Book Review: The Return

THE RETURN | Rachel Harrison
03.24.2020 | Berkley
Rating: 4/5 stars


A group of friends has reunited after one of them returns from a mysterious two-year disappearance. Julie went missing, was believed dead, and then suddenly showed back up at her doorstep. She can’t remember anything that happened to her for the last two years. Elise believes she knows Julie better than anyone. She never gave up hope that Julie was out there somewhere. Now that Julie has returned, Elise can feel she isn’t the same person she was before. At first she thinks it’s because of whatever happened to Julie, but as the reunion progresses Elise wonders if it isn’t something more.


Can you imagine your best friend vanishing without a trace? Two years later you refuse to believe that she has died and then magically she returns. Only the returned version of your friend isn’t who you remember. Holy goosebumps, right?! 

I can’t imagine being in Elise’s shoes and dealing with Julie’s disappearance and then strange return. I absolutely loved that Harrison chose her to serve as our main character and lead us through this wild reunion weekend. Elise is an unreliable narrator that left me constantly trying to figure out what she was hiding. Her secrets led to a few questionable reactions, but they also served to create an amazing sense of dread and suspense. I could feel Elise’s unease pouring off the pages and it made THE RETURN an insanely bingeable read!


The setting for THE RETURN elevates the weirdness factor for this story. A hotel out in the middle of nowhere is one of those perfect horror story set-ups and Harrison works it to the fullest. The hotel felt confusing with it’s maze-like layout and definitely creepy with the over-the-top design aspects. I certainly never want to visit this fictional location!

The paranormal aspects to this story were so fun! I thought the story was headed in one direction and then ended up taking me somewhere else. These details of paranormal instances really worked for me and made the story extremely unique. I can see it not sitting well with some readers thinking that the story was meant to take the reader on a different path, but for me they were just what I wanted from this book.

The one thing I would have loved to see utilized in this book would be shorter chapters. While this book isn’t overly long at just over 300 pages, the chapters are quite lengthy. It made it a bit difficult to read here and there, but it also kept me reading much longer. Perhaps this is exactly what Harrison was going for! 

THE RETURN is perfect for anyone looking for a paranormal suspense story to keep them up at night!

This book is available to buy from: Amazon | Book Depository

Disclosure: What Jess Reads is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This in no way influences my opinion of the above book.

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