The New Neighbors by Simon Lelic

The New Neighbors

Simon Lelic

This fast-paced, atmospheric, and thoroughly satisfying thriller is the sort of book to take for a weekend getaway and pass on to the person in the lounge chair next to you, even as you're still thinking about that ending.

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The Girl Before meets The Couple Next Door in a Hitchcockian thriller about a couple who moves into their dream neighborhood only to discover nothing is as it seems...

The perfect couple. The perfect house. The perfect crime.

Londoners Jack and Syd found their dream home: lots of space, a great location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.

Everything is exactly what they hoped for when they move in--except Jack makes a disturbing discovery in the attic, and Syd begins to wonder about the girl next door. And they each keep the other in the dark.

A mistake.

Because someone has just been killed outside their back door, and now the police are watching them.

This is their chance to prove they're innocent--or to get away with murder.

Whose story do you believe?


Advance Galley Reviews

So the beginning of this book was kind of hard for me to get into but once the story started to form and the plot started rolling it gotten so much better for me. By half way into the story I was hooked in the story. There’s so good characters in this story and the plot was very well written. It’s a good thriller, I would recommend this novel.

Suspenseful, well plotted, and gripping.

London couple Jack and Syd have found the perfect home! A home they should not be able to afford. Shortly after moving in to the house strange things begin happening to the couple. After Syd befriends her neighbor, a teenage girl, her abusive father is found dead behind their house. What does this have to do with Syd's mysterious past? Does it have anything to do with the other strange happenings surrounding the couple and their new house? Overall I found the plot very interesting and it kept my guessing to the end. Told in altering perspectives between Syd and Jack. However I had a hard time getting in to the book because I did not find any of the main characters to be likeable.

The beginning of this one made it seem like this was going to be straight forward. I figured out most of it. There are so many thrillers now aiming to be the next most twisty trip. This one wasn't the best but it is not the worst one I've read.

The first half of this novel made me fear that it was going to be a straightforward version of another one of those books that are all too common -- it's as if someone has handed out a guide for "how to write a thriller" and novelists are sitting down and adhering to it rigidly. The use of alternating viewpoints seems to reinforce that, by hinting that since we're getting both Jack and Syd's perspectives, between these, we're getting a version of the truth. Or at least, we'd be able to figure out what IS the truth, even if both of them, fundamentally, are unreliable narrators. Not so fast. By the midpoint of the book, it's clear that the story isn't quite what anyone anticipated. Characters who hadn't previously featured in the narrative begin to edge their way onto center stage. The book you had begun the novel thinking you were reading -- a young couple trying to settle down in an unexpectedly inexpensive and slightly spooky house, with an obnoxious neighbor -- turns into something quite different. Have they been manipulated from the get-go? Sure, there are questions about plausibility, but those are always there in this kind of suspense novel, from "Gone Girl" onward. You have to suspend your credulity a fair amount to make this work. On the flip side, I found it to be a compelling read, and one that I couldn't put down. Definitely recommended to fans of the genre.

Jack and Syd, the two main characters at the heart of the story, made a great main couple. Their differences were noticeable but not insurmountable, creating a great vibe of drama. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much depth in character relationships. Across the board, the characters felt flat and shallow. Still, the mystery kept me reading. It is comparable to a Hitchcock story in its plot twists.

The writing style is very confusing. It switches back and forth and jumps around the timeline. It was hard to get into it at first, but I forced through. It turned out to be a very interesting and compelling story that gripped me. You thought you knew what had happened, but you didn’t really know until the end. The latter portion of the book was much better than the beginning.

I am so angry that I bothered to finish this book! I read reviews on another site, and they made it sound like something I would really enjoy. So despite the fact that I thought it was incredibly slow moving and boring, I really forced myself through it, waiting for some turning point or amazing conclusion. It never came. To me, the "twist"/ conclusion was not at all believable. Disappointed.

I made it through about 1/3 of the book before giving up. While I'm curious about the conclusion, this book was tough to read and I didn't really care about the characters. Bad combo! The writing style was all over the place, and there seemed to be a variety of plot lines that intersect at some point, I'm sure... but just were odd together at the beginning. Captivating premise though! I wonder if the audio would be more my style.

The writing style in the beginning is pretty tough to deal with. The first half is written journal style, with entries by both Jack and Syd. The first few chapters are all over the place, with each writer telling very different stories. They eventually do get to where they're telling kind of the same story. The second half is much easier to follow as it was written more in the present and follows the events of the journal. It's a far more cohesive story. There are plenty of twists in the second half that kept me interested. I'm glad I stuck out the tough first half. The second half was completely worth it.

I have mixed feelings about this book. Even though it took me a while to read, each time I picked it up I felt more and more intrigued to keep on reading. But as I read I had no idea where the story was headed. I thought the beginning of the story was too different from the end of the story. I thought I was reading a book about a mysterious house at the start. But then all of a sudden a man has been murdered and Jack is accused of killing him and I was left completely confused how the two halves of the story could possibly be connected. The flow of the story did not work. I also did not think that the relationship between Syd and her father was realistic. The backstory was very believable, but I did not think that her father coming after her after he was released on parole made a lot of sense. Even though I had issues with the story, I will say that I wanted to keep reading so I could find out how the book ended.

I couldn’t even force myself through Chapter 3. The writing style is not my cup of tea. The overall story was appealing, but this book is just not what I expected.

I loved the varied POV used in the book to tell the story, as a concept. I found it much harder to follow Jacks version of events but done really well I would enjoy the way this was done. I have a love hate relationship with this piece of work. While it felt nice to pick it up after I was about 8 chapters in, I wasn't married to it from the start. I am rather hot and cold with the books I read and they either grab me or I find it hard to read them. This book fell somewhere in the middle. Instead of hurrying through my day and waiting with anticipation to sit with my book at the end of the day I found myself picking it up when other agenda was not occupying my time. the characters were well rounded and felt out, but something felt missing from the plot, perhaps believeability. I thought of the story as more mystery than thriller. And the plot at times seemed to reach. The story was not a total loss however, as I did care to learn the truth and fate of the characters.

I just couldn't get into it. The beginning was really confusing as to what was going on, and I never really identified with the main characters. I stopped reading about a quarter of the way through the book.

3.5 stars Thank you to Penguin's First to Read and Berkley for a copy of this book. This book switches back and forth in narration between Jack and Sydney - a young couple just starting out in life. At the very beginning it is written as diary entries, which they believe will help them in the future to eliminate their involvement in the bizarre things that are happening. It is not long after finding the house of their dreams that unusual things begin to happen. It appears that Sydney's past is catching up with her - at the same time that she is becoming involved with little Elsie, an often abused child. This is the first Lelic book I have read. I seemed to settle into it fairly easily. As seems to be the norm right now, chapters were alternated between characters. There was something about this book that made me keep turning pages. I did not so much see it as 'thriller', as I did a mystery. But a mystery that surprised me in the end. I did have part of the conclusion figured out, but not totally. This book has a duplicate title 'The House'. Depending on which version of the book you look for - paperback, hard cover, ebook or kindle - The House or The New Neighbors - there are varying publication dates. Most of them are in April 2018, however some date back to November 2017. This Kindle edition was published April 10, 2018.

I found this book to be extremely gripping and addictive, however felt that the story was really missing something. The character development was good and I liked that it was told by different points of view. I found the relationship between Syd and Elsie to fall flat and this made it hard for me to buy into the conclusion. Thanks for the ARC, First to Read.

3/5 A couple move into the house of their dreams. Things seem perfect until a unnerving discovery is made in the attic... "What are ghosts anyway but the things that haunt us? Our shame, guilt, remorse, fear. Our secrets. Our pasts. All the things we've endured in our lives that we spend so much of our time trying to escape." This quote, given in the author's note, sums up the focus of this book. Although this book initially hooked me and had tense moments, it was too much of a slow burn for me. However, if you enjoy a mystery that slowly evolves while including a lot of character development, this will be right up your alley! #slowburn #suspense#thenewneighbors #bookstagram

I almost didn't read this book. The first few chapters were HORRIBLE. I don't like the way the book was set up but I eventually got used to it. The problem was the narrative was not always sequential. Jack had a real problem telling his story in order and it was just confusing. The amount of lying between Syd and Jack was appalling. For them to have a relationship at all at the end was absurd. I realize this is fiction but the story is so over the top that I just can't get my mind around it. However, once I got a few chapters in, the plot picked up and the reading was smoother. I never liked Syd but I don't need to like a main character to enjoy a book. Her actions make her a strong female lead but for me she never presented as a likable character. In all honesty I didn't see the ending coming. I love that in a book. I really thought I had the bad guy picked out only to find out I was way off the mark. It was a decent reading experience and I did enjoy the surprise ending. If the beginning had been better and Syd a better character, I would've liked it more. 4 stars.

I loved the style of writing used for this book. The back and forth between them as they told their story was entertaining. And the plot was very compelling. I didn't expect the ending to go the way it went. Thanks First to Read for my advance copy! I would recommend this book.

When I started this book, I thought it would be a ghost story. Although you have some haunted characters, this isn't quite a ghost story. It starts out with the couple writing their stories about what has happened since they moved into their new house. Jack starts out focusing on the house and the discoveries he has made since they arrived. Following his initial reaction to the house, Sydney talks about this girl she befriends named Elsie. This book is a close first person account about this couple's experience and at first it's as if you are privy to a private conversation and that is what makes this so unique. One really incredible piece about this book is how you piece together what's going on in this couple's life. I don't want to give anything away, but I will tell you that it's about how the past will catch up to the future. For any horror story or haunted house story fan, this book does remind us all - be wary of an old house with a great deal. I'm also a fan of good endings and will never give the ending away, but I was highly pleased with house this story ended too. The only troubling part is Sydney goes over some abuse she handled as a kid by her father and that was almost too vivid and cruel for me to read. I actually had to skip through that. I highly recommend this story and you will not regret reading it!

This book was very intriguing! I enjoyed it very much and at times couldn't put it down. The characters become real and you truly feel for them. I have really enjoyed hearing their story.

This book is addicting. It sucked me in from the first few pages. Very well written. It feels like someone is speaking to you and the speech patterns flow nicely. Did not see the ending coming.Will definitely read more from this author as she writes more.

I had so much trouble getting into this book! Going back and forth from Syd to Jack was a little too much. Not confusing but kind of annoying. BUT then something clicked and I couldn't put the book down. I ended up loving it and was so happy I stuck with it. I would absolutely recommend this book.

Jack and Syd purchase more than a dream when they move into their new home, they also wind up living a nightmare. When a body is found in the alley next door and they are suspects life begins to unravel but who is really guilty?

In general, I am not a fan of books where the point of view goes back and forth between characters for each chapter. But this book does it well and makes it cohesive and interesting. The writing is solid. This book was a bit slow for me in the beginning. It focused so much on the house and there was one scene at night which made me believe it would end up being a super natural thriller. All the evidence was pointing that way... they had gotten the house on the cheap, the contents of the house had been included, the mysterious previous owner... Then the book took a swift turn into a character's past and it ended up being about something totally different. I thought the pace of the book picked up at this point, and after the mother visited, I was able to predict the outcomes. Still enjoyable though, although I wish there had been a little more insight at the end to a supporting character's history and past. I did forget about the prologue, starting the book at the end, so I probably need to go back and read that. Final thoughts: I would not classify this as a thriller; I don't think the title fit the book (the first half of the book was largely about the house, the second half, the past). There was a neighbor component, but still... The author mentioned when he starts a book, he doesn't know how it will finish and I could tell that by the path of the book. I didn't get all of his "pop culture" references but I figured that was because I am not British. Even still, interesting story; I would read another book by this author.

The opening of this book is a confine back and forth between whatvseems to be a married couple. I just can’t get past the style. The prolog grabbed me and the next 4 chapters lost me. Did not finish.

I definitely enjoyed this book. The twists and turns had me on the edge of my seat. I didn't see the ending coming. I like how it switches from one point of view to another. Gives you a little more insight to what is going on.

The New Neighbors starts with a prologue that’s actually part of the ending. Honestly, by the time I reached the end, I’d forgotten that I’d already read that paragraph, so the intended impact really didn’t hit. Some authors may need this trope; Simon Lelic does not. The first chapter hooks you with the unnerving sentence: The police were outside again last night. The author swaps chapters between narrators Syd and Jack with ease. It's like listening to a couple telling their story at a dinner party – his side/her side, each focusing on the details they feel are most important and rebutting the details their significant other has given. Not only does Lelic do a great job giving each character a distinct voice, but he gives a legitimate reason for the back and forth as part of the narrative itself. The only flaw I can find in Lelic’s writing is an overabundance of pop culture references that don’t really add to the overall story other than saying, hey, I’m cool; I like these things that you like, too. The New Neighbors is a compact novel with a slow build to an intense conclusion. The first half, like a magician’s sleight of hand had me focusing on locations, characters and events I presumed to be far more significant than they really were. As a reader who was only mildly shocked by the twists of Gone Girl and Girl on a Train (having learned at a young age from both Agatha Christie and RL Stine that the least suspicious characters are really the most suspicious), I was intrigued and drawn along by the fact that I couldn’t fathom exactly where the book was going. At points I questioned if I really understood the central premise, and yet, I still never thought about walking away from this taught suspense. (See how I just threw in all those completely unnecessary pop culture references? Am I right?) The conclusion may not boast the same complexities as the rest of the novel, but the ending satisfies. And though this may be my first read by Simon Lelic, I doubt it will be the last.

Very impressive! I could not put this book down; I just had to find out what was going to happen next. The book begins with passages written from each of the two main character's perspectives. They're writing things down to explain this tense time in their lives. Can you trust that they're being honest? Do you even mind if they're lying?

Twists and turns that keep you guessing. I enjoy books with suspense and mystery. This book about a young couple trying to enjoy life together in their newly purchased home had me hooked right from the start. I couldn't stop thinking about the book and the characters. Just when you feel like the story is going to go in one direction, a new path reveals itself. I loved the twists and I must say I was surprised at the end...which is exactly what I love in a thriller. The characters are down to earth and you can really relate to their situations and circumstances. I found myself upset when Syd was upset and frustrated when Jack was running out of luck. Loved it!

Wow! I just finished Simon Lelic's novel The New Neighbors. This taut domestic thriller starts with a young happy couple purchasing a new home in London. A bit large for their pocketbook, they feel lucky that the mysterious owner has chosen them above all interested parties. The hitch is that the house comes completely stocked with all of the previous owners belongings -- some more gruesome than others. When things start going bump in the night Jack think its his paranoia but it becomes quickly apparent that the couple is haunted by something. Is it a dark secret from Syd's past? Are Jack's hands dirty? To what extent is the pair culpable of crime? Are they innocent victims and is so can they prove it in time? Typically, I rate mysteries based on whether I can solve it before the end. In this case I figured out the guilty party about 150 pages out but I found the ending so satisfying that I rather don't care. With that said a full 5 stars.

"The Girl Before meets The Couple Next Door". Since I had read the latter and was in the mood for a thriller, I thought it would be an interesting read. I was incorrect. This book was not a thriller at all in my opinion. It was more of a book or story that has an unreliable narrator, like most thrillers that I've read and a twist before or at the end. Other than that, I was not at all at the edge of my seat. In the beginning, we are introduced to the two narrators, Jack and Sydney ("Syd"), and the first two chapters are in your face and completely different from the Jack and Syd we grow to know. The first two chapters were filled with lots of swearing from Syd and they also interact with each other as if writing to one another. Then around the middle of the story, this completely changes and Syd no longer uses swearing as much and the two stories no longer link and are instead each of the characters' points of view. It was awkwardly done and not a good beginning. The next point is the direction the story is going in. In the beginning, we find something out about the house and I assumed this book would be a supernatural thriller. However, this piece of evidence or scene is put aside and we are instead led towards a different direction and I kind of found that disappointing. The sequence of events doesn't make much sense. We are introduced to characters out of nowhere and suddenly the obsession with this character or group of characters is obsessive and I didn't understand why this character was introduced if not to be used as a tool for the twist, in a way. The author does not cohesively go through the story in a clean fashion but instead, we read about some flashbacks and then back to present and other scenes which lead to the unreliable narrator portion. The reader has to decide what they believe and what they think is inside the character's head. It was all a jumble to read through. The ending left me needing more. I was not sure the twist was really a twist because after I read it I thought, "that was it?" And this twist led to a rather abrupt end. I don't mean to be mean to the author or anything I just want to know why this story seemed incomplete to me and there were a few points as mentioned above which made no sense or were just annoying to read through. For the overall story, I'd give it a 3/5 stars. Enjoyable at points, though dragging near the end.

A solid 3 stars. I didn't have too many issues with this book. The point of view does go back and forth between Syd and Jack. In the beginning it was a little chaotic and hard to get a grasp on the time frame, but it smoothed out the further you got into it. The other thing is that there is a tipping point in the book, once Syd sees a person all the pieces start coming together in your head and it becomes predictable. The story itself is great and the characters have a well written background. I appreciate the focus on mental and physical trauma in childhood and what effects it can have on you when you are older. I do hope that Elise gets professional help because Syd is not the best advice giver. The creepiness factor is there, not goosebumps level, but burn the house and run away level.

I absolutely loved this book! The writing style was quite unique and not something I think I ever seen before–all done in a journal-like format between the two main characters, writing to each other and telling the story from their viewpoint. Everything about this book was well written and described: the characters, the plot, even the setting. This is a must read for lovers of suspense novels!

I honestly really enjoyed this book! The writing style was very unique and not something I've ever seen in literature before. The story was gripping, and it kept you constantly on edge over what was going to happen next. It was a little confusing and hard to keep up with in the beginning, but maybe that is because I read it in small intervals and got a bit distracted at times. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good mystery/thriller !

Jack and Syd think they have found the perfect home. But after moving in the couple begin to keep secrets from one another. Jack discovers something in the attic and decides to keep Syd in the dark. Meanwhile Syd develops an interesting bond with a girl next door. When someone is murdered right outside their house, police keep their eyes on the couple. Can a relationship survive when you aren't quite sure if the person you love is capable of murder? This was such a fun read for me but I can definitely admit that the things I loved about the book might be what another reader dislikes. I really enjoyed the back and forth writings of the two main characters and how they communicated back and forth knowing the other would read what they wrote. Other than towards the end, I was never really quite sure which direction the story was headed which is why I could hardly put the book down and ended up finishing it within a day. All in all, a very enjoyable read. Thanks to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy! I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.

I enjoyed this book very much! The twists really made me enjoy it and I did not expect the ending. Very well written, I read this book rather fast since I was so into it!

Excellent, creepy story. Definitely kept me on my feet. Wasn't a huge fan of Syd, one of the main characters. I liked the surprise twist at the end of the novel. Overall, a solid quick read with interesting turns. I received this ARC copy through Penguin Random House's "First to Read" program.

I received an ebook ARC copy of this title through Penguin Random House's "First to Read" program and, in all honesty, I was very disappointed. I expected more of a thriller but instead found myself confused by the roundabout speak that was meant not to give too much away and by the predictability of the conclusion. At first, readers are led to believe that the main protagonists are living in a haunted house, but this is not the case. Instead, it all wraps up into a story that is implausible at best. While there were some interesting plot twists that popped up from time to time, the first third of the novel was much more intriguing than when readers actually discover what's happening as the story continues.

Holy crap! Holy Crap! HOLY CRAP! Pretty much how I read this book. I loved it. And I’m surprised I loved it. It took me almost 3 days to read Part 1. Not that I didn’t like it; I did. Just seemed like I could only get through 20 pages at a time. Enter part 2! Read it in a little over an hour! And guys! A HAPPY ENDING! Something that seems rare for thrillers lately. The story follows Sydney and Jack as they move into a new house. The house is creepy, but cool...we’ve all seen them. Jack is an endearing social worker. Sydney is a recovering drug addict who has dealt with a hell of a past. Together they are awesome. Unfortunately, some crazy stuff starts going on and they will soon need to reevaluate their relationship. I loved this book for a few reasons. 1: The twists. I’m a sucker for them. This one had 2 big ones! 2: Creepy houses. Not really a central part of the story, but still. Who doesn’t love them? 3: A couple going through shit, but still loves each other: YES! THIS! It’s real! 4: Subtle undertones of feminism: It’s there. And very apparent at the end. Read this book.

I loved this book! The first few chapters were a little strange, but once I got into it, I couldn’t stop reading. So it turned out to be a quick read. I liked the “twist” and didn’t see it coming. The only negative is I feel that the climax/conclusion happened all of a sudden, and then the book was over. But overall, I definitely enjoyed it! 4/5 stars

Description The Girl Before meets The Couple Next Door in a Hitchcockian thriller about a couple who moves into their dream neighborhood only to discover nothing is as it seems... My Thoughts I have read more than a few excellent psychological thrillers this year. Every book blurb that entices me to start a new book comes with my own personal inner warning alarm. Will this be the one that fails to grab me on the first page and not let go until the last? Or will this be the one to meet or exceed the high bar set by the last book I read? (Drum roll please) I loved this book. I am a no spoiler person and find that I have written and rejected several versions of my review of The New Neighbors because I realized I was giving something vital away and I won't do that. So I am going to try to convey what I felt without adding too much detail. The way the story began made me think this was going in a certain creepy direction and then subtly, very subtly there was a shift and the story headed another way. All I had done was blink so I checked that my tablet had not decided I should read another book with the same characters. Wasn't the tablet, it was the author's unique style of writing and it was so very well done. Multiple plot lines weave together seamlessly as Jack and Syd's story veers off in numerous directions until everything is revealed. Their perfect relationship has been built on a foundation of secrets, lies, and omissions and not unlike a house with structural defects, it may not withstand the forces that threaten them. Syd and Jack tell much of the story through the use of individual journal entries. They often view the same event quite differently which really helped develop my understanding of each character and their relationship. I liked their distinct voices, as Jack comes across as reserved and uptight, while Syd is more relaxed and down to earth. Lots of twists and turns, lots of secrets from the past and present and I spent lots of time furiously flipping pages. The first book I have read by Simon Lelic but it won't be my last. Thank you First to Read, Berkley and Simon Lelic for the digital ARC to read and review.

A fun thrill ride through justified paranoia and non-supernatural haunting, The New Neighbors are a woman haunted by an abusive father and her until-then normal relationship with her boyfriend. When a too-good-to-be-true house comes along, they jump on it, but are soon confronted by strange smells and noises, all-too-familiar decor, and neighbors in need of rescue/interference. Although some of the twists were a bit far-fetched, the alternating perspective, self-aware writing, and compelling characters and emotions made for a fun, quick read.

This was a weird read, full of perspective (and voice) shifts and an odd timeline - but I quite enjoyed it even though I usually prefer my stories to run a tad more linear than that implies... I think it's because I was so intrigued from the outset - there was a lot of "this is not a ghost story" and "I always thought it was something more..." teaser-language in the opening bits, and as they were written as diary entries and I couldn't exactly remember what the blurb had promised beyond a thriller with twists and turns, it really seemed like anything was possible for a hefty chunk of the book. Would it be paranormal? Psychosis? Gaslighting? A super-villain? Turns out there were elements of most of those, and the explanations - when they finally came - were teased out nicely, leaving my imagination running off on tangents of possibility until the final pages (literally). There were a lot of parts that were rough-reading - there's a seriously dark underbelly here, and it's tough to stomach. But the story was told in a frank, concise voice that made even those bits palatable (if still altogether disagreeable) and kept me engaged throughout. One thing I found confusing and unclear even after finishing was the title. I must admit I don't get it; in hindsight I found the title confusing and misdirecting. I suppose that may have been intentional, although I'm not sure why. Mostly I just found it an odd choice.

I received a complimentary copy for an honest review. Jack and Sydney tell their story through parallel diaries. I found it hard to follow in the beginning, the story just did not connect for me. As it progressed the mystery took off and became an interesting story. A smart mystery reader might catch the early clue to the mystery, I did not. The ending was a little contrived. All in all, a decent read.

This was a good domestic thriller, but didn't really have anything to distinguish itself from all the others on the market. I was hoping for a creepy neighbors thriller in the vein of The Magpies, but it wasn't anything like that. The plot was clever though, and kept my attention, but I never really connected with the characters. All in all, a solid book, but not a must-read.

The New Neighbors by Simon Lelic introduces us to Jack & Sydney a couple that are buying a home together. We see the process and the events that follow through linear but alternating POVs of both Jack & Syd. This books starts out with the feeling of a haunted house story, but then midway turns into a domestic suspense. We learn more about Jack & Syd, their relationship, and their relationships with family and neighbors in the second half of the book which leads the reader along to some assumptions about what happened. I'm not sure I completely bought the final reveals- the motivations yes. But the way the crime(s) were finally put together had me like 'hmmm' Still, this was entertaining and Lelic keeps the pace going throughout

Acclimating to a new home in a new neighborhood can take some time, but when events of your past seem to echo in your new home, as it does in Simon Lelic's The New Neighbors, life can take a chilling turn.  Jack and Syd have been looking for a place to live together for quite some time, so when they place an offer and surprisingly get the house they never dreamed they could, things seem to be going quite well - but that's just outward appearances. Syd had a rough childhood, with her father tormenting her, so when she sees a young girl in the neighborhood, Elsie, who appears to be suffering the same fate, she tries to figure out ways to help make Elsie's life better. While both Jack and Syd notice eerie things about their home, Jack finds the most disturbing things in the attic, which he decides to keep from Syd to prevent her from freaking out. When Elsie's father is murdered in the alleyway behind their house, there's plenty of evidence to suggest Jack did it, but does the story add up? As a psychological story with narrators whose reliability you may question, the pacing was swift as the story developed from its various pieces and was passed between Jack and Syd's perspectives to offer two sides to the same story. Presenting the first portion of the story as a document to be used as evidence is an interesting notion, but it does make me wonder how and why the latter portion of the story is meant to be presented as it doesn't appear to be part of this evidence that was provided to the police. While resolving itself rather quickly, the mystery of what exactly was going on fit together a little too neatly to be entirely believable as so many moving pieces had to be just right in order for everything to have gone according to plan(s). Overall, I'd give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Starting out I thought this was going to be a haunted house story. The narrators, a young couple, use the book as a sort of diary to each other, seemingly after some kind of fight or falling out, to try to explain their side of the story. They luck out, so it seems, into being the couple "chosen" to buy a house over several other couples that appear to have a lot more money and then things in this overly stuffed full of the previous owner things house start going bump in the night. It veers off course from there and turns into a thriller of sorts, involving a rather complex plot line and a somewhat unbelievable outcome of things having to have fallen exactly into place for them to have happened the way the did. I found it atmospheric and it had an element of "what's going to happen next" that kept me drawn in, in the end a quick, fun read.

What a fantastic read. The mystery was delicious and kept me guessing right up until the end. I loved the story told in back and forth narration and the ending was perfection.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a little slow to start, but once it picked up it really grabbed me. It invoked a lot of emotion- especially the cruelty to children. I had the ending figured out from the beginning, but it was still a good journey to see how it got there. It was entertaining, though I think the back and forth diary-style beginning might not have been necessary; though it did establish character backgrounds. Overall entertaining and I would recommend to a friend.

I really enjoyed this. It was a little slow going to start, but I actually really enjoyed the back and forth between the two narrators. It was very unique—I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like that in a mystery/thriller. While I pretty much guessed the twist at the ending, I still found it an enjoyable read.

This book definitely packed a punch. It grabbed me from the beginning and continued to twist the knife until the end. There were a few parts that I was able to guess what would happen but I didn't see the ending coming. Highly recommend.

I had to force myself to keep reading this one. The chapters in the beginning were very annoying - Syd and Jack arguing in a diary, with details of the plot dangled and forgotten about later. The book does get better later on after the diary stage is over; however, I still found it lacking and was really disappointed in this one.

This book was a fantastic mystery that I couldn’t put down. Plan to be gripped from the start, this book will not disappoint.

I honestly still do not know what to think about this book... It was interesting, it was unique, I just cannot figure out if it was good. I was entertained, I felt like maybe the end dragged out a bit and I felt like something was missing to make it excellent. I can not pinpoint my feelings though. I will have to sit a while longer on this... The first couple chapters were a bit jarring. It was a new to me writing style, diary entries written to each other. It got better as it went on, especially when you learn who it is for. This is definitely a slow build mystery and you need to stick all the way to the end to fully appreciate anything that happens with in the novel.

Jack and Syd narrate alternating chapters. It starts at fever pitch: they are struggling to explain to us whats happened, how everything has gone downhill so quickly and how they became involved. We gather the important information in snippets: they were surprised to win the bid on a house after several rejections around London and start clearing the junk left behind by the owner. An odd smell soon leads Jack to the attic for the first surprise in store for them. Soon after, Syd meets their young neighbor Elsie who she sort of takes under her wing because she sees a lot of her younger self in Elsie. Strange events soon spiral and Jack finds himself accused of the murder of Elsie's father. Though I guessed the "twist" half way through, this was a solid fast paced thriller.

I really enjoyed this book. I agree that the chapters alternately written by Syd and Jack were a bit clunky, especially when you find out who they're intended for. But if you stick with it, the story becomes very involving and masterfully executed by Simon Lelic. Syd and Jack buy their dream home at a great price and it seems like the perfect start to their life together. But strange things start to happen and their personal baggage adds to the stress on their relationship. Are there supernatural forces at play or something even more sinister and closer to home? Who can they trust, if anyone? In the afterword, Lelic mentions The Shining as one of his inspirations, and you can definitely see elements of that at work here. I don't want to give any spoilers, but if you like thrillers, this is the book for you. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. I'll definitely read more by Simon Lelic. Thank you to First to Read for providing me a complimentary copy of THE NEIGHBORS in exchange for my honest review.

I barely got past the first twenty pages. Syd and Jack arguing through a mutual diary was not what I was expecting, and got old very quickly. Important details were brought to the edge of the cliff, dangled...and forgotten. I don't like stories to toy with me, and jump around from plot line to plot line. And I really don't care knowing intimate details about characters' relationships without first being able to warm up to their personalities. Overall, I hate giving up on a book this early, but it was very disappointing.

Very clever story. I found myself at times scared, sad and then mad, all of which kept me turning pages needing to find out how it ends. Well done!

***Thank you to First to Read for providing me a complimentary copy of THE NEIGHBORS in exchange for my honest review.*** Jack and Syd are THE NEIGHBORS when they purchase a house neither wanted. The house holds secrets to both their past, but not really. Jack and Syd are the ones holding secrets. Simon Lelic’s new novel starts off with a bang and limps to the end with a whisper. At first, the format of Jack and Syd alternating chapters, telling their story of a bloody knife hooked me. I was impressed with Lelic’s different voices for each character; unfortunately after several chapters the voices became indistinguishable. I did enjoy Lelic’s writing style. Neither Syd nor Jack was completely sympathetic, although each had moments where I cared. I did not care about who stabbed the victim. The resolution felt both unrealistic and uninspired. In the end, I didn’t enjoy THE NEIGHBORS.

 


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