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The Social Potato Reviews

Reviews, news, and giveaways. Blog is http://thesocialpotato.maryfaye.net

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The Returned - Jason Mott I am still at a loss for words. It's amazing how the stories of fictional characters can push you to look deep within yourself, encouraging you to find your own answers to the same questions asked. Very rarely do I feel so connected that my heart bursts with emotions so raw and intense, that my soul feels broken but also warm and complete at the same time. Reading this book was a unique and uplifting experience, and I kind of understand why it had a bidding war for film rights. It's that good, folks. It's that good.

In this book, there's a crisis. The world is encountering a phenomenon never seen before. The dead are returning, unaged, looking as they were when they died, confused and oftentimes treated less than humans. Instead of following one person's story in a line, we get to see other people's lives, too — how they took the news of a deceased loved one coming back to them, what they have felt about it, and what they've learned from it. It shows a web of relationships where one's little story is related to another's, and as a reader, we learn something from each and every one of them. And that, somehow, makes everything a wee bit harder.

We mainly follow the lives of Harold and Lucille Hargrave, whose 8 year old son, Jacob, arrived on their doorstep, their son who 50 years ago drowned at a nearby river. For fifty years, they've lived on without their child. It's been a hard journey, but they survived, and meeting their son again was like fate giving them a chance to remember how it was to enjoy life and its simplest pleasures, to love again, to forgive, and to let go.

Sure, the world-building is a bit sketchy, and there's a bit of plothole in which it was never explained why the Returned came back, but I didn't care. The whole book gives you this feeling where there are just some things that can never be explained, some things that are best left just as they are and appreciated for what they are. That sometimes, we just need a little bit of faith and hope, and find meaning in it. I don't know, but you can say it made me think about things a lot. About my life. About my relationships with other people. It made me philosophize about the meaning of life. After turning the last page, I choked up and felt an urge to go to my family and friends to say I love them and that I'd risk my life for them. Until now, whenever I think about this book, I can't help but feel teary-eyed. The impact was just too great.

I'm not going to say a lot about this one to you guys. You'll have to read it and find your own answers and interpretations; let the magic come to you in its own way. It's very powerful, emotional, and poignant, with stunning prose and real characters whose feelings and hardships are not hard to empathize with. Human nature can be scary, but at times, it can be so beautiful, too. Thank you, Mr. Mott, for writing such a masterpiece. Needless to say, in one way or another, my life was changed.

Let it go, Harold. Love him. Then let him go.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my thoughts in any way.

PS: The trailer of the show is here.