Member Reviews

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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I really enjoyed this book. There were some very "oh wow!" Moments that were a nice touch. 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 by Jess Lourey is a dark coming of age novel about a girl, her friends, her family, and a town full of deception in a Midwestern town in the summer of 1977. You know, that time where kids ran wild all day without parental supervision and they had no cell phones to keep up with them. What a time to be alive.

So we have three friends who we center around: Heather, Maureen, and Brenda. The teenage girls are all in a band and are besties for life-except Maureen and Brenda are growing up without Heather and are starting to draw in the attention of those panting teenage boys.

Soooo one night Brenda and Heather see Maureen in a compromising position. With grown men. And next thing you know Maureen is missing. Now In this small town where everyone knows everyone and everything we don’t know who we can trust or who we shouldn’t trust.

The Quarry Girls was a great novel that you could picture the setting in your head and imagery that is pertinent to 1977. If you are a Jess Lourey fan DEFINITELY check this one out!

*I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion*

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#thequarrygirls #netgalley
Publication date 16 August 2022

This is a young adult physcological thriller, I found this book to be a quick and easy read

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Quarry Girls by Jess Lourey

*TRIGGER WARNING* sexual assault of minors

It’s every females’ worst nightmare-a piece of you so close to safety while another piece understands the threat that is present. You might not know him well, you’ve seen him before and brushed off any feelings of discomfort in lieu of making him uncomfortable. But you know him-we all do. It’s that little voice in the back of your head telling you to run-the one women are socialized to ignore.
This book takes a searing look at the treatment of women in the midwest, specifically Pantown, MN in the late 1970’s. Mainly narrated by the main character, Heather 15, this story is peppered with interludes of one of the kidnapped girls' time in captivity and her fight to survive. Not sure who to turn to, her Dad, the local DA as well as her hero, the local town sheriff, or her friends- Heather realizes the only person she can really trust is herself and sets out to find answers on her own. After witnessing a startling act involving her best friend Maureen, Heather’s desire to fit in fights with her desire to fight for what’s right. The ensuing escalation of sexual and violent crimes taking over Pantown in the summer of 1977 are tough to stomach-yet you’re left with a feeling of necessity to see this story through, as if you’re fighting for your best friends along with Heather.
I found myself not only unable to put the book down, but cheering aloud for Heather as we watch her start to shed her self doubt and find her footing- the summer she was forced to grow up. As the author describes the journey from girl to woman- the open field run we all have to make into adulthood, Quarry Girls is a true portrait of what life was like for women, and still is in many places, as well as the power women have when they come together. The character’s are very well developed; it's easy to picture this group of friends running through the tunnels under Pantown, holding on to their childhood as long as they can. This is not a light story but an all too real experience for women in the past and present. Here’s to changing the future!

Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for a fair and honest review!

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This book was a thrilling and quite scary coming of age story. I was on the edge of my seat reading this from start to finish. The unease of the setting and the characters is palpable due to the excellent writing by the author, Jess Lourey. I was 9 in 1977 and I heartedly can relate to the midwestern town of the mid to late 70's with many secrets hidden that need to come to light. The ending was satisfying and very sobering at the same time.
I highly recommend to anyone who likes fast paced suspense.

Thank you to Net Galley for the chance to read and give an honest review.

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"And once you understand the truth, there's no living any other way."

The Quarry Girls follows the stories of Heather and Beth, two girls living in Pantown in the 1970s.

Heather and her friends, Maureen and Brenda, are 16 year old girls going through the trials of growing up and growing apart. When Brenda and Heather accidentally stumble across Maureen in a precarious situation and she later goes missing, the girls start to believe that there is foul play involved. Heather takes this particularly hard and goes searching for answers.

Beth's story starts off with her getting kidnapped and follows her as she tries to keep her sanity and figure out a way to escape.

I really enjoyed this book from the get go. With the author making a note about serial killers and what they think sparked a surge into the seventies, it sets the book up with great background information. Not only that, but the beginning of the story immediately gets interesting with Beth being kidnapped within the first chapter! I found myself invested in the thought that a girl from a small town had the prospect of getting out and seeing the world torn from her. We slowly find out, though, that she is not going down without a fight!

Furthermore, Jess Lourey does a great job describing the feelings of what it can be like when you feel yourself growing apart from your best friends as you see your interests shifting. Heather's pain of wanting to stay close with her friends, but also noticing that they are more interested in boys and drugs and doing dangerous, irresponsible things brought me right back to highschool. As Heather finds out that she is unsure who she can trust amongst the locals she has known forever, people she thought were looking out for one another, she finds out just how strong she is.

Another cool aspect of this story is the ideas of the tunnels in Pantown connecting all the houses. I know the author mentions it is based on true events, but I was just so intrigued! I think as a kid it would be really cool! Also - who doesn't want to be able to have an underground tunnel to get to work and avoid the snow/rain! But the thought of having unmonitored connections with all the people in town raises the hairs on my neck! The Quarry Girls just goes to show you how little you may know your neighbor!

Overall I really enjoyed this book and I am excited to read more by Jess Lourey!

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Impossible to put down! Set in Minnesota, where I lived at one time, this story follows a group of teens and how they discover the dark side of growing up in the mid 1970’s
Thank you go NetGalley for an advanced copy of a book I’m sure to recommend to friends

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Wow what a ride!

This book was deep, sad, scary at times and thrilling at others but wow did this hit you in the thriller/ mystery feels.

Set just outside of St Cloud,MN this book talks about the hard things, what small towns can sometimes hide isn’t always the best of people and those close knit communities are not always what they seem.

Beth disappeared one day after work and the assumption was she ran away. Shortly after that Maureen disappeared and then Brenda disappeared. What is happening in this small town with its deep History?

Thrillers, suspense and crime used to be my favorite genre but after awhile it kept feeling like my favorite authors were regurgitating the same thing in different ways but this one, this one is so different and was written so well!

Go read

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Cheers to yet another fascinating and disturbing novel by Jess Lourey!! The Quarry Girls is based loosely off of true events, but reads like a true crime horror. This book is expertly written and will definitely take a toll on your emotions. Half the time, I was enraged; the other half, I just wanted to break down and cry. Once you start reading, you will not be able to stop!

'Men in packs do terrible things, things they wouldn't have the hate to do alone.'

It's the summer of 1977 in St. Cloud, Minnesota. There's a small community where brotherhood rules, girls/women know their place, unpleasantries are avoided and swept under the rug and secrets are forbidden to be told. Secrets born from the quarry and the underground tunnels that lie below Pantown. Young girls go missing. Innocence is lost. Horrible things can't be unseen. No adults can be trusted. Heather, our 15yo narrator, tells the story of that summer. A summer filled with despicable evil, fear, pain and loss. A summer where three teenage girls just wanted to play balls out rock in a garage and go to the weekend fair.

The male dominance in this book was sickening. This is a Man's World by the late, great Mr. James Brown kept playing on repeat throughout my mind while reading. Suffice to say, I am extremely happy with the ending of this novel. GIRL POWER all the way! Yes! This is a must read, so add it to your TBRs and preorder it now!

Thank you to the author, Thomas & Mercer and NetGalley for allowing me free access to this eARC!

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Great thriller. Never heard of the author but gave the story a try and really enjoyed it, the plot, characters, all of it. Highly recommend! Thank you NetGalley for this ARC

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An exhilarating and interesting story.
The Quarry Girls pulled me in from the very start, and did not let go until the final page.
This one is a thrill-a-minute and definitely had an action-packed conclusion.
A story that provides all of the twists, turns, and jaw-dropping revelations that we have come to expect from a Jess Lourey novel, and I devoured every word.
Her work is very well-crafted.
Lourey's writing is hypnotic and totally immersive. You forget where you are reading her work, and just become a part of her mesmerizing and horrifying world. It sucks you in and holds you there.
A total page-turner!

“I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”

Thomas & Mercer,
Thank You for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!
I will post my review to my platforms, blog, B&N and Waterstone closer to pub date.

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I can’t say enough about this fabulous book I LOVED it! I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed a book more. I wish I could give ten stars.

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I enjoyed reading this book. It had a good story to it. I liked the variety of characters in it. It was a well written book. I have read other books by this author and liked them too.

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★★★★★
The Quarry Girls by Jess Lourey

Welcome to Pantown, a close-knit community in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Originally built to house employees of the Pon Motor Company, this neighborhood was created with an underground tunnel system connecting the homes to the factory - providing an easy commute during Minnesota’s infamous winters. After the closure of the car company, the tunnels continue on to be a unique playground for the neighborhood kids.

It’s 1977, and Pantown takes a major hit when teenaged girls start to go missing. Heather, the story’s protagonist, witnesses something dark in the tunnels one night - could there be a connection to the girls?

This book is a page-turner of a thrill ride. The author manages to make a story narrated by a teenager not seem like a juvenile YA novel, with the perfect (and rare) combination of plot and character development. I could not put this story down, and cannot recommend it enough for lovers of thrillers.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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Summer of 1977 - Saint Cloud, Minnesota

This story follows a group of teen girls Heather, Brenda Maureen who live in a small town that has tunnels beneath their homes. The children are encouraged to play down in the tunnels because although it is dark, it’s safe ... or is it?

In Pantown everyone knows everyone & secrets are always kept.
________________________________________________________

I loved this story so much although I felt like I was on an emotional roller coaster! This book isn’t a fluffy thriller. It’s disturbing, gut wrenching & real. It definitely hits you in the feels with great impact. Jess did a phenomenal job with the characters and their development throughout the story —for those that grew & declined.

Although I was born in the late 80s this book transported me to into the 70s with all its great elements — Garage Band, Lava lamps, Sanka Coffee, Kool Cigarettes, Tiger Magazine, Zayre Shoppers City & so much more!

This was a fast paced & captivating read! DEFINITELY RECOMMEND!!

TW: child abuse/neglect, kidnapping, gaslighting , & sexual abuse.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC to read in exchange for an honest review!

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Bravo, bravo, bravo Jess Lourey!

The summer of '77 would change the course of Heather's life as she knows it. What starts as humid nights in a garage playing in an all-girl band with her two best friends, Maureen and Brenda, ends in lessons learned and heartache. Maureen and Brenda are keeping secrets from Heather, but she's not sure if she wants to know what they are... especially if they include boys and parties. However, Heather finds herself deep in those secrets after a night of hide-and-seek opens doors she wishes it didn't.

I was so excited when I saw this book pop up that I jumped up and down. Jess Lourey knows small-town secrets and it shows. As I read this book, I found myself feeling like a teenager again, running around with my friends and just trying to figure life out. I could almost feel the heat of a Minnesota summer, smell the fire burning down at the quarries, and feel the fear coming out of the pages of the book. I loved it because it kept me on my toes. I wanted to know what was going to happen next and to who and who was involved! Then when I found out, I was shocked and surprised and felt all of the disappointment Heather did. If you like small-town secrets then I guarantee you will like this book.

Thank you to NetGalley, Jess Lourey, and Thomas & Mercer for allowing me to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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In Minnesota 1977 a girls gone missing. Heather and Brenda witness something horrifying in the tunnels under their houses and then another girl goes missing but the authorities are reluctant to investigate. Heather wonders if what they saw is linked to the disappearances. As she begins to dig she begins to fear for her own safety as she knows she's next.

This was so good just as good as Jess loureys other thrillers. This is not for the faint hearted with so much horrible stuff happening in such a small place and everyone being brought up to just brush everything under the carpet and forget about it. The fact that everyone grew up with each other and yet no one was who they seemed to be. This kept me gripped and I didn't want to put it down. Every few chapters there were new twists and turns and though I figured some of them out it didn't make the story any less exciting.

I am glad by the end they've decided to change things for the younger generation making it so their voices are heard rather than ignored.

I recommend this to everyone though this was a highly anticipated read of the year for me and I will always pick up these thrillers.

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It’s been awhile since I’ve read a book in less than 24 hours. Set in the 70’s in a Minnesota town with tunnels under the city, where secrets are kept secret, and quarry parties and the county fair are the “it” thing. This story follows Brenda, Heather, and Maureen, and while things seem innocent at first, you quickly realize that these girls are a part of something sinister. Haunting and disturbing, but written in a way that keeps you turning the pages for answers. (Which you get, there were no loose ends.) A lovely little (okay, holy plot twist) towards the end. Definitely recommend to people who enjoyed Bloodline by her, because this story is even better.

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Another heartbreaking story inspired by true events; The Quarry Girls is one book that you won’t soon forget. It’s Minnesota in the late 1970s and a young waitress about to leave for college has disappeared. The local police believe she may have simply left town earlier than planned in a hurry to get to the big city. When another teenage girl soon goes missing, law enforcement dismisses her as a runaway, prone to being a troublemaker. Seeing a pattern here? The story is narrated by Heather, who is close friends and bandmates with the ‘runaway’ Maureen. She may be a bit wild and fierce, but Heather knows Maureen wouldn’t just take off without letting her best friends know. And her friends are already very worried about her, due to something they recently witnessed.

There are tunnels connecting all the basements in their town, long abandoned from their original purpose (commuting to the local factory in bad weather) and left as un underground play area for the local children. One night Heather and her friends accidentally open a door to a stranger’s basement and see something they really wish they hadn’t. Now they think her disappearance could be connected to those people in the basement, but they promised never to tell anyone about it, for fear of Maureen’s reputation. The danger keeps growing as Heather’s father, the district attorney, warns her about a predatory man that’s arrived in town. Heather does her best to stay away from him, but what she doesn’t realize is that danger has been present the entire time.

The Quarry Girls is not an easy read, but it’s an important one. Current events have highlighted the continuing propensity to blame victims and the failure to act until it’s too late. We may have come a long way in 50 years, but that’s not enough. No one should feel unsafe in their own community, in danger from the very people who are supposed to protect them.

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