Cover Image: The Quarry Girls

The Quarry Girls

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A fast-paced and entertaining historical thriller. A recommended purchase for collections where crime fic is popular.

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I LOVED this book. Any book by Jess Loury, I know will be a real page turner. This one really got me at the end. I was so sad but also happy with how the story ended. I can't wait for her next book.

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This book made me so mad I was ready to throw my kindle across the room and I mean that in the best way. The only trustworthy character in this entire book is our fierce and earnest protagonist, Heather. And she is determined to uncover the truth, no matter what it takes. I was cheering for her and holding my breath for her all while wanting to protect her from the nightmarish realities of her small Minnesota town.

For years, Heather and her friends have thought the most mysterious thing about their hometown was the elaborate tunnel system running below their houses. Pantown - once a factory town where all tunnels lead to work - has now become an idyllic suburb where the kids play tag in the tunnels and spend every summer weekend swimming or attending local fairs.

But something dark is coming to their peaceful town - and the arrival of a dangerous predator will reveal something far more insidious already lurking below the surface of their lives.

Heather and her friends saw something in the tunnels. And now Heather’s friends are dead.

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Inspired by a true crime this novel tells of Killers hiding in plain sight. Small-town secrets. A girl who knows too much. Compulsive, gripping and horrifying! Will keep you on the edge of your seat!

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What is it about 1970s's serial killers? I know I'm not the only one...

Anyway, this was solid. It's a little less about the "mystery" and more focused on "how many terrible things can happen around this girl", but the plot came together well. Be prepared for some dark stuff.

Despite dealing with some dark things, it also got almost cheesy at moments. I agree with the "men = bad" and being-a-woman-is-hard themes as much as the next man-hating feminist, but this book did get a littttttle heavy-handed with its message sometimes.

Overall a good story though. I liked the nostalgia (yes, I have nostalgia for time periods before I was born), I always like serial killers (you know what I mean), and the conclusion was satisfying. Check it out!

~3.5 stars rounded up to 4

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I really enjoyed this book. The killer was a little predictable and I was able to figure it out a little half way to the end of the book but I still had a hard time putting it down and I loved the ending..

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The Quarry Girls is a bit of nostalgia with a hint of thriller sprinkled in. Jess Lourey has true talent for Minnesota nightmares.

While reading The Quarry Girls, the nostalgic memories washed over me. I was transferred back to my summer days visiting family in Minnesota while I was in both middle and high school. I remember the long drive from New Mexico; Grandma taking my sisters and I to ValleyFair; visiting the family farm; staying a couple of nights at the cabin and refusing to swim in the lake; but what I remember the most is the smell that Mankato emitted because of the farms (and truth be told I hated that smell).

However, there is nothing like the summer days when you’re a child/teen; no curfew, the humid air, the outside sounds at night, going to the county fair, watching the lightning bugs flicker here and there.

I also had a step-mother who worked at Black Hills Gold in South Dakota and have a few pieces of jewelry myself (and lost a few through the years - because who gives little girls real jewelry like that).

The Quarry Girls also shines on puberty and when childhood friends become distant and go their separate ways. As well as how families try so hard to keep a false image.

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A solid, fast paced thriller that kept me reading!

Set in the 70's in a smaller town based on a true crime pulled me in and the book really kept me interested the ENTIRE time. This was the quick read I needed and I can't wait to read more from this author.

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Jess Lourey has done it again! Knocked it clean out of the park. I absolutely loved this book.

A dark, coming of age, secrets buried in small community type story. Set in the 70s, when times are certainly different from now. Young girls going missing and horrible secrets being unearthed. Wrapped up nicely at the end.

Highly recommend.

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It’s 1977 and Heather and her fiends live in a small town, which when built had a series of tunnels connecting the whole town underground. Al the local children love playing in the tunnels and escaping the souring heat above. However, one night, Heather, her younger sister Julie and some of close friends open a door to one house in the tunnel and see something they shouldn’t have.
With one girl missing, then one of Heathers gang goes missing and late found dead, Heather knows the town she grew up in is not what she thought, nor the people close to her. Pantown is full of secrets, and Heather needs to know who to trust.
A spectacular, compulsive read which keeps you wanting more. You really sympathised with Heather and the girls of Pantown. 5 stars!!

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This is once again another heart wrenching in feels book from Jess Lourey, I just love her style of writing and all the emotions put into her work, I enjoyed reading the quarry girls and I wish I could do it all over again.

The story follows a group of teenage girls Heather, Maureen and Brenda who live in a small town of Pantown and are best friends growing up catching the attention of teenage boys.

One night we witness and read of Heather and Brenda who catch Maureen with grown men. Now Maureen is missing. In such a small town everybody knows everybody and can you really truly trust someone you thought you knew? Who should we trust and who shouldn’t we?

The Quarry girls is dark and hits you so hard in the feels, a page turner that constantly has you rethinking everything you thought you knew. I couldn’t put the book down and I honestly wish I could erase my memory to re-read it all over again. I would recommend it to fellow book readers.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the arc in exchange for my honest review.

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I will say again, that Jess Lourey is so much like Wendy Corsi Staub that I immediately dive into Jess's novels. Fantastic!!

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Loved this book....This one was just as good as Unspeakable Things. Lourey is a fantastic storyteller and knows how to weave portions of the plot in just in the nick of time. 5 stars for sure!

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4.5 stars! Quarry Girls is a fast paced thriller set in a small town in Minnesota in 1977. It definitely is on the darker side and had a solid creepy factor. 15 year old Heather and Brenda witness something they swear never to tell anyone they saw. But when girls in their town start disappearing, including one of their best friends - they suspect the incident they witnessed is a piece of the crime. As more small town secrets unravel, Heather is not sure who they can trust to find her missing friends and she wonders if she will be next.

Thanks to #NetGalley, Jess Lourey, and Thomas & Mercer for the e-ARC of #QuarryGirls in exchange for an honest review.

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First, thank you to the author, the publisher, and Netgalley for graciously allowing me an ARC!

Jess Lourey's The Quarry Girls is a mixed genre: part coming of age, part true crime, part feminist perspective. Heather, the main character, is working to learn the rules of adulthood in a small midwest Minnesota town (Pantown) when teenage girls start to go missing. The story, which the author has loosely based on an unsolved murder in her own hometown from her own childhood. It is a gripping read straight from the start, with many plot twists that keep the reader hooked.

The story places the reader in the skin of a teenage girl, with the vague constant fear of sexual threat always bubbling just under the surface-a feeling that as an adult I have on occasion, but remember vividly from my own teen years. To capture this sensation is quite a feat-and one the author excels at.

My only complaint with the book, is that there are sometimes sentences which seemed to need revision-this is of course, because I received an uncorrected copy. At a major plot twist, there is a word in the sentence that seems to be there by mistake (I won't include it here as it would be a spoiler). There are a few of these, another example that I will list here is "I was thinking on that when Agent Ryan poked his cinnamon-colored head into the room. He wanted to know if I stopped by to check on me." But the main character didn't "stop by"-she is sitting in a police station. I believe it is meant to state " He wanted to stop by to check in on me. That's it. He wanted to give, not take." Of course, this could simply be a lack of reading comprehension on my part, but there were enough of these unusual sentences that it took me from the story, focusing instead on trying to understand the meaning of the sentence, rather than the story. I imagine that these issues will be worked out upon publication, and have not deducted any stars from my review, as it seems unfair.

But wow, what a great book overall! I can't wait to read more of Lourey's work

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Ooo y'all... this was fantastic! It was my first read from Jess Lourey and I am so happy I was able to read it! I really enjoyed the writing style as well as the characters. The storyline captured my attention right away and held it the whole way through! Must read!

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As someone who is interested in true crime, I enjoyed this book even though it was hard to read sometimes knowing it was inspired by a true story. This story had me constantly wanting to know what was going to happen next! Thank you to NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer for the free ebook in exchange for an honest review!

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Unfortunately very disappointed in this one. I finished it thinking there would be a twisted at the end but no. The story was well written but too many story lifted unanswered. I would give it 3 stars

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I admit I was a bit weary going into this one because Lourey is a bit of a hit and miss author for me. I very much enjoyed her "Bloodline" but was rather bored by her "Unspeakable Things", so I was hoping for some more of that first one's glory. And I'm happy to report that "The Quarry Girls" is a big big hit!

The setting is creepy in itself, with a town that has its own underground tunnel system and patriarchal structures that made me uncomfortable from basically page 1. Once again, Lourey writes about girls coming off age in dysfunctional families and a society unable to support them, and I felt so much for these girls and especially our protagonist, Heather. It's a story about friendship, too, even if this particular friendship ends in tragedy - one that is actually felt beyond the pages.
The plot is creepy, slow in just the right places, full of eerie imagery and villains hiding in plain side. Now, the twists and turns are honestly not very surprising and I saw some of the bigger ones coming way too early. The big resolution in the end was a bit of a letdown for me, personally, too because I was hoping for one last big twist, but in the end, do we really need all thrillers to have a twisty ending? I don't think so. Maybe it's because I wasn't really surprised by any of the plot developments that I was hoping for a little more.
Still, it's a consistently good thriller with scenes that I found pretty hard to read, and it made me angry more than once. Lourey tends to write about girls that deserve to grow up in a protected environment, and about a (patriarchal) society that fails to protect them. It's heartbreaking not just because it hurts to read about these things happening to these girls, but because it's not even an unrealistic story.

4 stars and one of my fave thrillers of the year so far.

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This book is everything. I might start sounding like a broken record with these rave reviews, but Jess Lourey has done it again: she’s written a book that is even more tightly plotted and fleshed out than her last one. I truly love all of her books, but I can see her writing become more and more polished with each publication.

Full disclosure: I grew up in the town (St. Cloud, MN) where the book is set, but about 10 years after the events in the book take place. I owe Lourey a debt of gratitude for hijacking my memory and bringing me back to days long past; the setting and details that you don’t necessarily think are anything made me fall down the rabbit hole of nostalgia. I could SMELL the fabric upholstery of those ‘70s gas guzzling cars, feel the stickiness of Kissing Potion lip gloss (second only to Lip Licking Lip Balm!) and the sweat rolling down my back during the humid days of the end of summer. The shenanigans that the protagonists get up to are some of the same shenanigans that me and my friends got up to back in the day: drinking (sorry, mom), sleeping until noon, swimming at the quarries. The quarries are basically another character in the book for anyone who used to go there as a teen. The water was always cold, there were no grownups, and most importantly, it was illegal! So. Much. Joy.

So yeah, I was sold from the first few pages, but the story within is also very well-crafted and the characters and character development are so convincing, especially the young teen girls. What they do and what happens to them might seem shocking, but it’s sadly accurate in depicting realistic events, if not ‘real’ people. The author’s note before the narrative starts provides historical details regarding crime and location in St. Cloud. I didn’t overtly know about all the young girls and women who went missing or were killed, but Lourey’s research into serial killers on the scene in central Minnesota in the ‘70s rings eerily true to the creepy vibe of growing up there. On a lighter note, I had no idea about what was behind the name Pantown. I went to junior and high school in Pantown, for Pete’s sake! Did the underground tunnels really exist? I’m intrigued.

No spoilers here, but the ending—both tragic and uplifting—made me cry the ugly cry of both sadness and joy. Heather, Brenda, and Maureen, I see you.

Trigger warning: child sex abuse, teens doing teen things, asshole men, bad parenting, abusive clergy

I give this book 5 stars. If you don’t like teenagers swearing, drinking, or doing drugs, then maybe this book’s not for you.

Thanks, NetGalley, for providing me with an ARC.

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