Where Echoes Die
by Courtney Gould
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Pub Date 20 Jun 2023 | Archive Date 04 Jul 2023
St. Martin's Press, Wednesday Books
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 readers 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.
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Average rating from 254 members
What a cool book! Courtney Gould has certainly done it again with this novel! Where Echoes Die is a unique, queer novel with mixed elements of horror, thriller, and sci-fi. I definitely got some Don't Worry Darling vibes but if DWD had been queer and with more of a sci-fi twist to it, which was fun to read. Beck and Avery's attraction to each other was gorgeously done and feels realistic. How many straight pairings have I sat through where they were like, "I don't know why I'm drawn to you...but I am *dramatic smolder*" and people act like it's the second coming of literary romantic Christ? Too many. Beck and Avery are the perfect queer girl balance to that, and I loved it!
I don't want to say much more about this book because the plot twist is so worth it to uncover on your own. But I highly recommend this book, and even though I was sold on Courtney Gould's work after reading D&tD, she has become, without a doubt, a must read author for me!
Thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Where Echoes Die by Courtney Gould is an atmospheric YA mystery and thriller that you won't be able to forget. The story revolves around Beck, who is traveling with her younger sister to Backravel, a mysterious town in Arizona. Their mother, an investigative reporter, sent them a letter after her death that says "Come and find me." But after they arrive, they encounter mystery after mystery. Will they be able to find out what happened to their mother?
Here is an atmospheric excerpt from the opening chapter:
"In Arizona, on the road between nowhere and somewhere, there is a moment where sunrise and sunset look the same.
Or maybe Beck's been driving too long. She's got that twitch in her calves, the kind that scuttles through her legs and begs her to get moving beyond the shift of her foot from the gas pedal to the brakes. She holds a hand up to block the light from her eyes, palm facing the sun, and she feels the last heat of the day die behind the jagged horizon.
Roads in the Southwest aren't like the roads back in Washington, all tunneled with trees so thick you can't see the sky. There's no deer crossing signs, no falling rock warnings - actually, Beck can't think of the last sign she saw on this highway. Deep in the desert, the road is like a weathered conveyor belt, rolling the car through an unchanging backdrop of red dirt and sky."
Overall, Where Echoes Die is a wonderful YA thriller that will appeal to fans of Twin Peaks or the webtoon Stagtown. One highlight of this book is the LGBT representation, which is sorely needed in the YA thriller genre. Another highlight of this book is the eerie atmosphere. The author is a master in establishing the mysterious setting of Backravel. I definitely won't forget this book for some time. I enjoyed it that much. If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you're a fan of YA thrillers in general, I highly recommend that you check out this book when it comes in June!
i adored courtney gould's debut the dead and the dark, one of the surprises of the year, and I'm very glad to report how much i also enjoyed where echoes die. gould has such a great way of creating atmosphere
Setting: Arizona, USA
Rep: lesbian MC (describes herself on page as a lesbian); sapphic LI
I already knew I was going to love every word Courtney Gould wrote after I read The Dead and the Dark, and this solidifies it. She's a phenomenal writer. The best sense of atmosphere and eeriness I've ever read. An absolute stunner of a book.
This was a great read! Very suspenseful, with a creeping sense of unease and horror for the main character that translated really well for me as the reader. I loved the themes around grief and moving on versus trying to live in the past.
This book was everything. The character development was bomb. The plot chefs kiss. I finished this book and I wanted more.
I would rate this a million stars if I could.
This book has effected me in a way that MAYBE 2 or 3 other books have in my entire life. Starting off I thought it was just going to be a spooky action packed thriller, I had no idea that I was about to dive deep into the realm of grief and human connection.
Beck struggles turned out to mirror a lot of the deeply seeded ones I've struggled with without knowing it. The storyline in itself was so involved and mysterious that I never want to set it down. And when I did my thoughts were consumed by what I had just read and what I thought would happen next. Gould did a masterful job of stretching reality just enough to keep it fun, but didn't push to far to make the reader scoff in the unrealistic-ness of it like a lot of other Sci-Fi books do.
I really fell in love with these characters, but especially Beck, Ellery and Avery. I've cried only once in my entire life from reading a book, and today it increased to 2. The entire scene where Beck gets to talk to Ellery again on the river, and her progression of realizing what she has to do (get to shore) and what that means for her and her mother was so incredibly heart wrenching and so filled with love between a mother and daughter. I cried real tears both during and after I finished that chapter and I know that it'll stick with me for a long time. And the symbolism of the glasses screw that popped up every now and again was such a smart Easter egg.
The Dead and the Dark was one of my most anticipated releases of 2021, and I ended up really enjoying it . So, when I was contacted to read this, I was over the moon! Gould manages to intertwine themes of grief and mental illness (like PTSD) so effortlessly throughout her novel, but without letting it absolutely take over the story itself. It's terrific. This story is yet another sapphic masterclass in sisterhood, creepy strange towns and the way grief colors everyday life and experiences. I loved the characters and their development, I loved the way the setting was realized and I love the way the themes were handled. Another homerun from this amazing author, I can't wait for even more from Gould going forward. I highly recommend this and I cannot wait to get my hands on the physical copies for my library!
Courtney Gould has written another sapphic masterpiece, about strange towns, sisterhood, and the relentless hold of grief. Wandering the backroads south to Arizona, Gould draws us into the mind of Beck Birsching, a grieving young girl trying to piece together the legacy of her deceased mother while struggling to keep herself together. Where Echoes Die breaches the past to prove the longevity of grief upon generations, and the universal struggle of the human experience. Courtney Gould continues to amaze me and I'll be reading any and everything she does next!
My full review will be up on my blog shortly and will be linked here upon post
Courtney Gould has an incredible talent for creating stories that feel claustrophobic and insular. Where Echoes Die is no exception. Her grasp of writing about oppressive small towns is unmatched. I just loved this book. It was spooky, mysterious, and exactly the type of book I love. It you’re a fan of Stephen King, Courtney Gould is the YA author for you!
Just phenomenal. Great queer representation, wonderful writing, a creepy, twisty story. In my opinion, this was even better than Gould's previous book. I'll recommend this to everyone upon its release.
i’ve been anticipating this book since i read and loved the dead and the dark a couple years ago, and it was everything i wanted it to be. i love courtney goulds’ writing so much, and i was so easily drawn into this world. it was creepy and unsettling and the build was absolutely perfect. i loved the exploration of grief, from so many sides, i thought it was really well done. i just loved it so much!
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