Cover Image: The Cherished

The Cherished

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Member Reviews

I am sorry for the inconvenience but I don’t have the time to read this anymore and have lost interest in the concept. I believe that it would benefit your book more if I did not skim your book and write a rushed review. Again, I am sorry for the inconvenience.

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At some point, you think I'd learn to stop judging books by their covers! I wanted this to be a creepy thriller with some horror elements, but I was a little less invested in the mythology and fantasy aspects. The build to the end was slow which should have built suspense but didn't? I struggled with the characterization a little and some of the stigmatization around mental illness.

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I liked the premise, the setting, and the dual timeline of the novel. I didn’t like the ending of the book…not a satisfying conclusion.

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Musings:

I enjoyed my time reading ‘The Cherished’ it was a book that I related to in a way having grown up with a grandmother that treated me similar to some of the ways the mom in this book treats Jo. This book reminded me more of Bridge to Terabithia more than anything remotely close to midsommar or any of Rory Powers books.

I also wouldn’t call this book horror most of the time it more has sprinkles of it. This book isn’t really terrifying in any way. This book would be better described as an urban fantasy set in a rural town where children are disappearing and Jo has to figure out and accept that she is the one that needs to stop it. I believe some of the ratings on the lower side are due to this book being marketed as something that it’s not.

A movie like Midsommar and the books written by Rory Power are in their own category of horror and this book just isn’t remotely that. This book doesn’t have the detailed atmosphere mixed with extreme body horror elements that that movie and those books have.

What The Cherished does well is provide complex difficult relationships between characters and explores the internal struggles with Jo as she discovers that she is being given a huge and difficult responsibility she never thought she’d have. If the marketing focused itself on that aspect of this novel I think readers would have felt that it was represented better and not have unrealistic expectations of what this story contains.

I really liked the book and I was entertained by it the whole way through. It is well worth the time so long as you have the correct expectations of it going into it. It’s a fun thrilling novel.

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I had put "The Cherished" towards the bottom of my to-be-read pile after seeing that it had received somewhat mixed reviews. I have to admit that I felt lukewarm at best about reading a run of the mill young adult thriller. I am happy to say, however, after finishing the novel, that "The Cherished" was a homerun. I'm not sure what was missing for other readers, but as a librarian that reads hundreds of middle grades and young adult novels each year I can say, without reservation, that "The Cherished" will be a smash hit for its target audience. The creeping, all-encompassing dread that Patricia Ward manages to build chapter after chapter, the way that she roped me in as a reader to suspend my disbelief in the imaginary, and honestly to be terrified by what might be going "bump" in the dark felt masterful.

Jo finds herself in the middle of an endless summer, wishing for any escape to provide her a respite from the suburban nightmare she finds herself living. A mother expecting a half-sibling that will be 17 years younger than she is with her staid and controlling stepfather, a Nana who won't ever let her forget that she doesn't fit the upper crust model she had dreamed of for her grandchildren, and a best friend who seems to already have one foot out the door. The letter from her father's mother, Gammy, comes as a surprise and a salvation as she discovers the old woman has left her a working farm in Vermont.

Her mother insists that she sell the property, but Jo becomes determined to see the farm in person. She hadn't been since a fateful trip over a decade ago that ended with her father being accused of custodial kidnapping.
Upon their arrival any dreams Jo may have had of a rural farm escape instantly disappear. The tenants that live on the land send chills up her spine, and the boarded up "Old House" emanates a chill that invades her nightmare and sends her backwards to hazy memories of that long ago visit. As Jo works to piece together the cryptic message left for her in her grandmother's will along with the stories her father used to tell her as a child, she's left to wonder, what if this place is one where the boundaries between worlds wears thin? And what if the stories she'd thought were bedtime tales for a little girl contain more truth than she'd ever imagined?

I will definitely be ordering copies of "The Cherished" for our collection. This is the perfect mid-winter book for teen readers looking for something spooky to occupy the long. dark nights. Perfect for those interested in the paranormal, and for those who enjoy their mystery with a side of horror, this will be a book I recommend again and again and one that I feel certain will be swapped around with the accompanying whisper "you won't BELIEVE..." Special thanks to NetGalley and to HarperTeen for providing an Advanced Reader's Copy of "The Cherished" in exchange for an unbiased review. I will be eagerly awaiting Ward's next effort!!

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Sixteen year old jo lives with her mum, whom she barely gets along with, and her step-dad, who she hates. So when she receives a letter informing her of her grandmother's death, she definitely doesn't expect to be mentioned in her will, let alone left the house and the land it sits on, all tied up with a list of mysterious demands. As soon as Jo and her mum step foot on the land, they are immediately overcome by its intensely creepy and sinister atmosphere. Slowly Jo's long repressed memories being to come back in fits and starts, and she begins to realise what her father long ago feared about this place, may just be true.

No matter how hard I tried I just really couldn't get on with this story. There are some really problematic representations throughout the story, especially towards mental health, and race, making it a very uncomfortable read at times, as well as some insensitive remarks about certain character's weights. The characters were unlikeable, and problematic, and overall quite insufferable, the only redeeming character was little Hattie.

Jo came across as incessantly whiny, complaining about pretty much everything, waiting for the day she can leave her mum and step-dad behind and begin her life anew. Jo is a very insensitive, rude and incredibly selfish young girl, only doing things if it serves her wants and needs, and when things don't go her way she becomes unbearably juvenile, and stand-offish with no regard for anyone else's feelings.

Abigail, Jo's mum is also very unlikeable, she's critical of everything and everyone, perpetually angry, and definitely doesn't understand mental health, or even make time to try to, and she doesn't communicate her feelings in a healthy or compassionate way, constantly judging and projecting her insecurities on to her daughter. I especially found her lack of care towards Jo's mental health, especially when returning to her grandmother's house with all her past trauma, really enraging and alarming, just expecting her to get on with it, and ignore all these intense and painful emotions bubbling below the surface.

I found that I got lost with deciphering who was who because they had basically no differing personalities, and their convictions wavered and changed so drastically it felt very chaotic and messy whenever they all interacted amongst each other.

The story itself was very descriptive so in that respect it's picturesque and vivid, but the creepy atmosphere and horror elements weren't executed that well, it didn't give me shivers or make me feel a sense of unease that the author was going for. The pacing was also quite slow, and the fairies and the battle really lacked the intensity and high stakes it should've incited. Overall, I just found it fell a little flat of what I was expecting, it wasn't thrilling and didn't really pack that emotional or horrifying punch I was expecting.

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Great atmosphere despite some pacing issues, with intriguing characters I wish had a bit more depth.

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This book had an INCREDIBLE premise and I genuinely wanted this to be my new favorite book. When I read the synopsis before requesting this NetGalley ARC I genuinely thought, OK this sounds perfect. Sadly, it was not perfect to me. I found parts of this book very insenstive and extremely hard to read. The pacing seemed choppy at times and it just wasn't for me. I could see the idea the author had, but the execution was just not it.

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I didn't enjoy this book. From the voice to the writing it was simply not for me. I also found the writing to be a bit rough. I was unfortunately unable to finish this book. Could not get into it and can't say I'd recommend it.

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Having read reviews, I was very sceptical going into this. Unfortunately, I have to say that I agree with all the negative reviews. There are a number of insensitive terms spread throughout the book, and I'm not sure that there is a single likeable character throughout. While I tried to enjoy the story, it was difficult to do with such an unlikeable and whiny narrator.

I wish this had been a better experience for me, particularly as I enjoyed Midsommar and this has been compared to the film. I can't honestly say I saw any comparison.

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This was requested when I first found out about NetGalley and I had requested so many ARCs that I could not get to all of them before they were archived. I really wanted to get to this one, as it seemed interesting. If I can find this somewhere for a reasonable price, I will try to get it! I am giving this book three stars, as I don't want to give it a good or bad rating, since I did not get to it and we have to leave a star rating.

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The Cherished was an interesting and quick read. I definitely got the horror vibes, but it was more in the range of creepy than just straight up horror.

The Cherished follows Jo after she receives a letter saying she has inherited her estranged grandmother’s house. The letter also gives Jo some very ominous directions as to what she’ll have to do once she takes over the house. Jo’s grammy doesn’t spell it all out, but essentially she explains that Jo has no choice but to take over the responsibility that comes with the house.

Jo’s mom and step dad want to sell the house, so Jo and her mom go to see what kind of shape the property is in. Once there they meet the strange residents of Laddston. Jo has been here before when she was little, but doesn’t remember too much about it. Everything just keeps getting stranger, as it seems Jo and her mom are the only ones in town that don’t know the secret of her family home.

I don’t want to spoil what’s really happening in the town, because it does a take a minute before you get to the big reveal. It is an interesting twist and really made this read that much more fun.

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"The Cherished" by Patricia Ward presents a horror thriller that weaves a tale of inheritance, mysterious instructions, and the unsettling discovery of family secrets. While the novel introduces intriguing elements and a sense of foreboding, it falls short of fully realizing its potential.

The premise of Jo inheriting her grandmother's house, land, and a letter with sinister instructions sets the stage for a suspenseful narrative. The eerie atmosphere and the odd tenants mentioned in the letter contribute to a sense of unease, creating a compelling backdrop for the unfolding mystery. Ward's writing skillfully builds tension, and the hints at a dark and decrepit presence in the old shack add an element of suspense.

Jo's exploration of the strange property and her growing belief in her father's past delusions introduce psychological elements that add complexity to the narrative. The gradual blurring of the line between reality and the supernatural keeps readers guessing about the true nature of the inherited legacy.

However, the novel struggles with pacing issues, with the suspenseful buildup occasionally giving way to moments of stagnation. Some elements of the plot feel underdeveloped, leaving certain threads of the story unresolved or lacking in clarity. The oddity of the tenants and the dark presence in the shack could have been explored more deeply to enhance the overall sense of dread.

While the atmosphere is effectively eerie, the characters, including Jo, could benefit from more depth and dimension. Jo's fears and uncertainties are palpable, but there is room for greater exploration of her internal struggles and the emotional toll of unraveling family secrets.

The conclusion of "The Cherished" is both satisfying and unsettling, leaving room for interpretation and lingering questions. Ward manages to create an ending that aligns with the mysterious tone of the narrative, offering a sense of closure while still maintaining an air of ambiguity.

In summary, "The Cherished" introduces a captivating premise and builds an eerie atmosphere, but it falls short in fully exploring certain aspects of the plot and developing its characters to their fullest potential. Despite its shortcomings, the novel manages to deliver a haunting and enigmatic experience for readers who enjoy atmospheric horror and psychological suspense.

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A super solid dark fae YA novel - for fans of Rory Power and Holly Black. I LOVED that the central relationship here was familial - there's so much to the mother/teenage daughter aspect that can be (and here is!) used to great faerie-effect. I loved the descriptions of landscape here and also the empowerment of our main character. A novel for younger readers that doesn't avoid showing teeth!

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Wasn't a fan, struggled to get through the book. I had such high hopes for it as well, but I just didn't gel with it.

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I was excited to read The Cherished since it's being marketed as being in the same vein as Midsommar, which is one of my absolute favorite films. However, this is another book where the premise felt too rushed and one without true character growth and enrichment. I couldn't stick with it because I didn't feel connected to the characters or the plot.

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I was expecting gothic, coming-of-age tale, but instead found myself disappointed by weak writing and a story that seemed to go nowhere. There were a number of culturally insensitive terms that surprised me. I don't thinkI would recommend this book to anyone.

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This sounded like such a good premise, but the dad and step mom are so horrible I can't stand to read about them. The layout is a solid use of tropes and the author makes them their own though.

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2.5 Stars

This really wasn't enjoyable. The main character came across as very whiny and childish. It was hard to connect with any of the characters. If I connected with any of them it was Hattie and even she wasn't a fully fledged out character. This story had potential but I just don't think it was written well enough to pull off the story. There were some racial and mental illness aspects in the book that were also not handled very well either.

I would not read a sequel for this or recommend it.

I received an eARC via the publisher and Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

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I put off this one for quite a bit. If I could sum this book into a few words it would be: fairies, family drama, teenage character.... I wish I liked this book more, but honestly it didn't start to get interested until maybe 60% into the book. The beginning to middle of the book was primarily family drama about Jo (main character) who was gifted her late grandmother's house even though they didn't stay in contact. Jo wants to keep the house, but what do you know her parents want her to sell it. Although, here's the catch... Nothing can happen to the house until Jo turns a proper age. So this conflict takes up more than half the book only it's told from a teenager perspective to add more sass and immaturity into the mix.

Jo and her mother visit the house to get it fixed up to put on the market. Jo's grandmother wants Jo to be the guardian and caretaker of another younger girl. Interesting right? Weird things start to happen once Jo and her mother arrive... Something gets opened, even though it's supposed to stay locked leaving Jo and her mother unsafe. Jo understands what is going on, only if she was to describe it to anyone else she would sound crazy.

What did I like? the author's inclusion of mental health (schizophrenia) and the fairy aspect even though they weren't really included into the story until the last 30% of the book. Another book where I didn't have any special interest with the main character and that deterred me from liking the book more. Would I recommend it? not really no

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