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There is something doubly disappointing about the idea that Ms. Kepnes' latest novel is so forgettable. Her first two novels were spectacular pieces of twisted fiction. The idea of a character possessing strange powers that threaten others made me hope that Providence would be more of the same. Reader, lightning does not strike a third time in this instance.

There are several areas in which the story falters. The first is in Jon and Chloe's relationship. The synopsis makes it sounds as if it is part of the magic that later becomes such a large part of Jon's life. However, a reader never gets that impression from the story itself. They are 13 years old when Jon disappears and still finding themselves and their niche in their small social world. Chloe, in particular, must reconcile her desire to be among the popular students and the person who she calls her best friend. I say calls her best friend because she still allows the popular students to bully and beat Jon; two people with such a strong connection would never allow that to happen to the other without interference. Later, after Jon disappears, what Chloe feels - in my opinion - is nothing but guilt. The guilt manifests itself in never being able to forget Jon. Upon his return, she continues to feel guilty at having moved on in her life while he was...well...not able to do so (without giving away a key plot point). Is there love there? Probably. Is it a mystical bond? I don't think so, at least not the way Ms. Kepnes makes it appear to be. There are so many other emotions at play in their relationship, not to mention all of the issues that coincide with being a teenager and young adult, that to call it mystical is to ignore the mundane.

Also, H. P. Lovecraft and his novels provide a disconcertingly large part of the focus of the novel. To understand what they bring to the story would require knowing information about him and about his stories. Ms. Kepnes tries to provide the basics for readers, however, it is not enough to bridge the gap of unfamiliarity. I feel that someone who is a Lovecraftian would appreciate Providence much more than I did if only because they will understand some of the connections between Jon and Lovecraft the author is trying to make. So much of the novel either references Lovecraft or specific plot points of his novels that I believe I lost a significant level of detail and insight by not being familiar with either.

To me, Providence is another story about obsession with characters who would greatly benefit from counseling and maybe even medication. However, Ms. Kepnes does everything in her power to pretend it about something else, and that is where the story loses me. Ms. Kepnes does not need magic or superpowers to create compelling characters; that she does with Jon and Chloe is a letdown. It feels a bit like she took the easy path with this novel and with these characters, using Lovecraft and at least one of his novels to develop the plot and relying on magic powers and a mystical connection rather than properly developing the characters. Her previous novels proved that she can write amazing stories. Unfortunately, I found nothing amazing in Providence.
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Tough for me to give feedback on this one. I saw this going on so many TBR lists on Goodreads. Unfortunately sci-fi is one of my least favorite genres and there was a little too much in this one for me. I think I’d better like the author’s previous book.
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Oookay... I've been delaying this review because truthfully, I didn't absolutely love this book. And given that I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher Lenny, I always feel a but guilty when I can't write a completely glowing review. Especially because I also love Lenny! And the fabulous, boundary-pushing women's work that they publish both in their newsletter and now, in novel form. 

Let me say I was drawn to Providence because of the thriller/supernatural aspect. The first half or so of the book engaged me, but then it started to flag for me. I haven't read any Lovecraft, which for sure made it difficult for me to connect with that aspect of the narrative. And as for Chloe... I am nearly always in favor of a flawed main character, but in this case, there wasn't a whole lot of positive there to balance out the flaws for me. 

This is absolutely a case of not the right reader for this book. There is a lot to love here - it just wasn't up my alley. That being said, I am super grateful to NetGalley and Lenny for the opportunity to read it.
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What a creepy, interesting, get-into-your-head read this was!  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am still engaged with it a day later, my last thoughts before falling asleep the night I finished it were of the two main characters. Starting in high school Chloe and Jon are friends but a different kind of friend, not boyfriend and girlfriend although they each think that is what they want.  This story then takes a turn for the bizarre. The setting of Providence and other parts of New England are true to place and time (I live out side of Providence) and play an important part in the story. A quick read since you won’t be able to put it down! Thank you #netgalley for the opportunity to read and review #providence
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It pains me to write this review. Unfortunately, it wasn't my cup of tea. 

Let me tell you what I did love about this book; the writing, Kepnes has a way with telling stories, this book is no exception. It was a personal issue that I didn't take to the content. This doesn't mean that the quality of writing diminished any. 

There was a very strong opening and honestly, I was intrigued and pulled in right from the jump. It was when we hit the twist that I started to lose interest. 

I always suggest readers take a chance, if their interest is piqued let no one tell them otherwise unless they read it and feel the same. 

*Thank you to Netgalley for providing an advanced review copy*
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This book was interesting, it was a different type of book from what I've been reading. It's a love story, it's about bullying, it's a fantasy/sci-fi, it's a mystery. I liked it. I liked John, Chloe and I loved the cop Egg. I enjoyed everyone's story, their background, I was invested. It kept my interest, but to be honest, Caroline Kepnes' other books, You and Hidden Bodies, are hard to follow. I was a little disappointed. If this had been her first book I read, maybe I would have liked it more. 

First sentence: I brung Pedro home for Thanksgiving break and tomorrow I have to bring him back to school.

Last sentence: Chloe.
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Random House and NetGalley provided me with an electronic copy of Providence.  I was under no obligation to review this book and my opinion is freely given.

Jon and Chloe were inseparable, sharing much of their lives both inside and outside of school.  When a horrific situation tears the pair apart, Chloe has no choice but to move forward with her life.  Four years later, will Jon and Chloe find themselves again?  Has Jon been forever changed from his experience?

I wanted to like Providence, as the novel contained a little unnatural twist that made the plot interesting.  However, I was not a fan of the writing style and I had no connection to either of the main characters.  The story was wholly unbelievable and just did not grab my attention.  For these reasons, I would be hesitant to recommend Providence to other readers.
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This was a great book.  The character development was fantastic, and I loved the ending ;)  I will definitely be reading more of Caroline Kepnes in the future--you have a devoted fan!
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The first two books by this author, You and Hidden Bodies, were 4 star reads for me, and I thought them clever and sort of fun.  This book started out strong, has a good cover, and then instead of fun became just silly.

Childhood pals Jon and Chloe  are devastated when tragedy strikes -- Jon is kidnapped by a substitute teacher, held in a basement in an induced coma for four years, and then set free as an experiment of the sub teacher.  The experiment somehow gave Jon super powers which I won't go into, and I wish the author hadn't either.  There is also a good chunk of pages devoted to H.P. Lovecraft books and Lovecraft devotees.  I didn't know who he was before so had to look him up.  Monsters.  Imaginary places and made-up words no one can pronounce.   No thanks.

By the end, the number of times that Chloe and Jon almost met up, or were in the same place without seeing it, or dialed each other and then hung up -- it became repetitive, drawn out and silly.  A disappointment to me.  I know Kepnes can write, though.  The chapters told by the detective were really quite good.  Maybe he should have a book of his own

My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher.
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Another great book from Caroline Kepnes! If you're looking for another "You", this is not that book, but it's a great story in so many of it's own ways. There's dueling story lines, some science-fiction, and even some romance. I can't wait to read what she puts out next.
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I wanted to like this. The sci-fi aspect of this was super interesting but it is LITERALLY never really discussed or explained. It would have been 1000 times better if it was discussed at all or given any background on how and why he gets his powers. The romance aspect was ridiculous. We get such a small look at the friendship between Chloe and Jon at the beginning that when he disappears FOR YEARS their connection seems weird and obsessive for no reason other than they understood each other when they were children. I mean this book spans a decade or so and we barely see them interact with each other so the romance seemed super unrealistic. Lastly, after 300 odd pages NOTHING happens. It's the same mundane things  and pining after one another from afar over and over again and had zero story lines other than waiting for something to happen. And it never does. Also the other storyline going on was also super confusing and tiresome. Overall, I have found I am just not a fan of Kepnes' writing.
I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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While Providence wasn't quite the story I was excitedly expecting, it turned out to be the book that cemented Caroline Kepnes as an auto-buy author on my shelves. In this one the thrills are turned way down in exchange for brilliantly multifaceted characters and immersive atmosphere that sucks you in and makes you want to root for an impossible happy ending for all.

What starts as a kidnapping that destroys a family and inspires a future for the one and only friend of this poor, horribly bullied child turns into a study of what makes a monster and how even monsters among us are, at their core, human.

I found myself throughout this book  completely mesmerized by the beautiful descriptions of New England as the characters wove their way into my heart and destroyed me at my core before putting me back together and restoring my faith in humanity.
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I was not a big fan of You. I read this book after it was a contender onJimmy Falons summer read. I ended up really enjoy Providence. Love story with a twist mystery with an even bigger twist.
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Unfortunately I didn’t really love this book. I found it very hard to follow the timeline of this. The whole story moves very slowly for me.
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I requested this book because I loved the previous books I've read by the author and I was so happy that it was a similar creepy, suspicious, dangerous style.  Our main character had a little bit of magic going on in his life that was not so fun for him and dangerous for those around him.  He became a behind the scenes aspect of everyone he cared abouts' life because he was scared to let his magic hurt them.  The addition of a detective working on trying to figure out if this magic was real was a great part of the plot. Overall, the book made me feel uncomfortable in the best way possible, urging me to keep reading and recommending to everyone I know.
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"Life Isn't Good For Us."
However, sometimes you get lucky and things go your way. Don't question it!
Power comes from the inability to connect, from the ego of one in desiring to secure the needs of the masterful, while seeking to ignore the needs of others to his own selfish wants..
Providence for me was pure joy.
Two best friends Jon and Chloe are like identical twins who know each other too well.
Jon is kidnapped by a disgruntled scientist and teacher who is obsessed with HP LoveCraft plot to save humanity.
Captive four years now holds all power endangering anyone who comes to fall in love with him.
Jon eventually runs away to protect Chloe -- the same Chloe-- who smelled like cookies (don't ask).
Jon Bronson was heartbroken to learn that perhaps Chloe wasn't into him as he was her. 
Chloe Sayers felt like she was shot 'literally and figuratively' in the heart ...and perhaps, Just Perhaps, she was!
What if the person you thought the culprit to be isn't the culprit but the savior?
Well folks this is like a disappearing act gone haywire...but I'll leave it up to you to figure it out from hear.
A great read for thrillers everywhere...
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