Cover Image: Where Echoes Die

Where Echoes Die

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews


<b>“A place like this is not a gift. Miracles aren’t just given. They have to be made. And they have consequences.”</b>

Beck and Riley’s mother was a journalist who recently died unexpectedly of a brain tumor. Beck receives a mysterious note in her mother’s handwriting after her death calling her to Backravel, the place their mother was obsessed with. Beck and Riley head to Backravel on “vacation” but really Beck is trying to uncover the mystery of Backravel that drew their mother in so intensely. 

An interesting, mind bending young adult sci-fi (with some LGBTQ characters sprinkled in!). This was enjoyable and fun to try to figure out the mystery of Backravel, and the time altering aspects are pretty cool.
Was this review helpful?
Woo hoo! I made it to Saturday! I had all kinds of plans for this page this week, but life got in the I will kick off the weekend with a review of a book that came out earlier this week, WHERE ECHOES DIE by @gayowyn . Thank you to the author, @netgalley and the publisher for the audio-ARC.

This coming of age mystery set in the fictional town of Backgravel, Arizona starts out with sisters Rebecca (Beck) and Riley arriving at this mysterious town that their recently deceased mother was obsessed with in life. Beck hopes that by visiting the town she can find a reason why her mother left them so many times to return to this community.

When they first arrive, the town folk seem genuinely welcoming until they start to realize that memory loss is a theme among the Backgravel residents. When she starts speaking to Ricky, the unofficial town leader about the "treatments" that he provides to residents she starts to realize there is much more to this town than beautiful desert backgrounds and tourism. When Ricky takes Riley for treatment and won't let Beck see her, Beck knows she is in a race to secure Riley's safety before it is too late.

I loved the flawed yet introspective character of Beck - always searching for more answers juxtaposed with her optimistic, hopeful and trusting sister Riley. The longing for quelling the painful and upsetting parts of life felt so human and the hubris that they could be quelled by ourselves without consequences even more so.

The narrator of this one did an excellent job of bringing these characters to life and injecting the appropriate fear, urgency and desperation of the characters.

This was my first Gould but I also have a copy of THE DEAD AND THE DARK that I definitely plan to read! I am a sucker for a good coming of age story and it seems that paired with a mystery is Gould's specialty. This one came out Tuesday so check your local bookstore for it today!


#bibliophile #bookstagram #booknerd #bookreview #netgalley #macmillanaudio #courtneygould #whereechoesdie #booksta #instabooks #bookish
Was this review helpful?
- thank you to netgalley and the publisher for an arc to review!

- Gould is an author i feel like i enjoy, but it takes me a bit to get into her books. there's nothing wrong with them, but Gould's style is something to get used to, but the topics explored make reading her writing more engaging, and i end up enjoying her books in the end. the casual sapphic rep was also nice to see, and i appreciate seeing queer rep be so casual and normalized, as it deserves to be.
Was this review helpful?
This book had its good parts. The mystery of Backravel was intriguing and it enjoyed traveling with Beck as she and her sister tried to figure out why their mother kept going there till she died. It had a good buildup but to me, the ending felt rushed and the big reveal was kind of a disappointment. It was a good book up till then though and I enjoyed reading it.
Was this review helpful?
I really loved the exploration of grief in this. The concept was soo unique and the whole novel had spooky vibes. I loved watching the relationship between Beck and Avery develop.
Was this review helpful?
Courtney Gould, takes us readers on a journey through grief, family, loss, and love... 

Beck and Riley, sisters, both trying to move forward after the loss of their mother but when they receive a note with a message asking them to "come find me" they set out on an adventure to uncover the truth behind their mothers death and what they get is a whole lot more than they had bargained for. 

I loved the bond between the two sisters, it was authentic and pulled on my heart strings. 

Two things that surprised me. I don't enjoy young adult books and I avoid paranormal books at all cost. However, this book was a hit with me. The writing style was so fluid that not once did I get bored or have the desire to put the book down. 

I would recommend this book to readers of all genre's. There are many different elements tied into this book to put together a story that will win over the hearts of many. 

Check out this teaser : 

Two sisters travel to an isolated Arizona town to investigate its connection to their mother’s death, but uncover more than they bargained for in this supernatural thriller from the author of The Dead and the Dark.

Beck Birsching has been adrift since the death of her mother, a brilliant but troubled investigative reporter. She can’t stop herself from slipping into memories of happier days, longing for a time when things were more normal. So when a mysterious letter in her mother’s handwriting arrives in the mail that reads Come and find me, pointing to the small town at the center of her last investigation, Beck hopes that it may hold the answers.

But when Beck and her sister Riley arrive in Backravel, Arizona, it’s clear that something’s off. There are no cars, no cemeteries, no churches. The town is a mix of dilapidated military structures and new, shiny buildings, all overseen by a gleaming treatment center high on a plateau. No one seems to remember when they got there, and when Beck digs deeper into the town’s enigmatic leader and his daughter, Avery, she begins to suspect that they know more than they’re letting on.

As Beck and her sister search for answers about their mother, she and Avery are increasingly drawn together, and their unexpected connection brings up emotions Beck has fought to keep buried. Beck is desperate to hold onto the way things used to be, but when she starts losing herself in Backravel—and its connection to her mother—she risks losing her way back out.

In Where Echoes Die, Courtney Gould draws listeners into a haunting desert town to explore grief, the weight of not letting go of the past, first love, and the bonds between sisters, mothers and daughters.
Was this review helpful?
While I've become a bit more selective about the YA titles I read (*cough* the hazards of not being a teenager anymore *cough*), Gould once again proves to be an automatic must-read author for me. I absolutely loved THE DEAD AND THE DARK, and had been eagerly awaiting her follow-up novel. WHERE ECHOES DIE does not disappoint.

Beck, the main character, is fantastically well-developed. After receiving a letter seemingly sent to her by her deceased mother, Beck and her younger sister Riley travel to Backravel, a town that their journalist mother was previously obsessed with and travelled to frequently. After this trip, the two sisters are meant to resume a normal life with their estranged father--and so, for Beck, this is the last chance to understand what drove her mother to Backravel time and time again. 

Gould does a phenomenal job teasing out Beck's grief from losing her mother, and the reverberations of that grief in every decision Beck makes--whether it's actually good or bad for herself and Riley. And I absolutely loved the unsettling atmosphere and creeping wrongness of Backravel; the cult-ish quality of the residents and their apparent leader, Ricky; and small glimpses of the supernatural and strange as Beck digs deeper into the town's origins. 

Overall, this is a well-written and well-paced slow-burn mystery, that fleshes out its key characters and has nuanced but engaging conversations about loss, grief, and forgiveness. A definite must-read.
Was this review helpful?
Slow start but glad I stuck with it.  Really picked up snd then I couldn't put it down. Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher I was able to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Where Echoes Die by Courtney Gould is the author’s second novel (The Dead and the Dark was the first and definitely one I recommend). A YA lgbt+ mystery/sci-fi story that follows sisters Beck and Riley. After the loss of her investigative reporter mother, Beck has been struggling so when she receives a letter saying “Come and find me” from her recently deceased mother pointing to the Arizona town she was last looking into Beck heads there with her sister hoping for something.
When she arrives to the town of Backravel she immediately notices something is off. There are no cars, cemeteries or churches. The only real thing of note is the giant treatment center that no one can quite explain what it is used for to treat. The more Beck looks into the town the more she’s drawn to the enigmatic leader of the town and especially his daughter Avery.
This was a story of grief and loss, the weight of not letting go and the relationships between daughters and mothers, as well as the relationship of sisters. It is a slower paced book but one I greatly enjoyed. I think I liked the authors first book a bit more but this book was still really good and one I’d recommend.
Was this review helpful?
Courtney Gould just knows how to write sapphic masterpieces. Incredible fantasy story that explores grief in beautiful ways.
Was this review helpful?
From Everett, Washington to Backravel, Arizona. . . it's a long detour. Especially when your destination is Texas.

Beck and her sister, Riley are on a roadtrip to hell. To add levels of complexity, they tell their father the detour is about a visiting a friend on the way to his house. He gives them wiggle room - as they are all in mourning for a mother who has died. But she's left behind a notes to a place she was obsessed with: Backravel, AZ. And then mail comes for Beck that changes everything about the trip to Texas - she's got to go Backravel.

This tale has spooky, smoky atmosphere throughout. People who are not quite themselves from time to time, in a trance, but shake themselves out of it, and can't remember all the things we keep as our most basic profile elements. It's a mystery Beck is determined to solve, because she is pretty sure it will have her mother's fate at the center of it.

A thoroughly engaging read!

*A sincere thank you to Courtney Gould, St. Martin's Press, and NetGalley for a free ARC to read and voluntarily review.*
Was this review helpful?
Where Echoes Die by Courtney Gould is a teen/young adult novel with mystery, grief, and a touch of the supernatural. Teens who enjoy heartfelt stories with believable characters will enjoy learning the secrets behind the strange Arizona town that attracted her deceased mother. The book seems to drag on for a little too long, but the character development and descriptions were lively reading.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for a digital Advance Readers Copy of this title.
Was this review helpful?
I started off reading this and was getting deja vu. The writing is good but the story didn’t grab me. It actually reminded me of another but that I didn’t like and I couldn’t shake off the feeling of their similarities. I did like the writing and flow so I will read another by the author.
Was this review helpful?
A beautifully written mystery + exploration of grief aimed at teens. It's so refreshing to read a YA book that's really well-written AND still aimed at teens (versus being aimed at teens + adults.) While adults can read this and enjoy it (I did), the perspectives are well-grounded in a teen mindset as they learn about grief and loss. Courtney's writing is a perfect blend of a straight-forward narrative with descriptive prose that had me gobbling down sentences. The pacing might feel meandering or repetitive to some, but it's all with purpose that serves the story and pays off as the mystery picks up.

While more of a slow burn, the mystery still unfolds in a well-paced way, introducing new clues and questions that easily keep readers flipping the pages. The adult characters, usually cardboard cut outs in YA novels, are well developed here, displaying both strengths and weaknesses that the teen characters are also aware of. The layering and characterization all comes to a head in an amazing and satisfying finale. 

Would highly recommend this to anyone looking for a book with:
- a nuanced and engaging story about grief and loss
- a slow-burn mystery
- investigative journalism
- small town, cult-like settings
- slow burn sapphic romance
Was this review helpful?
Really unique premise of 2 daughters visiting an Arizona town after the death of their mother. The mother was obsessed with the town and was constantly visiting and keeping notes with the goal of writing the town's story. But all is not as it would seem when the daughter visit before going to live with their dad. I enjoyed the premise.
Was this review helpful?
I haven't read Courtney Gould before, and I couldn't wait to see what Where Echoes Die had in store for me. I thought it was a pretty slow burn, especially for the length (almost 12 hours on audio and 337 pages), but Gould did a wonderful job making the setting of Backravel both creepy and atmospheric. Beck and Riley are the sisters at the heart of this book, but I thought it mostly focused on Beck grieving the death of her mother and trying to find answers in the town. Granted, I don't want to take anything away from the sister's relationship but that's more of what I got out of it personally. I enjoyed the addition of Beck with Avery (hello queer representation!), and I was surprised when I found out where the climax was leading.

The audiobook is quite good as well, and I really liked the way Isabella Star LaBlanc narrated the story. She was great as the voice of Beck, and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her. Where Echoes Die has some very unique twists along the way and paired with the eerie feeling, dash of romance, and the incorporation of some sci-fi/fantasy, it was able to keep me completely engaged. I started it at night one day and hung out with a friend the next, so I couldn't finish right away, and I am not lying when I say I was still thinking about it. This is a very distinctive and interesting read, but I would make sure to check triggers before approaching it. I will definitely be checking out Gould's debut now as well, and I think I might have just found myself a new auto-buy YA author.
Was this review helpful?
Backravel Arizona may seem like a town that time forgot. Instead, it is a town where the manipulation of time allows you to forget.  The town was founded on the remains of a military chemical weapons testing site. The town's founder figured out how to turn back time on an individual and temporary basis. Through a process known as unspooling, he can take a person back a few hours, days, weeks or even months. This is useful for dealing with trauma, as the person can potentially be taken back before the trauma occurred (if it was recent). However, the process has to continually be repeated, resulting in the patients/town residents essentially being stuck in time, reliving days (minus the past trauma). And the process is very disorienting, leaving the individual temporarily confused afterward as they try to reorient themselves. Rebecca (Beck) and Riley have come to Backravel to uncover its secrets (although Riley is not aware of the true purpose of the trip), as their mother, Ellery, a journalist, had been obsessed with the town, making numerous trips to the town and taking copious (but confusing) notes before succumbing to cancer.
Was this review helpful?
▪️ I am in the minority here, but I didn’t love this book.

▪️ I did enjoy the atmosphere of the book. The story and the location were quite strange and as a reader you really have no clear idea of what is going on, which gives the story an ethereal and unsettling vibe. I was all for that! However, it took way too long (IMO) to get to any kind of understanding of what was taking place. It wasn’t until the last two or three chapters before anything started making any sense. I like slow burns, but this one was too slow for me. I lost interest quite early on.

▪️ Sadly, once I did get to the reveal, I was disappointed. It just didn’t go in a direction that I connected with.

▪️ This book didn’t end up being my cup of tea, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be yours! I encourage you to read it if the synopsis intrigues you. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.  

Thank you @NetGalley and @stmartinspress for an eARC of this book, which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
Was this review helpful?
The plot was interesting; Beck was definitely in the midst of her grief about her mother, and she needed to find out why her mother was obsessed with this place. I liked the characters and the town of Backravel. The ending was good, and ultimately, I enjoyed this book. I would read more from this Author.
Was this review helpful?
I legitimately cannot tell which of Courtney Gould's books that I like more at this point. A master of setting and making interesting characters already for sure!
Was this review helpful?