Read The Returners by Gemma Malley Online

the-returners

London teenager Will Hodge is miserable. His mother is dead, his father's political leanings have grown radical, and his friends barely talk to him. To top it off, he's having nightmares about things like concentration camps. Then Will notices he's being followed by a group of people who claim to know him from another time in history. It turns out they are Returners, reincLondon teenager Will Hodge is miserable. His mother is dead, his father's political leanings have grown radical, and his friends barely talk to him. To top it off, he's having nightmares about things like concentration camps. Then Will notices he's being followed by a group of people who claim to know him from another time in history. It turns out they are Returners, reincarnated people who carry with them the memory of atrocities they have witnessed in the past. Will realizes that he, too, is a Returner. But something about his memories is different, and with dawning horror, Will suspects that he wasn't just a witness to the events, he was instrumental in making them happen. Set in the near future, with the world on the verge of a new wave of ethnic cleansing, Will must choose to confront the cruelty he's known in his past lives, or be doomed to repeat it......

Title : The Returners
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781599904436
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 256 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Returners Reviews

  • Michelle
    2019-01-21 18:09

    First stop on Sonia and Maree's Gemma Malley readalong roadtrip.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I have to be honest and confess I have been scared of writing this review. I am actually going to make a big call and say it is the hardest review for me to write so far in my (short) reviewing ‘career’. Why is it so hard to write? Because it is the most fantastic book. Don’t laugh. I can see you snickering. Stop. Seriously. Stop it. Let me try to explain:Firstly, I always find it harder to write glowing reviews of books where I loved every little thing than I do to write reviews for books I had issues with. Secondly, you really can’t write a review of this book without spoilers. On that note, I would recommend not reading the Goodreads synopsis for this book as it will pretty much ruin the first half of the book. Unless of course that doesn’t bother you, in which case be my guest. So, now to the review. “We are humanity’s conscience”I always knew I would enjoy this book. I loved The Declaration trilogy and I get mildly annoyed that more people haven’t read it because, honestly, it is a wonderful dystopian novel. I was surprised by how much I loved this book. I loved the whole mystery of the book. Strange people are following our hero around and they all have ‘weird’ eyes. The dreams. It was enthralling. And I love how it unfolded. I really grew to have a soft spot for our hero, Will. I love how Malley wrote him. He was gritty and real. He was frightened and unsure. And he was manipulated and confused. I felt every emotion through her writing. The whole premise is frighteningly plausible. The idea that the world is about to bear witness to another holocaust is a tough topic to think about. The fact that Malley sets this in 2016 around issues that are already discussed in politics now makes this book a whole lot more realistic than many of the dystopian fantasies I’ve read lately. It is also a large departure from the world of The Declaration. And the ending. Wow. That is pretty much as coherent as my thoughts on the ending get. Although I would like to read more about Will and what the overall outcome of the situation will be, I think the power of this book is the message it conveys. It would be nowhere near as powerful if some things weren’t left to the imagination. Now, to explain the message without spoiling it too much, I’m going to share some of my favourite quotes:“The dividing lines were not between people. They rarely are. They are between political stances, ideologies, beliefs.”“Humans may progress…They may think that they are moving forward because they have invented clever machines and because they can control the land and sea. But man’s capacity to inflict and endure pain is constant. Man’s desire for power, to beat down competition – it hasn’t changes in the slightest.”“Human nature is what it is. Driven by desire for material things, for love, for conquest, for knowledge. The best and worst come out of this desire.”I have decided to include a song which I think really suits this book. I’m choosing Imagine because Lennon’s words of wisdom are timeless. Malley proves this in the novel. As a side note I have to share this:On happiness – “It’s not like the pictures you see in adverts of people grinning manically, throwing children in the air and whooping just because they’ve bought some crappy washing powder or something”. Now I can’t speak for washing powder, but this is the actual happiness I feel when I get a package in the mail (especially if it’s a book)This review and many more can be found at Maree's Musings.

  • Katieb (MundieMoms)
    2018-12-31 18:29

    This is one of those books I picked up, not excepting to be completely lost in an amazing story, and yet I find I was hopelessly lost in the book. Returners was not what I was excepting at all. Gemma Malley wove together perfectly historical facts, with her amazing world of Returners. People who come back reincarnated over and over again. They serve a purpose, to remember the lives they have lived.Will Hodge is a character who has many layers and one I felt a range of emotions for. I felt bad for him, sympathized with him, wanted to hug him and tell him it would be alright, got really mad at him and yet towards the end, I really rallied behind him, hoping he would make the change he wanted to make. Will is a self-loathing teen boy, who's still coping with the death of this mother who was killed a few years ago. He is caught in the middle of his father's radical ways. Set in England, in the year 2016, Will finds that he's in the middle of a movement. Not only does he have to deal with an abusive, drunken father and not having any friends but, he's started to have very vivid disturbing dreams about parts of history other's would like to forget and he's being followed.Will witnesses something, that could change not only the accuser's life for good, but it's the center of a bigger radical movement that his father is part of. Will finds he's a key player. He's the only witness to what he thinks he saw. His father wants him to lie about it, and his old friend Claire wants him to tell the police what he saw. Will feels as though he's going crazy. The people that are following him won't leave him alone and he's having a hard time remembering things, except for flashes of memories from various points from history's past.When Will confronts the people who are following him, he finds he's a Returner, and they've been looking for him for 50 years. Returners have existed through out time, and come back again and again. They remember the worst things that humankind does to each other and are humanity's conscience. They are the protectors's of the insanity of humankind in times of distress. When Will is told he's destined to suffer, to remember these things (like he has done times before) and to feel the desperation and agony of humankind's choices, he chooses to believe he can change his destiny. It's not going to be as easy as he thinks. He finds out he's the cause of these horrible events. If he doesn't change the course of his destiny, he's going to be the cause of an even greater catastrophe.With the help of Claire, Will knows he can make the change, but when his father forces him into his extremist ways, Will finds his determination for change shattered. Will is running out of time to save his one time friend and accuser of a crime he may or not have committed. Telling the police what he saw is going to cost him, but it can also be part of the change Will is determined to make.Gemma brings to light, and has done so in a very tactful way, the horrible atrocities our world's history has played out over and over again. As a teenager, Will starts to remember being apart of that history. He caused some of it and other times he stood by, not wanting to be apart of it anymore. Her underlining message in the book is that we can all change. Will finds that standing up to his father, changing the course he's destined to repeat over and over again is going to be very hard, but can he do it? Will he make the change in time? Can one person's change alter the course of history?

  • El Templo
    2019-01-07 23:20

    "Hubo un tiempo en el que Will era un chico normal, alegre y divertido. Un tiempo en el que tenía amigos con los que disfrutaba de los días de sol sin ver en ellos razas o colores de piel, sin desamores. Pero ese tiempo quedó atrás cuando su madre, sin motivo aparente, se suicidó lanzándose a las frías aguas del río. Ahora Will se pasa la mayor parte del tiempo solo, en silencio e intentando asimilar la realidad que lo rodea con su sarcástica mirada; intentando comprender por qué hay personas que aparecen de la nada y lo observan como si lo conocieran. Hombres y mujeres extraños, con las miradas vacías y oscuras, que lo saludan o intentan entablar conversación con él, que lo persiguen de noche y de día y a quienes escucha gritar en sueños. Y entonces, un día, Will es testigo de un cruento asesinato perpetrado en mitad de la calle y en el que se ve involucrado su antiguo amigo de la infancia, Yan. Desde ese momento, además de lidiar con los “raros” que lo persiguen, y que cada vez se atreven a acercarse más a él, deberá dejar de lado su habitual hermetismo para elegir un bando dentro de la guerra política y de inmigración que se está produciendo, de manera cada vez más subversiva, a su alrededor. Sigue leyendo ---> http://www.eltemplodelasmilpuertas.com"

  • Rebecca Pates
    2019-01-17 21:12

    I was interested in reading this book purely because I loved Gemma Malley's dystopian series, The Declaration about what live could be like if we were dependent on drugs that made us live forever. It is such an interesting concept and was written so well that I felt sad when I finished the last book.So, of course, I want more Gemma Malley, so this book appealed to me, so I grabbed it in the library the other day when I saw it.Synopsis: London teenager Will Hodge is miserable. His mother is dead, his father's political leanings have grown radical, and his friends barely talk to him. To top it off, he's having nightmares about things like concentration camps. Then Will notices he's being followed by a group of people who claim to know him from another time in history. It turns out they are Returners, reincarnated people who carry with them the memory of atrocities they have witnessed in the past. Will realizes that he, too, is a Returner. But something about his memories is different, and with dawning horror, Will suspects that he wasn't just a witness to the events, he was instrumental in making them happen. Set in the near future, with the world on the verge of a new wave of ethnic cleansing, Will must choose to confront the cruelty he's known in his past lives, or be doomed to repeat it.Review: The whole idea of what the Returners are is interesting first of all and something that could be quite viable in reality, especially if they are unknown to anyone that isn't one themselves. After reading this book, I liked the idea of them, but I still don't understand the reason for them. Will constantly asks their purpose overall for history but they are always so vague and mysterious. They can never stop the suffering that happens, just live through it as an experience, which I understand so the suffering of those lives on but why have the Returners continuously?This book is also a political novel and tackles a lot of the social issues that have arisen in England since the recession. Does wealth overall everything fundamentally? Should those that are not English citizens actually be living here? What would happen if an extremist party did get into the government? All these questions are tackled and more and I know that any English person at least would relate to this novel and help understand these topics. There are some racy and taboo like comments said that make you blush throughout but this is all seen as a bad thing, which is the general opinion at the moment.The book is set in 2016, and nothing really has changed to now. Really, for the political side to the novel, it is showing what effect the recession has just under ten years on. All the things that happen to people in money troubles, happen to Will and it is quite hard hitting for him and the reader with the lengthy descriptions of the fights his parents had before his mother killed herself, both violent and just shouting. This is a book I would say is definitely just for people in their late teens from about 14.Will was an average character, he was really just a typical boy. I found him neither interesting nor annoying. Although, I found his constant admiration for Clare rather irritating and felt like shouting 'We know you like her!' The characters of the Returners that you met start off rather creepy and scary and I didn't blame Will not wanting to join them. However, they open up and we see the life of a Returner through the grandfather-like Douglas and teenage Emily. Now, I liked Douglas although he was way too philosophical at times. But Emily. To start, she seemed to have hinted to have had a relationship with Will's past self. But nothing ever came out, I have no idea if it was true or not, although I doubt there was something. I liked the way it was written. There was never a point where the action and tension dipped, you always want to know who, what, why, how. Although the continuous use of short sentences could be annoying, I liked it. It made it much more interesting and different to read to me. I liked also how Gemma Malley hasn't given everything away at the beginning and made it so what you think will happen halfway through takes a completely different direction by the end. It's definitely not a book to read to relax and feel good about yourself but it is worth a read for those that like dystopian fiction. It's not as good and well-rounded as her previous trilogy but for those that are new to Gemma Malley or new to the dystopian genre, it's a good read and enjoyable despite the number of spelling mistakes I found while reading (hewas, just to name a few), one slight pet hate of mine and I'm sure others.This is a worth while read for those that haven't heard of Gemma Malley before or are new to the dystopian genre but I would read this and then continue straight on to The Declaration series. The idea is a good and rather puzzling interesting one, I'm just not sure if it was executed in the right way yet.Verdict: Worth a look but not as good as The Declaration by far. However, Gemma Malley does give some interesting things to think about which I think shall stay with me for a while now. I shall leave you with one of them:'"But nothing Douglas. Everyone has a choice. Everyone. All the time. You can walk through a door or decide not to. You can let your past dictate your future or you can throw two fingers up at it and walk away."'I give it a 3.5 out of 5

  • Becky
    2019-01-03 00:26

    The Returners is a dark and twisted story of a not too distant future. Will is an insular character who has spent years trying to shut out his emotions. The book begins with him sitting by a lake watching the ducks and remembering his mother’s suicide. The Returners has two strands running through it. Firstly there is Will and his troubled past. He is struggling with his life, his toxic relationship with his father, his anger at the loss of his mother and his own self-imposed loneliness. Then there is the society in which Will lives. Britain in 2016 is an angry place. Malley explores what might happen if the recession goes so deep that we enter economic depression and the conflict that this ignites in people as they look for someone to blame for their suffering.The questions and social conflicts that Malley explores in The Returners are ones that I often find myself thinking about. What gives us a right over territorial boundaries? Who says I’m entitled to more opportunities, wealth and prospects just because I was born in a certain place? How can we show our angry unemployed workforce that immigration is a positive force for our country? And does our country really belong to us anyway? I loved that The Returners probed some of these political issues without ever feeling like I was having a lesson in politics. Back to the character of Will and how he ties these themes into a story which also explores the notion of reincarnation. Will has dark and torturous dreams. Ever since Will can he remember, he has been seeing people that have a vague familiarity. He calls them freaks. The people who seem to recognise him and that he recognises but yet doesn’t know at all. Will seems psychologically traumatised by his past but he doesn’t open up and discuss the paranoia that troubles him. He keeps it locked up tight inside.The two parts of this story weave together in a twisting tale of violence and corruption. The Returners is certainly not a feel good read. It is almost a study of inner darkness. Yet it is an important book. It doesn’t skirt around the important issues of our time. It is contemporary, brave and compelling. This book is for readers who like their reading gritty and challenging.

  • Charon Lloyd-Roberts
    2018-12-21 19:33

    You know what sucks the first half of this book is great and then it kind of took a nose-dive and I lost interest and no longer cared for the characters which sucked, yeah this isn't the first Gemma Malley book I've read and this book sounded so good but I was a little disappointed with this book as it had so much potential for being a great book. But it was way too short and it was rushed.A summery for The Returners:Will Hodge is being followed by people who insist they know him, though he does not remember them, and his terrifying dreams have begun spilling over from night-time into day. He is also a witness in a murder trial and is coping with the death of his mother. Life couldn't get much more difficult. Or could it?Slowly, Will discovers that his past is not all that he thought it was, and the people following him aren't really strangers. They are Returners, and they have an important message about some truths Will has forgotten - terrible truths he may wish he had never known... I will continue to buy Gemma Malley's books but yeah I did feel a little let by this book which is sad really.

  • Ειρήνη
    2019-01-05 16:34

    My goodness! It took me forever to finish this book.I really can't say that I found it intriguing or interesting enough.

  • Stine
    2019-01-18 19:21

    I forced myself to read the first three chapters and I couldn't even bring myself to finish the book. I've tried a couple of times, but it just didn't keep me interested.

  • Silver Thistle {adores JAFF & TEOTWAWKI.Oh, and accronyms :P}
    2019-01-17 17:28

    Four stars because the writing is great and I couldn't stop until I got to the end...but if I was rating just the 'story' then I'd only give it 3 stars.

  • Vanesa
    2019-01-10 21:23

    Another fantastic story by Gemma Malley!! Great plot and the characters were just wonderful!! Very twisting plot and full of surprises especially at the end!

  • Eleanor Luhar
    2019-01-07 16:09

    I have a vague recollection of reading this some time in the past which is kind of ironic considering the topic of the book itself. While I felt a repeated deja vu throughout this book, I can't seem to remember when I actually would have read it before. I also couldn't remember much of the main plot, which is pretty weird.Anyway, the review.It's a good book. honestly, the opening paragraph of this review sums the book up quite well - it's good, but not overly memorable. When you read it, you often think, "this is good" or "cool" or whatever, but a few months later you'll forget all about it. At least, that's how I felt.Gemma Malley is an author I used to love when I was in my preteens, and I'm not sure if that's why her books feel very adolescent to me, or if it's because they actually are. Basically, I feel too old for them now. The protagonists are usually "cool" mid-teens, who the reader is supposed to look up to in some way. But I'm older than most characters and actually find their attitudes a bit pathetic and petty.The story was good but I felt like there were a few loopholes, honestly. The idea of the "Returners" is interesting but not developed enough - who actually 'controls' them? Where did they come from? What is their real purpose? I felt like their purpose was a bit wishy-washy. Douglas's refusal to change his attitude because it "isn't their role" or whatever just sounded a bit... lame. Like a cop-out, I guess. I really would've liked to know more about the Returners and why they actually exist.It's only short and this may contribute to it feeling quite young, but it is well written and really enjoyable to read. Will is almost an anti-hero, and as the reader I both loved and hated him. His thoughts and attitudes were quite sporadic and it was sometimes hard to keep up, but that may have been the intention. I did like how we learned things at the same time as Will - we followed him through his own story. It was also really interesting how Will decided to handle the life he'd been forced into.4 stars.

  • Lilian
    2018-12-31 22:24

    Very complicated ending with who actually killed Will's mother, also, why did he forget what happened?

  • Canadian Reader
    2018-12-25 16:20

    Ms. Malley deserves credit for tackling such a big question as the problem of evil and suffering--humankind's proclivity to intolerance and genocide. Will, the central character, discovers he is a Returner, a soul who returns to earth again and again, apparently to witness and absorb human suffering. There is a twist, though. Some Returners are the perpetrators in the almost ritualistic evil that seems to have plagued human civilization from time immemorial. Will's struggle is to decide whether he will put a stop to this cycle. The premise of the book is interesting, even provocative, but there is something unsatisfying in the execution. In the end, Will rejects his "destiny" as a perpetrator of the next holocaust and opts for exercising free will. But if such events are part of the human condition, won't another Returner simply assume the necessary role of perpetrator? One wonders what larger purpose Returners really serve, who or what sent them, and what larger force determines destiny. If Returners are both victims and perpetrators of grand scale genocides, of what moral substance are normal non-Returner humans made? What role do they have in mass violations of human rights and human dignity? In creating these beings, questions are raised but unsatisfactorily explored. An interesting book, but not fully satisfying. Recommended for ages 14 and up. There is some "mature" language and content. (Will's father in the book suspects his wife of having an affair with one of the hated "foreigners" who have hijacked Britain.)

  • Saskia
    2019-01-15 20:22

    ’The Returner’s', the second book of Gemma Malley’s that I have read, was an interesting idea that I have never before heard of. Though the pace of the book was slow-moving (even for a book of only 257 pages), it was still an enjoyable read.This is again one of those books that I simply cannot tell you about in detail, because it would completely ruin the plot. So, I guess I’ll just have to edge around that as best as I can.At times, the idea of the ‘returners’ (you’ll have to read the book to find out who they are) was a bit confusing at times, however this cleared up towards the end of a novel and things became a bit easier to understand. The itself was easy to follow, with only a few main story lines being presented.‘The Returners’ is set in the near future, in the year 2016 – which, in my opinion, lent to the reality of the story because it was so close to home. Similarly, the morals of the book felt quite relevant to todays society.The story involves Will Hodge, the protagonist, being followed by people that he cannot remember. He calls these people the ‘Freaks’. A local member of the community, who is an immigrant, is also seen at the scene of a murder and is taken away by the police and thrown in gaol as a suspect.I really like the cover for this book, by the way. The person walking in the door adds a creepy aspect to the cover (that and the blood) which was one of the reasons I chose the book in the first place. I also was really intrigued by the tag line on the front; ‘A past life doesn’t mean a good one‘.Will, as a narrator, reminded me a little of the protagonist from ‘The Catcher in the Rye’, Holden Caulfield. Though I didn’t really like Holden’s voice (it got really annoying after a while), I did tend to agree with his views on society – that people were ‘phony’, and that we only do the things we do because we must conform. That wasn’t what Will was trying to convey in ‘The Returners’, but I still felt that the style in which his opinions were written was very similar to that of Holden’s.Throughout the book, I often found myself empathizing for the characters in their different predicaments. I pitied Will, as he struggle to accept who he was and tried to cope with the loss of his mother. I felt for his feelings of alienation (yes, it’s very year 12 belonging related) and rejection and how he tried to use a facade to cover how he was really feeling about all this. And I understood his disgust and brazen, forced acceptance of who he really was. That was one aspect of the book that I really enjoyed. It is a wonderful book indeed that allows for such empathy with its characters.I did, however, guess the ending and one ‘plot twist’ that appeared in the story. If you’ve read it, I’m talking about the truth behind the death of Will’s mother – if I say anything else, I’ll give it away. And I wouldn’t want that.Despite the fact that I often guess the ending of books, I felt that this one was especially predictable, which in this case was annoying, as the book wasn’t really marketed as a light-hearted read. So that was a real underlying factor for why the book received the rating from me that it did.Just a quite intermission, Bindi has just joined my while I was writing this, and I think she wanted me to mention that ‘The Returners’ smells nice. OK, back to the review…All in all, the book was interesting, it was new and different, and the writing style was similar to that of Gemma Malley’s previous books ‘The Declaration’ and ‘The Resistance’. However, I felt that the book was a little slow to unfold, even for a book this small, and it was quite predictable and also a little confusing.I don’t mind Gemma Malley’s style of writing, and I think it’s quite different from many other writers of dystopian fiction that I have read (which aren’t many, though hopefully I’ll get the chance to read more in the future). I’ll be looking out for any more of her books in the future.

  • Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
    2019-01-17 00:15

    This is one of those books I picked up, not excepting to be completely lost in an amazing story, and yet I find I was hopelessly lost in the book. Returners was not what I was excepting at all. Gemma Malley wove together perfectly historical facts, with her amazing world of Returners. People who come back reincarnated over and over again. They serve a purpose, to remember the lives they have lived. Will Hodge is a character who has many layers and one I felt a range of emotions for. I felt bad for him, sympathized with him, wanted to hug him and tell him it would be alright, got really mad at him and yet towards the end, I really rallied behind him, hoping he would make the change he wanted to make. Will is a self-loathing teen boy, who's still coping with the death of this mother who was killed a few years ago. He is caught in the middle of his father's radical ways. Set in England, in the year 2016, Will finds that he's in the middle of a movement. Not only does he have to deal with an abusive, drunken father and not having any friends but, he's started to have very vivid disturbing dreams about parts of history other's would like to forget and he's being followed. Will witnesses something, that could change not only the accuser's life for good, but it's the center of a bigger radical movement that his father is part of. Will finds he's a key player. He's the only witness to what he thinks he saw. His father wants him to lie about it, and his old friend Claire wants him to tell the police what he saw. Will feels as though he's going crazy. The people that are following him won't leave him alone and he's having a hard time remembering things, except for flashes of memories from various points from history's past. When Will confronts the people who are following him, he finds he's a Returner, and they've been looking for him for 50 years. Returners have existed through out time, and come back again and again. They remember the worst things that humankind does to each other and are humanity's conscience. They are the protectors's of the insanity of humankind in times of distress. When Will is told he's destined to suffer, to remember these things (like he has done times before) and to feel the desperation and agony of humankind's choices, he chooses to believe he can change his destiny. It's not going to be as easy as he thinks. He finds out he's the cause of these horrible events. If he doesn't change the course of his destiny, he's going to be the cause of an even greater catastrophe. With the help of Claire, Will knows he can make the change, but when his father forces him into his extremist ways, Will finds his determination for change shattered. Will is running out of time to save his one time friend and accuser of a crime he may or not have committed. Telling the police what he saw is going to cost him, but it can also be part of the change Will is determined to make. Gemma brings to light, and has done so in a very tactful way, the horrible atrocities our world's history has played out over and over again. As a teenager, Will starts to remember being apart of that history. He caused some of it and other times he stood by, not wanting to be apart of it anymore. Her underlining message in the book is that we can all change. Will finds that standing up to his father, changing the course he's destined to repeat over and over again is going to be very hard, but can he do it? Will he make the change in time? Can one person's change alter the course of history?

  • Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books)
    2019-01-21 16:11

    The Returners is a thought-provoking, interesting and surprisingly intellectual read. The premise is that Will, a teenage boy, is a ‘Returner.’ He is someone who has lived through past lives and returns again and again. These ‘Returners’ have a certain responsibility and destiny during their time in their lives. Will doesn’t remember who he was or what he is now supposed to do. The death of his mother and his father’s careless attitude toward him have left the young man beyond lonely and hurt.Out of all of this, we begin to get glimpses of who Will may have been. Gemma Malley employs vivid nightmares and waking visions of different times in history filled with hate and littered with unimaginable pain to show us what Will has lived through in his previous lives. The plot moves along somewhat slowly to begin with, but once the nightmares begin to build in intensity, so does the plot. Malley’s clipped writing works so well for the story and makes many of the scenes that much more effecting.It is days later. I can smell it. Death. Burning flesh. It fills my nose, fills my chest, I am choking, spluttering, it is consuming me. I am screaming, screaming, screaming… ~ pg. 38Will’s increasing self-awareness and resurgence of his past leads to an incredible ending. The historical background information, combined with the looming political war, creates such a devastating image of the future. Malley has done something incredible with The Returners. The story is, at times, difficult to read, but impossible to put down. The picture she paints of a world where discrimination, racism, abuse, and shady political agendas run rampant is sadly not unlike things we still experience today, but she presents them so cut and dry. It seems like she is just telling us, ‘this is how it is, now can we do something about it’? Will becomes a friend, a brother, he becomes the reader. Everything he feels, we feel. At times, it is devastating. Other times, it is absolutely terrifying.A hand on my shoulder, another on my head – friendship, understanding, I feel it all, like osmosis through my skin. ~ pg. 132Malley has created a contemporary masterpiece that doesn’t fit any mold or conform to any standard. The Returners will make you think, make you question things, and leave you with a sense of responsibility; a purpose. Maybe even a destiny.I don’t want to give any major plot points away, so go pick this one up. Devour it, treasure it, and never forget it. I know I won’t.Opening line: There was this day, a few weeks ago. ~ pg. 1Favorite line(s): Everyone has a choice. Everyone. All the time. You can walk through a door or decide not to. ~ pg. 243

  • Jean
    2019-01-02 18:20

    The Returners is a newly published novel by Gemma Malley.Will Hodges’ life is a mess! His mother is dead, he has no friends and he thinks he is being followed by a strange group of people who tell him they know him. But Will can’t remember them …at first. And when he does, he doesn’t like what he can remember. While Will is struggling with unsettling memories, he learns that his past is a lot deeper than many people’s, and he has to find out if he is strong enough to break links with the powerful hold that history has on him. This compelling novel, set in an alternate future, challenges readers to consider the role we all have to play in making our society, and asks how much we are prepared to stand up for what’s right.When I received this in the post, I was really excited. I have read Gemma Malley’s other books, The Resistance and The Declaration, and I really, really enjoyed them!I think The Returners had really good ‘ingredients’ to it, and the synopsis makes it sound really amazing, but to be perfectly honest I thought the book was let down when hardly anything actually happened. It wasn’t until the last couple of chapters some things started happening.However, Gemma Malley is an incredibly good writer, and if it had been a less good writer I would have completely hated this book, but the way Gemma Malley describes the characters interactions and their emotions makes it much more enjoyable, even though there was hardly any action.I think Will Hodges as a character was very well described, though at times I thought he was a bit self centred and didn’t really care about other people’s feelings, until he started finding his own past.Gemma Malley always creates a believable future that we humans could create, and I thought that the situations the characters are in in this future (it is 2016) are very realistic and is very possible, not just fiction.All in all, if it wasn’t for the very good writing quality, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it. The lack of a plot and action made the novel fail to hit the awesome mark, but it still left a lasting impression after I read the last page, because of the interesting questions raised during the book.Rating = 3 StarsI would recommend this book to other Gemma Malley lovers, but not to people who would like lot’s of action, like in Gemma Malley’s other books.

  • Jodie
    2019-01-05 22:07

    I'm not going to give a big blurb about this book because I'm not sure I could say much without giving anything away.The Returners is an inner monologue of sorts. The main character is a teenager trying to make sense of his life and the mysterious people who he sees following him throughout his life. As you read his story, you are immersed into his conflicting emotions and his desire for and denial of the truth. The writing was fluid and you could really feel the conflicting emotions of the main character. Due to the subject matter I would caution it away from young teens and tweens. (Unlike the authors Declaration series...) Not because of graphic descriptions or bloody scenes, because you won't find those. I put the disclaimer up instead because I'm not sure the young teens would get as much out of the story nor would most of them appreciate the sad nature of the topic. While the outcome is supposed to be a happy conclusion, the novel does leave you with a deep desire for a hug. (Take note, because I won't say that often.) Keep in mind that this is NOT a bad thing. Just because something is sad, doesn't mean that it is bad. That's why I changed my mind on the rating.My first inclination was to give this book a 2 star rating, but then I realized that I was putting that rating on due to the sadness that the novel stirred. 2 stars is not what this novel deserves. It deserves more. It was well written and the characters emotions were conveyed wonderfully well. The internal struggle of the main character was as tortured as you would expect it to be in such a situation. The end decision of the main character was inspiring. He rose above his fear, and supposed predestination to ultimately make his own decisions. This is a wonderful thing for young adults to learn. That being said, taking everything into consideration, I'm torn as to how to rate it. I want to give it a 4 or 5 like the other Gemma Malley books, but I also feel like I could justify a 3. It would take me days to write up explanations on all those ratings, so I'm going to do this the easy way and give it a 4. Perhaps once I digest my reading I will have a better answer.

  • Melissa
    2018-12-28 20:08

    I have to say, The Returners was a real disappointment for me. I've enjoyed Gemma Malley's other books, such as The Declaration immensely but this one just seemed to lack the magic of the other books. Honestly, I didn't see the point of this novel at all. It didn't make much sense to me. It seems more like a fictional look at societal ills.Will Hodge is being followed by people who insist they know him, though he does not remember them, and his terrifying dreams have begun spilling over from night-time into day. Slowly, Will discovers that his past is not all that he thought it was, and the people following him aren't really strangers. They are Returners, and they have an important message about some truths Will has forgotten - terrible truths he may wish he had never known...The main criticism I have of this book is that one, it's far too depressing. I didn't feel that the silver lining at the end of the book really justified me going through the entire novel. Two, a Returner's role is to, apparently, "absorbs humanity's suffering and evil; being humanity's conscience". Basically, they do nothing. I have a problem with that. Even Will is upset at this. They absorb sufferings and evils and yet, they just absorb. They do nothing else. What is the point then? What is the meaning of their existence? If you're supposed to be humanity's conscience, why aren't you fighting back at humanity to stop all these evils?Another main theme of the novel is bigotry. I have to say, major characters in the novel are severely bigoted and there were several times I felt like throwing the book against the wall because I was just so mad. The bigotry comes in at a time when Great Britain, in 2016, is going through a recession and hate against the foreigners is on the rise. I suppose, reading this now, at a time where there is a great inflow and outflow of foreigners in various countries in the world makes the novel pretty relevant but apart from that, there wasn't much of anything else.

  • Charlotte Phillips
    2019-01-11 16:06

    The novel itself was a little confusing in some places because there just seemed to be a lot going on at one time, meaning that there were far to many mysteries to solve at any given time. I think there was a well thought out idea and plot here that, perhaps with a little tweaking, could make a highly thought provoking book. But at the moment, for something that is not very long, it seems like a lot of ideas crammed into one thing and I wonder if perhaps it would have been better to spread it out a little more and give the book that room for it to develop an overally depth. I did like the characters though at times I found myself getting bored, because there never really seemed to be any real drama going on. It just seemd to take a long time to actually get to the point of it, and whilst in someways it was an advantage to the book, it also had its disadvantages in that I was finding myself getting bored.I felt that the characters were not as well developed as they could have been. you really only got to know one of them and I just felt that all the others had so much more potential to them. I would have been interested for example, to have learnt more about Yan, Claire, Patrick and his dad. I feel that all the characters clearly had an important role to play here within the story, but not all of them were given the chance to claim the spotlight and that means you just wonder... what was the whole point of putting them in the story in the first place? Compared to her over novels that I have read, this is probably my least favorite. There is a lot of room for potential, a lot of room for it to grow, and just because it does not suit my likings is not to say that It won't suit someone elses. Afterall we all enjoy different type of books, otherwise there would be no point in different genres.

  • Jenny / Wondrous Reads
    2019-01-14 17:12

    The Returners has now put Gemma Malley in my list of favourite UK authors. The premise is original, unusual and utterly fantastic, and her writing is compelling to say the least. She's a force to be reckoned with, and her previous books The Declaration and The Resistance are proof enough of that.The Returners confronts issues relevant to today's society, even though the story is set in an alternate future, in the year 2016. Everything from race to politics is tackled head-on, with no apologies or sugarcoating. 2016 is a hard time to be a foreigner; they're seen as outcasts and aren't welcomed or wanted. Political parties are doing their best to turn Britain back into a purist country, and are facing more opposition as people start to stand up for what's right. It's a topic that is hotly debated these days, and it's good that Malley has picked such a contemporary subject to address.This book is in no way predictable, and kept me guessing until the last chapter. We figure things out as Will figures them out, and experience shock and confusion at the same time he does. Little hints are given, and it's almost like piecing a giant puzzle together, using excerpts from historical events and a crime committed in the present. I won't give anything away here, as the beauty of the story is what's waiting to be revealed around the corner.Malley stands out on the shelves of UK teen fiction, with a believable voice and a strong grasp on the teenage mind. Her books continue to surprise me, and her standard of writing seems to improve with every new offering. As a stand-alone novel, The Returners is worthy of a place in everyone's collection, and I for one can't wait to see where her imagination takes her next.

  • Christina
    2019-01-11 18:15

    The Returners was a good book, and it gives young adults courage to be able to stand up for what is right. Will teaches the reader that mistreating others is not acceptable, especially if the people being mistreated are from another culture. Yes, the book teaches teens that mistreatment and predudice are unacceptable. However, there are parts of this book that I am wary of. In Chapter 1, it talks of "sneaking a fag from the employee." In the beginning of Chapter 15, there is talk of Will drinking whiskey. Will is trying to cope with his destiny: He "reincarnates" because he needs to endure pain and suffering so that other people don't have to. However, instead of being the person receiving torture, Will is dishing out the torture and punishment. If I was a high school librarian, these two issues that I have would prevent me from purchasing the book for my library. I'm in no way saying that prejudice is acceptable. I am in no way trying to censure teens from reading this great book...because librarians should give students access to all kinds of books, no matter the content. However, this book has a strong message, and you should know your audience and community before purchasing it for your high school library. If you do purchase it, I would have a discussion with students before letting them check out the book, so that they better understand message of the book as they read...especially when it comes to the two issues in chapters 1 and 15. If you don't purchase the book, and don't want to necessarily ban the book from being read by students, the students should at least be told that the book can be borrowed from their local public library.

  • Jennifer Wardrip
    2018-12-27 00:14

    Reviewed by Karin Librarian for TeensReadToo.comWill Hodge doesn't have many happy days, especially since his mother died and his father's political involvement has grown more and more radical. In addition to stress at home, Will's friends don't really talk to him anymore, he starts losing short blocks of time, and strange people start following him around claiming to know him.Then, the dreams begin and he starts to think he is going crazy. He dreams of concentration camps during World War II and several other atrocious events from history. At first, Will thinks he is losing his mind, but soon explains away the strange thoughts on the history he is learning in school. Deep down, he knows the dreams are serious.Eventually, he can't avoid the strange people anymore. They explain to him that they are Returners, just like him. Returners are "people who have been reincarnated and whose destiny is to recall the atrocities they have witnessed in the past." When Will learns about the part he plays in this complicated situation he is forced to decide what his role will be.Are we born with a predetermined destiny or can we change who we were meant to be?As a fan of dystopian literature I enjoyed reading THE RETURNERS. The only reason I gave it 4 out of 5 stars is because I felt it took too long to get to the specific Returners storyline, as most of the book deals with Will's denial of his connection to the strange people following him.

  • Karin
    2018-12-23 20:23

    Will Hodge doesn't have many happy days, especially since his mother died and his father's political involvement has grown more and more radical. In addition to stress at home, Will's friends don't really talk to him anymore, he starts losing short blocks of time, and strange people start following him around claiming to know him.Then, the dreams begin and he starts to think he is going crazy. He dreams of concentration camps during World War II and several other atrocious events from history. At first, Will thinks he is going crazy but soon explains the strange thoughts on the history he is learning in school. Deep down, he knows the dreams are serious.Eventually, he can't avoid the strange people anymore. They explain to him that they are Returners, just like him. Returners are "people who have been reincarnated and whose destiny is to recall the atrocities they have witnessed in the past." When Will learns about the part he plays in this complicated situation he is forced to decide what his role will be.Are we born with a predetermined destiny or can we change who we were meant to be?As a fan of dystopian literature I enjoyed reading RETURNERS. The only reason I gave it 4 out of 5 glasses is because I felt it took too long to get to the specific Returners story line. Most of the book deals with Will's denial of his connection to the strange people following him.

  • Anna Wylie
    2018-12-24 00:11

    This book was one which really struck me with it's depth of theme and metaphor. Will isn't always the most sympathetic of characters nor does the author fully explain the details of the Returners, but there remains at its heart an essence of Buddhism and truth which redeems the book.When I say Buddhism, I am talking about the character of Will and his overarching message. In some forms of Buddhism they teach the wisdom of the Middle Way. To these Buddhists, life is suffering and this suffering cannot be escaped through extremes. It is only by taking the middle path that one becomes enlightened. Will learns throughout the book a similar lesson: being the torturer does not allow him fulfillment nor does being the punching bag for his father. He cannot escape the path of life (or returning as it may be) by doing the best at being evil nor by trying to pretend or abstain from participation (as evident in his experience of Rwanda). Instead it is the middle ground which ultimately will allow Will peace. Just like how Will states in the book that happiness always seems to be evident in hindsight but closes the book by stating that maybe he is happy right now, the author seems to be making a point of how time can change things but mostly it just changes our perspective on those things.

  • Page
    2018-12-21 19:09

    I decided to read this because I saw it and it looked really interesting.This goes into "A book that teaches you about another time in history" on the bingo board.I really like this book because it is so weird, it's different from other books and it does tech you a bit about Rwanda and World War ll and history really interests me, also Will is only trying to do the right thing and it's not his fault that he is doing bad things because he really means good, but he is told that's he is destined to be bad and hurt people, he is extremely misunderstood and unlucky really all he wants to do is live his life and go un-noticed doing it.My favorite quote from this book is "I don't blame her, sometimes I think I'm a freak too." I like it because he is just so unfortunate his mum is dead his dad is a drunken racist and he is being followed by a bunch of people and nobody believes him.Something I learnt from this book is that this could happen, things could get so bad again that we end up with yet another genocide and end up with hundreds, thousands or even millions or innocent people dead or worse.A character from this book that I like is Claire because she helps Will and she believes in him, really all she wants is for him to be happy and for them to just go back to the way things were before she misses him and all she tries to do is help him.'4 and a half/5

  • Brittany
    2019-01-06 16:24

    I don't think i've ever been this torn about a book. In some ways I really loved it and in some ways i really really didn't.Things I didn't like:- The beginning. It took way too long to actually get into the story, I found myself getting kind of bored with it which is rare for me. It was long and slow and I didn't enjoy it much.- The explanations. It took me so long to actually understand what was going on with 'the returners'. In fact, i'm still not completely sure what they are?- Claire. So was she a nice girl or a bit of a bitch? I still can't decide? She seems like a good friend but I can't quite get my head around her.Things I did like:- Will. I completely got him as a character, I liked the way his character grew over the length of the story.- The hidden twisters. There are some parts of the story that i did now expect at all which added that needed bit of excitement.- The actual idea of the returners. Brilliant idea, the whole book should have been more about them than the things that were going on with the people who didn't know about the returners. They're an awesome idea.Overall this is a good book and i would recommend it and although i can understand why some people don't like this book, don't let it put you off Gemma Malley's other books because the rest of her books are brilliant.3.5 Stars overall :)

  • Erica
    2019-01-19 00:27

    The Returners was very different from what I was expecting. When I read the description, I had this idea of what The Returners would be, and it was not the same at all. Though, this doesn't mean I wasn't happy with how The Returners ended up, as I did enjoy it.The plot of The Returners was fairly simple and rather intriguing. The first part of the book was slower and focused more around building story. This was interesting, but I do wish the plot had picked up a bit faster. The whle concept of these "Returners" was completely original and caught my attention. I almost wish Gemma Malley had played up the idea of Returners a bit more. They were this fantastic idea, and what she did with them was great, but I feel it could've been that much more. Malley does a wonderful job with the characters in The Returners. Will was an artfully crafted character. You did sympathize with him, but I did find myself confused sometimes at his actions. I could not stand Will's father. He was just so... ugh! I think that was Gemma Malley's intention though. Patrick just gave me the creeps.I wasn't fully satisfied with the ending. I would have liked to hear just a bit more of the story, and then it would have seemed a bit more complete. But overall, I would definately suggest this one! It's an enjoyable read set in a alternate future in the year 2016.

  • Barbara
    2019-01-16 23:12

    Will Hodges is a loner type in school with a bit of an anger management problem like his dad. He witnesses the aftermath of a murder for which a former immigrant friend is charged. Will tells this story and about the nightmares that have plagued him in recent months where horrible things are happening to people and he wakes up in a sweat. He is also being followed by people who act like they know him and stare at him with hollow, sad eyes. When they finally get close to him, they tell him that he is a “Returner” like them. He doesn’t know what this means and he doesn’t want to know, until his nightmares begin intruding on his waking life. Told in Will’s anguished and angry voice the story winds from the present to the near past to the more distant past and back as what being a “Returner” means for Will is revealed. Returners come back again and again to absorb the pain and suffering of humanity. But Will finds out he is something more, something darker and he has to decide if he accepts his role as destiny or if he can change the course of his life. The Returners say he cannot escape his destiny but Will has to decide for himself. The narrative unfolds in a slow, mysterious way which may not suit all readers, but the twists in the book make this a worthwhile read.

  • David Cortez
    2019-01-05 16:35

    David CortezMrs. MyersEnglish 2B15 January 2015In the story a teenager named Will Hodge has been through a lot is being followed by a group of people who claims he is a returner. His mother died by jumping off the bridge when he was there. He classifies everyone as a freak because they look like death to him. Throughout the story the group of people still follow him when he talks to them they said he was a returner like them. He didn't know what it was and they told him that he was reincarnated to suffer like they have.I rated the book five stars because I enjoyed it I learned more about the wars and facts I didn't even know. When I read it I couldn't put it down because it was interesting. It had a huge plot twist that I was expecting. Throughout the story I felt sorry for him that his mother jumped off the bridge right in front of him. There is no downfall for this book I highly enjoyed.If your a fan of fiction and horror this is the book for you. This book teaches you that you can change who you are because it is not written for you. The main character has "dreams" that make you think if it was real because it was highly detailed. When you find out about how they come back its really interesting. This is why I highly recommend this book.