Cover Image: The Quarry Girls

The Quarry Girls

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I think I know what this book was aiming for. I think I know what story it wanted to tell and what it wanted to say. The issue is that this book felt completely aimless. It took too long to get into the actual plot, it took too long to build the world, it took too long to get to know any of the characters, and it took until nearly halfway through the book to even get a good feel for what we were really looking at in a big-picture way.

This book is based on true events, but even when a book is based on true events that doesn’t mean the story writes itself. There still has to be craft there. I thought maybe this book could be incredible. The prologue was really interesting. It was enough to hook me and get me through the first 25% of the book hoping to recapture the feel of the prologue. At 50% I realized it never was going to be less of a slog and it was never going to recapture any suspense or thrill for me. It’s such a shame to waste that potential.

Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for granting me access to this title. As per personal policy this review will not appear on any social media or bookseller website due to the 3 star or lower rating.

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I’ve been excited to get to this one and now I’m bummed it’s over! From the first page I was captivated by the story of the young girls in Pantown, MN, fighting an unknown murderer. The underground tunnels lead to some very bad stuff indeed but it wasn’t as graphic as I thought it might be so I was happy about that. The story of Heather, Brenda, Maureen, Beth, and Junie had me on the edge of my seat but also nodding my head in agreement about how girls/women can be treated or viewed, especially back in the 70’s. Not sure a ton has changed since then but it’s a work in progress. High praise for this compulsively readable book!

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Whew! Jess Lourey sure can write some dark stuff. I tend to like her books even though they make me question humanity. The author's note at the beginning was an interesting touch as to why this author writes what she does and how this story is loosely based on true events from her hometown.

I found this story quite creepy and (sorry to use the word again, but it works so well) dark. Literally and figuratively dark. Central to the storyline are the tunnels under the houses of Pantown, which connect everyone's basements to the tunnel network below the town (literally dark). The kids, sisters Heather and Junie, their friends Brenda, Maureen and Claude, spend time in the summer playing in the tunnels to escape the oppressive summer heat and humidity. It is in those tunnels that they see something terrible (figuratively dark) and realize that not everything is as perfect as it seems in their town and homes. Pantowners are known to keep their secrets close; everyone on the outside should only see the good stuff. All of this comes together to mean that while Heather is concerned about the girls going missing -- the Sheriff claims they are runaways-- she can't go to anyone with what she saw to confirm if it may have something to do with the disappearances. No one is truly who they seem to be in this twisty story.

Jess Lourey LOVES her metaphors. They are peppered throughout almost every page. Some are nonsensical and made me roll my eyes ("the back of my neck cold, blood purple-thumping in my veins." like... HUH) but some are super powerful and make you really FEEL what the characters are feeling too.

This was a First Reads pick as well as a Read Now on Netgalley from Thomas & Mercer.

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First let me say that this author is one of my favorites. When I know she has a book coming out I get very excited. This one is great. It should definitely come with a trigger warning though. It's about youngish teens and assault by grown men. Men of importance in the small town. Also kidnapping and murder. It's a very intense and touchy one. It will make you have many emotions. Mainly fear and tears.

This story is set in the summer of 1977.

There are three good friends Maureen, Heather, and Brenda. Heather's younger sister Junie plays a big part in this story also. And another older teen, Beth. These girls are the best of friends and are in an all girl band. The three that is. One night their worlds are turned upside down. Nothing will ever be the same again. Heather and Brenda see something that makes them see life in a whole new way. The men in the town are not what they seem. Not the ones that they can count on to keep them safe.

This story is told by Heather. She has a lot going on in her life. Her mother is suffering from a mental problem and it's hard for Heather and her little sister Junie. Though Heather does step up and takes care of her sister. She cooks and makes sure Junie is ok. She also takes care of the house and her dad. She thinks her dad is the best. Heather wants more than anything for their mother to be ok and to approve of things she does to help. There is a story there that you will read about. What happened to Heather's ear. There is even a bit of a hoarder in this town. But I liked her. I felt bad for her too. She made a mistake and is paying for it. Also every so many chapters you hear about Beth and what is going on with her. I really admired Beth at the end.

The tunnels under the town are very interesting to read about. How these kids could run around under the town. But it's also very scary. Anything could have happened. Anyone could have come to your house and possibly done horrible things to the ones living there. That part was a big disconcerting for me. Made me wonder why all the basement doors leading out to the tunnels were not boarded up. Locked up tight. Even in a small town where people feel safe you have to be smart.

I enjoyed this book even though it made my skin crawl in places. Made me cry in places and made me think about stopping it in places. I almost didn't keep reading because of the subject matter. Not the serial killer parts. The sexual abuse parts. They were bad. But not so explicit that you can't continue. Unless maybe if you experienced this type of abuse. Then you might find it hard to read. But keep going. It's a story that is worth reading.

Be sure and read the parts at the beginning. Before the actual story starts. The part about serial killers that existed back then. In the early to mid and late seventies. The young girls who were murdered and no one ever brought to justice for it in many cases.

This was my Amazon First reads for October book and a NetGalley.

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I didn't get this one from Net Galley, I listened on Audio. What a wild read set in the 70's and based on actual events. I couldn't even imagine where this story went. Great detail but intense so many feels

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This book has several trigger warnings (rape, violence, abuse, etc) so do your research before picking up this book. The Quarry Girls by Jess Loury is based on real events that occurred in Minnesota in the late 70's. When someone goes missing, it puts the teens in this small Minnesota town on guard. When it's one of their friends, our main character, Heather, deicides she needs to figure out what exactly is going on and figure out who she can trust. This is a coming-of-age thriller, and I really enjoyed it, as I do all of Jess Loury's novels.

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Quarry Girls is a story of three young women coming of age in a town with an interesting history. All the homes are connected by underground tunnels that in the past have been used to get people to work. Now they are just the playground for kids and some unsavory adult activities as well.
Three friends have a band. They are invited to play at the local fair. Across town, a young woman has gone missing. Something happens to one of the young women in the band that starts the heroine and story narrator on a quest to find out what is going on with the young women in the town. Her father, the district attorney seems to know something. Her mother, a woman distressed by her own mental illness and depression seems to be dragging her family down. This book is full of secrets, ugly ones and as layer after layer is peeled back, the mystery gets deeper and the corruption in the town does as well. Entertaining reading in a unique setting. Thanks to #NetGalley#The QuarryGirls for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Five stars for The Quarry Girls by Jess Lourey! Don't start this book unless you have plenty of time. You won't want to put it down. Told from the perspective of a teenage girl coming to grips with the evilness in her world, this fast-paced thriller kept me turning pages late into the night. I enjoyed the spunkiness and bravery of the main character. Thoroughly disturbing and completely engaging!

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Thank you to NetGalley. All review is of my own thoughts and feelings. I am not compensated in any way. I loved this book! I am a Minnesotian and this book is based in St. Cloud Minnesota. I am not sure if the events really happened in this book or not. I am now wanting to delve into more research about the time era and some of the interesting things talked about in the books like the tunnels! If the story is true about the deaths I am truly heartbroken.

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The author, Jess Loury, introduces the reader, in her author notes, to where and when her fascination with serial killers began - St. Cloud, MN in 1977. I found this an interesting personal note. I like it when author’s do that at either the beginning or at the end of the book. I like getting those insights to the story and the author’s mind and thoughts.

The book summary lays out the primary storyline: the disappearance of teenaged girls in the summer of 1977 in St Cloud. The story flips back and forth between two MC’s; Beth and Heather. Beth is a 17yr waitress who was abducted as she was leaving work, late one night, which was revealed in the prologue, so this is not a spoiler. Heather is a 16yr old drummer of an all-girl band who is the primary caregiver for her 12yr old sister and her emotionally and mentally absent, manic-depressive, schizophrenic mother who rarely leaves her bed/bedroom. Heather’s father is a workaholic that spends little time at home. There was a triggering incident for the mother’s condition that isn’t revealed until the second half of the story, however, I won't be revealing that spoiler.

It was the comment in the book summary, “she learns that no one in her community is who they seem to be”, that had me suspicious of pretty much everyone from the get-go, especially the male characters, many of whom were drenched in toxic masculinity. By the second half of the story, around the 60% mark, I had settled on two different suspects because I truly believed there were two suspects at work. The end gets pretty scary and intense but, satisfying and fulfilling. A solid 3star rating about the breakdown of a small mid-western town in the 70’s, where the chauvinism and misogyny was so rampant that it nearly silenced one generation of women and set its sights on doing the same to a whole new generation of women/girls.

I want to thank NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for sending me this eARC.

@NetGalley @Thomas&Mercer @QuarryGirls

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When a waitress from St. Cloud Minnesota goes missing it is on the fringe of Heathers consciousness but because it doesn’t directly affect her she pretty much blows it off. Heather, Brenda and Maureen have been friends since the girls can remember but when Maureen goes missing it will slowly pull apart the life Heather thought she was living. When they find Maureens body floating in the quarry Heather thought this was the worst that could happen, but then Brenda goes missing. She knows it has something to do with either the new guy Ed hanging around Saint cloud or what her and Brenda saw the night they played hide and seek in the tunnels. When she turns to her dad the district attorney of Pantown, she’s hopeful with an adult help the right people will get involved but in the end The more her friends and the powers that be blow her off the clearer things become. Can she uncover the truth before more girls go missing and what does all this have to do with the first girl Beth, that went missing? I know this is a terrible review but OMG… This book is so good! I read this book every spare minute I had it was so good I didn’t want to stop reading it we even ate dinner late yesterday due to me reading this story. I cannot wait to read more from this author if they’re all like this signed me up! I highly recommend this book if you love thrillers then why haven’t you read the quarry girls yet? I receive this book from NetGalley and the publisher but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate most of my review.

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I had to let this one resonate before writing a review and I’m still a little torn. I liked the whole tunnel element in which an entire town is connected with an underground tunnel system. This was incredibly unique and added a whole level of intrigue. I felt like the protagonist was a well-drawn, spunky, unique individual. I was drawn into the story and I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened. I didn’t care for some of the other characters and felt like their actions did not completely match their personalities. I also felt like the ending fell kind of flat and was a bit too obvious.

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I love a good small-town mystery/thriller set in the 70s. If you were a kid in the 70s or 80s you know those times were completely different than how it is for children now. No phones, no social media, heck, there weren't even TV remotes until the mid-80s.

I love Jess Lourey's writing because she's able to encapsulate the feel of a small community like nobody else. She's able to write about the laziness and innocence that surround the townspeople. But the problem is those same townspeople always have something … off. Jess' townies always have secrets.

This was a heavy book. Kidnapping, torture, assault, infidelity and mental illness are all described in the story.

I'm glad she didn't shy away from what was happening and the end had a surprising amount of justice. I think the pacing was a tad too slow. I was ready to see whodunit!

Thank you NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for providing me an e-copy of THE QUARRY GIRLS to review.

I rate THE QUARRY GIRLS four out of five stars.

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Review of The Quarry Girls by Jess Lourey


This author has a way of making you feel the vibe of her books. I got all the creepy vibes from this one. And all of the 70s vibes which was super fun. I enjoyed this thriller but it was a bit slow to me in the beginning. But then it took off and didn’t let up until the end. I was slightly underwhelmed with the ending but overall this was extremely well written and solid. She wrote characters that you will have major emotions about trust me on that.

Quick Synopsis: set in the summer of 1977 this tells the story of a girl named Heather. She is in a band with her two best friends snd is excited to play at the fair. But when Heather and her best friend see something they weren’t meant to see and then girls start going missing everything starts to go downhill. Heather is determined to find out the truth about the missing girls.

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The Quarry Girls was so atmospheric and hooked me from the first page. The story takes place in Minnesota during the summer of 1977. The author was on point with the 70's vibes you get from the book which I remember so well. Girls are disappearing and the sheriff doesn't really seem very concerned. This is one of those stories that gets under your skin and leaves you feeling very unsettled.

This was the first book I have read by Jess Lourey, and I am looking forward to reading more of her work.

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This book was a bit of a miss for me. It had good suspense, but it was a bit predictable and the ending kind of fell flat. There was a lot going on and trying to figure out what was related to the disappearances and what wasn't was interesting. When the owner of the cooper bracelet was revealed, I did have a big "I knew it!" moment, but towards the end I feel like it just kind of fell apart.

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I love Jess Lourey and her books. My all time favorite is Bloodline but this did not disappoint me. It’s not as much of a thriller as some of the others, but it certainly has a creepy vibe.

I also loved that it was se in the seventies. So much nostalgia. The writing is atmospheric and for me it was a read I couldn’t put down.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest opinion. 4⭐️

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The first few paragraphs of the prologue hooked me – succinct, brilliant use of language that set the scene and tone for the rest of this tale which was inspired by a true story.
It’s 1977 and a young girl has disappeared in a small town in Minnesota. Heather’s exuberant friend Maureen then also goes missing. All this while Heather is having to deal with her unstable mother, who once nearly killed her, and protect her younger sister. She doesn’t know who she can trust apart from her friends, Brenda and Claude. Even the sheriff and the priest seem to be involved. And then Heather’s best friend, Brenda, also goes missing…
This is a brutal coming of age story. It’s about power and patriarchy, abuse, corruption, vulnerability and helplessness. About strong men and defenseless girls, and about authorities hiding ugly truths. But it’s also about grit and determination. And strong women who simply won’t kowtow.
I loved the bizarre underground tunnels connecting so many of the houses in Pantown, a metaphor for the unseen, sordid goings-on that lay buried deep under a veneer of respectability.
3.5 stars, rounded up to 4.

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Unfortunately this book wasn’t for me.
A lot of trigger warnings.

When I read the synopsis of the book, I thought it would give me 70s summer vibes, slow-burn mystery, which it didn’t deliver for me. Actually, it is written very in media res, no time and space for reflection, just action … and writing style is quite juvenile, yet the descriptions very adult…

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I loved everything about this book. It has everything I look for in a story. Jess Lourey just moved onto my list of must read authors.

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