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The Missing Season

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Whenever another kid goes missing in October, the Pender kids know what is really behind it: a horrific monster out in the marshes they have named the Mumbler.

That’s what Clara’s new crew tells her when she moves to town: Bree and Sage, who take her under their wing; spirited Trace, who has taken the lead on this year’s Halloween prank war; and magnetic Kincaid, whose devil-may-care attitude and air of mystery are impossible for Clara to resist.

Clara doesn’t actually believe in the Mumbler. But as Halloween gets closer and tensions build in the town, it’s hard to shake the feeling that there really is something dark and dangerous in Pender, lurking in the shadows, waiting to bring the stories to life.

320 pages, ebook

First published May 21, 2019

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About the author

Gillian French

9 books409 followers
Gillian French is the author of five novels for teens: GRIT, THE DOOR TO JANUARY, THE LIES THEY TELL, THE MISSING SEASON, and SUGARING OFF (Algonquin Young Readers, Fall 2022). Her short fiction has placed in many competitions, including Writer's Digest and Zoetrope: All Story contests, and has been published in such magazines are Weirdbook. She holds a BA in English from the University of Maine, and lives in her native state of Maine with her husband and sons, where she's perpetually at work on her next novel.

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5 stars
142 (12%)
4 stars
332 (28%)
3 stars
437 (37%)
2 stars
194 (16%)
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60 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 268 reviews
Profile Image for Lala BooksandLala.
500 reviews64k followers
June 12, 2019
Her writing talent is undeniable. I fished this book in one day because I was so gripped, just on the edge of my seat. At least for the first half. This mystery revolves around a new girl to town, and an age old monster myth. I was sucked into the story right away, the atmospheric small town on a marsh, the tight knit friend group, the "is this or isn't this paranormal" vibe that I love.

Then it did what a lot of YA mystery does, adding cheap thrills, a heavy handed red herring, an unnecessary centre-stage romance, and an ending that was BEYOND disappointing. I think this book will still work for a lot of people, especially those new to the mystery genre- it just wasn't for me in the end.

I am 100% down to check out anything from Gillian French in the future- the tension building and scene setting was truly impressive.

Thank you to frenzy for the early chance to read!
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,514 reviews29.5k followers
June 5, 2019
I'm between 3.5 and 4 stars, so I rounded up.

Clara is used to being the new girl, as her family moves quite often to follow her dad's construction jobs. But she's never a big fan of the adjustment period, waiting to see how people will treat her, whether she'll be the loner with no friends or be lucky and make a friend or two, only have to abandon the relationship when she moves away again. It never fails.

When she moves to Pender, a depressed New England town, she expects it to go the same way it always does. She's surprised when she strikes up a friendship with Bree and Sage, and they start including her in things, like cutting out of school to grab lunch, hanging out at the skate park to watch the boys—even some high-level pranks. She and Bree even have a crush on the same guy—the mysterious Kinkaid, who comes and goes as he pleases, breezing by on his skateboard.

The thing about Pender, though, is that kids have disappeared, or have been found dead through the years, particularly around Halloween. While the adults in town have a perfectly good explanation for these tragedies—drug overdose, getting hit by a freight train, running away from town—the kids have another explanation. They believe it's the work of the Mumbler, a monster man who lives out by the marshes, for whom they leave offerings from time to time.

People—including Kinkaid—say they've seen the Mumbler, but Clara doesn't believe the legend is true. However, she's starting to think something isn't quite right in town, especially when another girl from school disappears. In the midst of the chaos, she finds herself unable to resist Kinkaid's appeal, despite the problems it might cause in her friendship with Bree. But her desire to help Kinkaid solve his own problems may prove to be what harms the potential for their relationship to go anywhere.

As the town tries to figure out an explanation for the latest disappearance, Clara is starting to feel more afraid, but she doesn't know whom to fear—the Mumbler, or something worse, someone more real? And when another girl even closer to home goes missing, Clara finds herself in the middle of a dangerous situation—one she might not survive.

I thought The Missing Season had a very Stephen King-like vibe when I started reading it. You know, small New England town, unexplained disappearances, grisly deaths, etc.? But the book is more than just a story of a potential monster—it's a complex story about growing up, friendship, love, family, and the decision whether or not to speak up when things don't seem right.

I felt this sense of impending doom as I read this book, and French really did a great job with her imagery, as the whole book seemed very dark and creepy. Like I do with most mysteries and thrillers, I suspected absolutely everyone, and while I'll admit I wasn't thrilled with the ending, I thought this was a really compelling read. I liked the balance of YA and mystery/thriller very much.

This is scary but not too scary, and a good story to boot. If you like this genre, pick up The Missing Season . And stay away from the marsh!!

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Check out my list of the best books I read in 2018 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2019/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2018.html.

You can follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
May 21, 2019

this is the first book i have read by gillian french, so i don’t know how this one stacks up to her other ones, but i knew she was a pretty popular YA author, i saw a free ARC, i loved the cover, and i grabbed it with my sticky froggy hands.

this is YA written for the younger side of the YA curve. and there ain’t nothing wrong with that, but most of the YA i’ve read seems to be aiming for that juicy YA/adult crossover demographic, so the difference is something i noticed when i was reading it. on the one hand - that makes it an easy breezy read, but on the other hand, i was missing the depth and richness folks like patrick ness and laini taylor and melina marchetta bring to the YA table.

everything about this is fine: the characters are appealing, the atmosphere is developed into a fine weave of horror and realism: halloween slendermannish spookiness in one strand and quirky new girl/friendship/enigmatic-boy crush in the other. even the descriptions work:

I swear I’ve been here before. Not Birchwood Terraces, exactly, but other developments like it, named after the trees cut down to build the place: Oakfield, Elm Park, Spruce Way. We’ve moved three times in four years, and twice when I was in elementary school, following Dad’s construction work, but somehow, we always end up right here.

i know this girl, i know this place. and i appreciate that the characters are children of lower-middle class/working-poor families, which novelists so frequently turn into stereotypes, but here read like real people, real circumstances, discrete personalities and home lives.

all of that is fine - i was really enjoying seeing where it was going, enjoying the journey towards the ‘is it or isn’t it?’ of the supernatural/human reveal.

and then it got there.

and, wow.

this book is like waiting for marriage to lose your virginity - you spend so much time anticipating what’s going to come and then it’s over and you wonder if it was all really worth waiting for. i’m not sure if this analogy holds water, but unlike marriage, i’ve committed to it, so here we are.

again, i have the ARC, so page numbers may differ come pub day, but after 280 pages, we come to the big reveal, the big showdown, and it lasts NINE PAGES. nine. pages. and that’s me rounding up the half-pages - it’s actually only seven. which is a truly unsatisfying roll in the hay, by my standards.

so, was it worth it? for me, not really. it’s an out-of-left-field answer to a question built up into a lot more than it turned out to be. and it doesn’t even make sense - if the why is the why, then the hazel thing makes no sense at all. none.

so, yeah - for me, this one didn’t work. i liked enough of it to give french another shot, considering the high marks her other books have gotten ‘round here, but this one did not stick its landing, which pretty much tainted whatever steps in our courtship i’d enjoyed before we commenced our regrettable wedding night.


sorry, booknerds - i didn't love this.
3 stars, rounded up

review TK.

come to my blog!
Profile Image for Michelle .
913 reviews1,413 followers
November 9, 2018
What a lovely surprise this book was!

I have been itching to read some Gillian French as I have had her books in my TBR for what seems like forever so when Edelweiss had a copy of this available I snatched it right up and since it takes place at Halloween I just had to dive in right away. I am still not ready to let Halloween go and for for the "other" holidays to take over my mind, body, soul, and wallet.

"Mumbler, Mumbler, in your bed,
Mumbler, Mumbler, take your head,
Eat your nose,
Gobble your toes,
And bury you where the milkweed grows."

Clara is the new kid in town and starting classes late makes her want to hide in the shadows but she is quickly befriended by Bree and Sage and their group of misfits that include Trace (Sage's boyfriend), Moon, and the mysterious Kincaid. While hanging out at the local skate park the crew informs Clara about The Mumbler that takes kids away on Halloween night. Clara being the intelligent young lady that she is doesn't believe them and knows they are just trying to mess with her but when a fellow classmate goes missing she has to ask herself if the rumors just may be true.

"And this is it. I can feel it. The dark and massive thing I've sensed riding my back since morning; stretching, blocking out all light, some huge black bat at full wingspan, jaws lowering down on my head - not just our stupid Saturday night prank, but something hungry and idiotic and cruel, and it's starting. It's starting right now."

Gillian French knows how to write teenagers. They were all so authentic and genuine that it reminded me of my friends back in those long lost days of high school. I adored Clara. She was smart, funny, and most of all kind. The connection she makes with the aloof Kincaid put butterflies in my stomach. Oh, how I remember those days of first crushes and wanting nothing more than to relive every word spoken, every touch made. To ache for someone while also feeling so insecure that you've got it all wrong.

I also loved the misdirection that Ms. French does here. She had me thinking one thing through the entire book and then she pulls the rug out from underneath you with a conclusion that I never saw coming and one that I enjoyed immensely! 4 stars!

Thank you to Edelweiss and Harper Teen for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Profile Image for Twins.reading.books.
366 reviews1,198 followers
May 21, 2019
So so happy to have read another book by Gillian French honestly everything the author writes I will be in the first line to read.
I love her style of writting is so unique that it won't take you so long to fall in love with the story.
I have read "The Lies They Tell" that book is my first read of Gillian French and I absolutely loved it!
The author is not just talented but highly talented in writting books that in my taste or my opinion are the books I can easily call the best.
The author uses a technique that you won't even know the ending even not think of what the ending will be.
I fell in love with Clara's story it was kind of the same as mine being a teenager and in high school being smart, funny, experiencing life, exploring the universe.
I miss the time when we used to be worried only for having good times with friend and enjoying our drinks and talking about our future.
Another brilliant book by Gillian French, at first the book was kind of settling with the main character and getting to know her and the other that surrounded her, then the story follows her when she falls in love with a guy and after this we have the 'This Falls' it was the part of the story that I wanted to read, an unexpected mystery.
I give the book 5 easy stars. If you liked her previous book "The Lies they tell" you will definitely like and this one.
The synopsis of the book: > "The Missing Season" <
Whenever another kid goes missing in October, the Pender kids know what is really behind it: a horrific monster out in the marshes they have named the Mumbler.

That’s what Clara’s new crew tells her when she moves to town: Bree and Sage, who take her under their wing; spirited Trace, who has taken the lead on this year’s Halloween prank war; and magnetic Kincaid, whose devil-may-care attitude and air of mystery are impossible for Clara to resist.

Clara doesn’t actually believe in the Mumbler. But as Halloween gets closer and tensions build in the town, it’s hard to shake the feeling that there really is something dark and dangerous in Pender, lurking in the shadows, waiting to bring the stories to life!
Profile Image for Carrie.
3,230 reviews1,550 followers
July 14, 2019
The Missing Season by Gillian French is a young adult mystery/thriller. The main character, Clara is a perpetual new girl in town so she wasn’t surprised when her dad’s construction jobs had them moving to Pender, a depressed New England town.

Being constantly the new girl in every town and school Clara was used to being a loner but this time in Pender seemed to be going differently, Clara quickly found herself with a new group of friends. While the group welcomed Clara they were known as the troublemakers of the town.

Bree and Sage, the girls Clara finds herself closest to soon have her doing things like skipping school and hanging out at the skate park to meet boys. There is one boy Clara has her eyes on but what really catches her attention is the tales the others tell of the Mumbler. Closing in on Halloween legend has it the Mumbler will be out looking for the next victim.

The Missing Season by Gillian French was an extremely atmospheric and creepy read being set in this rundown town and with it’s spooky Mumbler legend. However, I think the setting and atmosphere out shined the actual mystery and character development. The mystery was just so-so to me by the end and add in some typical teen love triangle trope to the romance this one seemed to fall flat after a great beginning.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via Edelweiss.

For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.com/
Profile Image for Dennis.
818 reviews1,619 followers
March 19, 2019
If you enjoyed Gillian French's The Lies They Tell, you'll definitely be in for a treat with The Missing Season ! Crafted with the same atmospheric content from her 2018 release, The Missing Season is fine-tuned just perfectly for the reader to enjoy. Essentially a young adult novel geared for anyone 13 and above, I had to take that into consideration when reading this crime-fiction mystery.

Without going into too much detail, the story takes place in a town that is struggling to survive—it's a fallen town, to say the least, and a majority of the households are ranging between lower/middle class incomes. When Clara and her family relocate to the town for work, her new group of friends inform her about the town's urban legend-the Mumbler. The Mumbler takes children yearly, and it has spawned a cult-like following every Halloween with the nearby towns. Clara doesn't believe that this myth is an actual creature, but suspicions and fears definitely grow more intense as the Halloween season begins. Does this creature actually exist, and what does it want?

I really got Riverdale vibes while reading this novel! It's pacing is a slow-building suspense, and definitely worth a read for those who can't stomach graphic/super violent thrillers. I think The Missing Season will be what Two Can Keep a Secret should've been (no shade, just being honest). I'm excited for this title's release, and I think it'll definitely resonate with readers who enjoy dramas with a little flair.
Profile Image for Melki.
6,047 reviews2,390 followers
October 7, 2020
". . . all we've got to do is survive Halloween."

Teenagers are menaced by a mysterious, folkloric figure called The Mumbler . . . or at least they're being menaced by the menacing rumors surrounding the legendary predator.

"I've seen that." I was mostly thinking out loud, but I've got Bree's attention. "That message, 'Fear Him.' It's under the overpass by school."

"It's everywhere. All over town." She watches me, gaze intent. "What do you think it means?"

"I don't know. Like, God, maybe."

She gives one of those laughs, 90 percent cacao, bitter and rich. "No. Not God."

After being wowed earlier this year by this author's Grit, I was really looking forward to this one as a spooky Halloween read, but I was disappointed. French's strong character development that impressed me so much in the other novel is completely lacking here. The kids in this book are your fairly average Friday the 13th variety teens, and that made it pretty hard to care about any of them. It's enough to make any reader start rooting for The Mumbler. There's also a very, VERY long, slow build up, which is fine if it helps build tension, otherwise, well, you know . . . come on, Mumbler! And then, after a couple hundred pages, the big exciting finale is over in fewer than nine - too little, too late.

This was my first, much anticipated read of Spooktober.

I sure hope the others are better than this.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,010 reviews378 followers
December 4, 2018
Having enjoyed French's other mysteries I was really excited to see The Missing Season and knowing that another good YA mystery would be on the horizon.

I think I might have gone into this one with my expectations being just a little bit too high.

This book started out great. I loved the small town going under setting. The background on the Mumbler and the whole mystery behind the missing and dead kids and then...I don't know exactly what happened.

The mystery sort of..fizzled a bit.

Things weren't as scary or as well plotted out as I can usually expect from French. It seems like by the end, even though things came together, they still felt off. Like maybe the ending wasn't quite the ending the author had fully wanted as well. Like maybe it surprised us all.

I think this turned into less of an urban legend story or even a ghost story or even a story told at night around campfires to scare small children and the new girls, and more of a romance story, expect even the romance aspect of it, wasn't all that exciting.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad story, not really at all, just not what I was hoping or even expecting it to be. And that's okay it does happen and I do think many people will really like this one, it just maybe didn't work all that well for me.

*ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Profile Image for Shainlock.
753 reviews
August 14, 2019
I had a stack of holds come in from the library. A lot of them were new releases and I had to just read really fast to get them back on time.
This was one of them.
I really had no idea what this was about and was drawn in simply by the title and the cover.
It turns out this was about missing teenagers and a legend, an urban legend (?) about The Mumbler in Maine. I gather that such a rhyme or urban tale of such a thing is true so I was excited and intrigued.

Clara’s dad follows the construction work, so nowhere is home for all that long, but somehow she fits in really well with the misfits at this school and she understands them. Two girls befriend her. They take her to all their secret hideouts and all the trails through the forest and she meets the guys and “the girlfriends” and learns the rules.
This place has just an eerie fog about it. They tell her about The Mumbler, or rather Jade’s crazy & theatrical, boyfriend Trace does. They hang out at the skate park where she meets so many more people as well as the mysterious Kincaid. He always seems to just disappear. No one knows where he lives. Clara falls in with the merry pranksters and in the back of her mind tried to solve the mystery and protect her misfit friends. Then the attacker comes for someone close to Clara and Bree.

This is both spooky and a crime mystery. It is also kind of a coming of age story. Teenagers keep coming up missing. Most don’t turn up and the ones that do, turn up horribly mangled from the bog.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Cameron (LostInStories).
166 reviews10 followers
September 19, 2019
This is a good book to read during spooky season. The writing is good but it's one of those books that are enjoyable while you're reading it but not something that I will read again.
Profile Image for Cassie’s Reviews.
1,038 reviews30 followers
May 6, 2019
Clara’s the new girl in the town of Pender , her family had to relocate for her fathers job. The town is struggling and it’s filled with households that are lower and middle class. Clara soon discovers friends and their a group of some troublemakers that pull pranks and hang out at the skate park , and she’s taken under their wing. Her new friends begin to tell her about the local urban legend called The Mumbler. You see The Mumbler takes children ever year and it’s around Halloween and they begin to tell her about all the teens who were taken and possibly murdered.Soon after being told about The Mumbler Clara starts feeling like she’s being watched and also chased in the woods. Soon October comes along and another teen goes missing and Clara begins to question is The Mumbler real or is something more sinister behind the missing teens? I normally don’t read YA books often but I found myself lost in Claras story and the Urban legend of the Mumbler. The author did amazing job taking me into the day to day life of Clara and her friends and I soon myself wondering if The Mumbler was behind the mysteries in the town of Pender! I give this book four stars and a huge thank you the author and publisher for my advance copy! This book is available May 21 2019!! Will you be adding The Missing Season to your list of books for May?
Profile Image for Karima chermiti.
827 reviews153 followers
July 21, 2019

I really don’t know what to think of this one. It wasn’t really good or really bad, It just fell somewhere in the middle for me so maybe I’ll go for three stars rating. GOD, it sucks when I don’t know what to do with my books.

Kids always disappear in Pender around Halloween time and it’s all the Mumbler doing, a scary monster who lives in the marshes. When Clara, our main character moves in to live in Pender, it doesn’t take long for her to learn of the stories but what she dismisses as just glorified stories by bored teenagers can come to life as tension starts to rise in the town as Halloween gets closer.


Some stories are way too nasty to be true but what if they are, that’s what Clara starts dreading as darkness starts to seep through the town.

The Missing Season is a YA thriller and I think that’s one of the reasons why I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I wanted to. I think I’ve outgrown really loving YA thrillers; they just don’t work out for me anymore, not the way they used too.

The other reason is that I just couldn’t connect to the characters and I just couldn’t even like them that much and that is just a deal breaker for me especially with this particular genre. For thrillers to work for me, I need to care about the characters and then the mystery surrounding their stories. If I feel myself distanced from them, then I wouldn’t be able to get invested and If I’m not invested then I won’t be affected by the twists and the turns of the story and from there everything fall apart for me.


But I really was invested in the mumbler mystery and the stories linked to it and I was curious about the truth behind the myth and how it will all be resolved by the end and I got to say that it was barely satisfying for me. I think if the story didn’t focus that much on the romance and focused more on the urban legend elements, The Missing Season would’ve been way better but as a YA thriller, the book couldn’t escape a romance centered story.

It’s a shame because the author sure as hell knows how to write in a gripping engaging way that took me hostage and made me hang on every word. The vibe of the book is also creepy, spooky and frightening without it being bloody and gory which make it perfect for readers who want to read thrillers but can’t handle much violence and gore.

All in all, The Missing Season is a decent book that could’ve been great. I actually would’ve liked for the characters to be older, that way, the book could’ve skipped all the YA clichés but hey, it’s all a matter of taste, I’m sure a lot of people will find this book phenomenal.
Profile Image for The Library Ladies .
1,192 reviews58 followers
May 24, 2019
(originally reviewed at thelibraryladies.com )

Thank you to Edelweiss+ for sending me an eARC of this novel!

I’ve been racking my brain, but given that I lived in a fairly large metro area when I was a kid (and still do for that matter) I can’t think of any ‘urban legends’ that were prevalent in my hometown during my childhood. The closest I can come is when two mean girls in first grade tried to convince me that at midnight if you looked up at the sky you’d see a star that would automatically kill you and everyone you loved, and yes, I totally fell for it. But in terms of rumors turned folklore, I can’t recall any. But I’ve always been fascinated with localized urban legends, even back then, so finding books that have those themes are always going to grab my interest. That’s why I was so eager to read “The Missing Season” by Gillian French, a YA mystery thriller that includes tales of a mysterious figure called “The Mumbler” that supposedly snatches teens up during Halloween season. I went in expecting a mystery thriller with ambiguous horror elements. But instead, I got… a mishmash of themes that didn’t work for me.

“The Missing Season” takes place in the smallish town of Pender, and our protagonist Clara has just moved there due to her father’s somewhat nomadic career in construction. As our main character, I will say right off the bat that I liked Clara and I liked following her story and point of view. She lacks the luxury of being able to make connections because of the chance she might be moving again, so when she does make these connections there is a palpable fear of losing them, even if it isn’t outright said. The biggest conflict of this kind is the friendship between her and a girl named Bree. Bree, along with another girl named Sage, takes an immediate shine to Clara, and their friendship is a mix of the rush of having a girl pal, and the angst of competing with that girl pal in ways that were unanticipated. I know this familiar feeling all too well from my adolescent years, and I thought that French did a great job of showing it instead of telling it. The conflict in this case is the competing affections for local mysterious outsider Kincaid, who is the deepest in The Mumbler mythology of all the friends that Clara makes. The underlying tension and hurt between the two friends was the strongest aspect of this book, and the ways that Clara did, or in some cases didn’t, deal with that conflict felt very realistic.

But here is the problem with “The Missing Season��: it is very much marketed as a mystery thriller, and the description makes it sound like a new missing kid case is the center of the novel. But it’s very much not. The center of the novel is Clara’s relationships with the kids in town, and how she navigates her friendship with Bree and her need to fit in as those things come in conflict with the relationship she wants with Kincaid. Sure, another kid goes missing, and sure, there’s a question of what happened to her, but it wasn’t focused on nearly as much as I thought it was going to be. Instead, most of the conflict was Clara worrying about what Kincaid’s deal was, and what was going to happen to her new friendship with Bree if Clara and Kincaid did pursue their mutual feelings for each other. It wasn’t until the last fifth of the book that a full conflict with another child kidnapping raised the tension and thriller stakes, and even by then it was wrapped up VERY quickly, so quickly it almost felt like the author realized that oh yes, this was supposed to be a mystery thriller, better toss in a climax and wrap it up as quickly as possible. Even the ultimate solution felt tossed in there, with a couple of hints and clues scattered early on in the book, but not in a way that felt cohesive to a mystery. I kept waiting for the mystery and tension to build, but it plateaued very early at a level that wasn’t terribly high. I would be more inclined to call this book a contemporary realistic YA fiction book with some mysterious elements, but not enough for it to be considered an actual ‘thriller’. And because of that, I was totally let down by “The Missing Season”. If I had gone in with the expectations of this being about a teenage girl’s bildungsroman I think I would have enjoyed it much more than I actually did, but as it was I couldn’t enjoy the story. I felt too duped.

I hesitate to write off “The Missing Season” for everyone, because my expectations were in a completely different place than they should have been. If you go in without the supposition that it’s a thriller, it may be more appealing. But, given that it’s trying to portray itself that way, I don’t feel comfortable recommending it as it’s presented.
Profile Image for Tijana.
326 reviews154 followers
October 5, 2021
Finished this book about 2 weeks ago and still not sure how I feel about it.

The story itself was very dull and uneventful, and the characters weren't too deep nor interesting. The mystery was somewhat gripping with plenty of creepy moments, yet I wasn't impressed with how everything resolved (not to mention I had a feeling this was originally planned to be a series, but the sequel was never written/published).

One thing I did like was the story atmosphere and how haunting the descriptions were. I could almost feel the freezing wind on my skin, as if I were walking through the woods with the characters.

Bottom line: I would probably read another novel by this author, but this story gets 2.5 (rounded up 3) stars from me.
Profile Image for Jessica.
810 reviews106 followers
June 4, 2019
The town of Pender is haunted by several disappearances of children that have happened over the years. They all seem to occur around October and the Halloween season. If you ask the other kids living in the former factory town they would tell you these kids have all been victims of the Mumbler. They would tell you that if you don’t make the right offering up to the Mumbler, come Halloween, you could be next on the list.

This is the story Clara, the new girl in town, learns from her recently acquired circle of friends. There’s Bree and Sage, who have embraced Clara as their own. There’s Trace, who just can’t seem to stay out of trouble and has started a Halloween-themed prank war. There’s Kincaid, the mysterious skateboarder that Clara can’t take her eyes off. Clara’s not buying the story about the Mumbler. When strange things start happening around her, Clara can’t help but wonder who is behind it all. Could the Mumbler be more than just legend?

THE MISSING SEASON focuses on Pender’s most recent arrival, Clara. Her family has moved from town to town, as her father searches for work. Typically Clara keeps to herself and resists making any bonds, but Pender is different. She wants to have friends and a group to hang out with, which is exactly what she finds in Bree, Sage, Trace, and Kincaid. They��re a group of kids who don’t abide by the social norms of school. They’re a group of outsiders willing to take Clara in as their own. I loved the way that French shaped this group of friends. The reader gets to know each of them individually by dipping into each of their personal lives through Clara, as she gets closer to each of them. Everything about Clara and her friends feels very organic and not forced. Despite being high schoolers, their interactions are still very relatable for an older audience.

As Clara starts to get closer to her new friends, the mystery of local legend, the Mumbler, comes to the forefront of the story. This is where things start to get creepy. There are strange incidents in Clara’s room at night. Has someone been her house? There is an overwhelming feeling of being watched. Is there someone following the friends through the woods? Could is simply be paranoia? I love the way French takes the town of Pender and drops the reader into the heart of this small town’s secrets. Clearly adults don’t want to talk about the disappearances that have happened over the years, but this secret has come to drive stories and myth within the youth community.

The first part of THE MISSING SEASON is a slow-burn build-up to a more thrilling ride. When a local girl goes missing, things instantly ramp up and the pace of the story takes off. I loved the way French chose to build the creep factor regarding the woods and the Mumbler. I would have loved to see more, but I understand that this book was written for a young adult audience, so that may not have worked. The woods and the small town work perfectly to create an atmosphere that simultaneously brings the reader into the story, while also making you want to get as far away as possible from this area.

I usually stay clear of the young adult genre, but there was something about the synopsis of this book that I couldn’t resist. I’m an absolute sucker for any story surrounding a local legend. Despite the young adult vibes with the high school drama driving parts of the story, I didn’t lose my connection to the story. At the end of the day I actually found myself really enjoying these parts and reminiscing about my high school years and how I would have felt in Clara’s situation. I truly think that this book can work for any fan of the crime fiction genre who is interested in a lighter read. There is a great mystery, tense moments, a creepy setting, and plenty of drama to draw in fans across the genre.

Disclosure: Thank you to the author, Gillian French, for sending me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,221 reviews462 followers
April 25, 2019
*Source* Publisher
*Genre* Young Adult, Suspense, Thriller
*Rating* 3-3.5


Gillian French's The Missing Season is set to the backdrop of a small town working-class town in Maine with a colorful cast of characters and an unsettling past that features a character named Mumbler. Pender is like so many other towns in America—a small factory town with a failing economy confronting unemployment and drug abuse—a setting we rarely see in YA fiction. Once again, Gillian has perfectly captured this unglamorous but very realistic setting.

*Full Review @ Gizmos Reviews*

Profile Image for andrea.
691 reviews132 followers
June 12, 2019
It was fine.

I wish it had been a lot less about the group dynamics/friendships between characters and more about the mystery. The mystery aspect felt secondary and I felt nothing whenever the ending happened.

The writing was really lovely, though.
Profile Image for Katherine Iorio.
120 reviews4 followers
May 21, 2019
While The Missing Season by Gillian French is on the younger side of YA novels, this book seriously brought back some fun memories of my high school days! As much as I enjoyed the memories, this book had a rather disappointing ending!

Clara is a high school senior who has had a difficult childhood, having to move all the time and trying to fit into new schools. Now at a new small town, Clara has fallen in with a group of kids who hang out at a skate park. She eventually also falls for a dark skater boy all her fellow friends have a crush on. He then starts to tell Clara of the local urban legend called the Mumbler. This supernatural entity is the reason so many kids go missing and wind up being found mutilated. While the adults in the town speculate over why these things keep happening to the children, the local teens know who, or rather what, is doing this — The Mumbler.

While I found the naivety of Clara to be immature at times, the writing had its comedic relief with the local kids getting up to no good. From vandalism, pranks, even drinking, like I said, it brought back some fond memories of my high school days!

This is my first Gillian French novel, and I’m grateful I received a copy from her and her publishers. I truly enjoyed French’s writing style; even the pacing was intriguing in the first half. The chemistry between all of the characters was delightful. The only aspect I would forewarn other readers about is this book does not venture on the adult side; it is straight up young adult.

As much as I enjoyed this story, the ending was very rushed. There was quite a build-up leading to a rather frustrating ending. I wanted more of the backstory of the Mumbler, there were so many questions unanswered, I wanted the origin of this urban legend. That would be my major complaint about this book.

All things considered, The Missing Season by Gillian French was an enjoyable read. It brought back some fun and humorous memories of my days back in high school, it captivated my imagination of the urban legend and it was a page-turner. Besides the rushed ending, I think many would find this pleasant.

Thank you to Harper Teen and Gillian French for sending me an ARC of this book, in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for ivy francis.
546 reviews28 followers
July 26, 2019
Full review: https://bookpeopleteens.wordpress.com...

Fear Him

Gillian French’s The Missing Season is a perfectly balanced thriller that keeps you constantly wanting to know more and read on. The language was beautiful and surprising, the characters were classically relatable, and every plotline was perfectly weaved together. Rating: three blue Jell-O balloon bombs/five

For fans of: The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart, Wilder Girls by Rory Power, There's Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins

Favorite quotes:
- “That I was tasting the real world instead of the stale gerbil pellets of this place all day.”
- “With the right person maybe you can never get too intimate, never go too far.”
- “But maybe there’s a point where freedom just becomes loneliness, living without a compass, lost in your own life.”
Profile Image for Siobhan Ward.
1,106 reviews8 followers
November 13, 2020

I think I would have liked this better if I were a teenager. To be fair, it's a YA book, so I'm not the intended audience and I definitely felt it. So much of the book was devoted to Clara running around with the "wrong crowd" which didn't do a lot in terms of building the plot... If the whole book had been written like the last 50 pages, it would have been great, but way too much time was devoted to brooding boys and skateparks. Sure, in my teens I might have found that to be an engaging plot, but in my 20s it just felt like a plot that went nowhere.

The idea of a mysterious figure kidnapping/killing teens is fine. It's definitely overdone, but done the right way it can still be a worthwhile read. This book really didn't have any build up to the ending, it just happened. I don't even know if the ending would be considered a "twist" since so little happened in the first 200+ pages that there wasn't really anything to twist. The ending just kind of popped out of nowhere and the book was over.
Profile Image for exorcismemily.
1,265 reviews338 followers
May 17, 2019

The Missing Season was my first Gillian French book, and it was an entertaining read! This is a YA mystery with light horror tones set in a small town. I liked the gloomy setup and characters. The descriptions of the setting are done well, and it was easy to get invested in everything that was going on.

I wish that the story would have been more focused on the friendship between Clara, Bree, and Sage instead of on Clara's romantic relationship. I feel like there was a missed opportunity here; an awesome friendship stands out to me so much more than another basic relationship. I liked the characters in this book.

I was not thrilled about the final reveal. I don't feel like there was enough leading up to it, and it was kind of disconnected from the rest of the story. Although I had some issues, I did enjoy this book, and I would like to read more from this author.
Profile Image for Brianas_best_reads.
360 reviews18 followers
April 2, 2019
A huge thank you to Gillian French and Harper Teen for sending me a free ARC of “The Missing Season”. Every town has one- their own monster that lurks in the shadows. So many stories are passed on about this monster to the point where no one knows what to believe. Is he real? Does he wait out in the woods? Every October in the town of Pender another kid goes missing. Parents are unsure what to believe, but the teens of the town know exactly who took them- a horrific monster known as the Mumbler. After moving several times in her life, Clara’s family comes to Pender and she immediately falls in with a new crew of friends. They show her where they hang out and tell her tales of the Mumbler and the victims he has already claimed. Soon, October rolls around and another kid goes missing. Was it the Mumbler or is something more horrifying happening in the town of Pender? 📚 📚

I haven’t read a YA mystery in a long time, but this was just the one to get me back into them! Reading this book transported me back to when I was a teen and my neighbors and I would spend all day and all night outside hanging out. I saw pieces of myself in some of the main characters and really enjoyed following their stories. Both spooky and chilling, there were parts of this story that made me jump and want to check under my bed and in my closet. The mystery really kept me guessing all the way until the end and each time I thought I had it figured out it turns out I didn’t. Overall this book receives 4 ⭐️ from me for being a fantastic and spooky mystery! I would highly recommend this book to lovers of YA books or anyone who enjoys a good mystery. “The Missing Season” is on sale 5/21/19 so don’t miss out! 👻🎃
Profile Image for Anastasia Hopcus.
Author 8 books472 followers
October 11, 2019
If you're looking for a spooky October read definitely grab The Missing Season! It doesn't jump 100% into the scary straight away, which is a plus in my book. You really grow to care about the characters in a way that leads to MAJOR tension the further you get into the story. I didn't want anything bad to happen to any of them! Also, the creep factor in The Missing Season is insidious. While reading, I thought, 'Oh, that's kind of spooky...' But I was so wrapped up in the superbly written relationship dynamics of these characters I adored, that I didn't really notice the creeps much. Until I tried to go to sleep at night!😂 (I may have had to switch on the lights more than once.) The story is more slow-burn horror (minus the unnecessary gore) with great character development than a who-done-it type mystery---and I did not see the end coming! Or maybe I just missed some mystery breadcrumbs because I was so very tangled up in the Bree/Clara/Kincaid-ness of it all.🙈 But I was also super happy with how it ended. It's all wrapped up so I don't feel cheated if it's a standalone but I would also totally jump at the chance to get lost in this world again!
Profile Image for S.M. Parker.
Author 3 books188 followers
July 4, 2018
Another brilliant mystery by Gillian French!!!
Profile Image for Demetra.
Author 2 books191 followers
July 15, 2019
Another addictive suspense thriller from Gillian French. I loved the slow-building tension and suspense between the characters and sympathized with Clara's plight as she tried to navigate a new town, tentative female friendships, and the boy that's captivated her all while trying to decide if the local legend surrounding The Mumbler were true. I devoured this book and spent much of my reading time trying to decide which of the characters was playing part to the legend and I was always wrong. I did not see the villain coming and I bet you won't either. This is Scooby-Doo all grown up with several parts Stephen King (think the woods and small town vibe of Pet Semetary) and a healthy dose of Halloween. A must read for lovers of suspense within the thriller genre.
Profile Image for Jessica.
997 reviews37 followers
May 20, 2019
Thanks to HarperTeen for the free copy in exchange for my honest review

3.5 stars - rounded up for rating

Last year I had read THE LIES THEY TELL by Gillian French and loved it, so when I read the synopsis for THE MISSING SEASON I was so excited when I received a copy. A small town with an urban legend that lurks in the woods. As you know, I’m a huge fan of anything reminiscent of Slenderman and urban legends in the same vein. So this was a must-read for me.

This one is set in a small town and we see solely from Clara’s perspective. As the new kid in school she struggles to find friends until she meets Bree and Sage. We get to see as their friendship blossoms and how Clara is accepted into their group with Trace and Kincaid. When Clara is told the urban legend of The Mumbler she begins to see things in the woods and hear things at night in her room. They say he only gets his power if you believe in him – once you know it can’t be unknown.

We get the high school crushes and they drama that goes along with two girls liking the same guy – and then the subsequent fallout when he chooses one over the other. The teenage pranks pulled on their high school around Halloween time. The superstitions around Halloween that they all have about The Mumbler and when he strikes – multiple kids have been killed over the years and despite them being considered freak accidents, the kids all know it’s The Mumbler.

The only thing that brought my rating down a bit was that I found it so hard to concentrate in the beginning. It was a slower build to the eerie and creepy events that I was anticipating. Once the action and suspense picked up, I was sucked in and was able to finish up the last half of the book in an under two hours. I wasn’t expecting that ending, at all. I wish there was a little more to it than the last chapter or two, but it definitely tied together everything that had been happening in this quiet little town.

Overall, a solid YA mystery and perfect for those that are fans of the genre or for someone wanting a lighter mystery to read. A creepy urban legend, dark and dense woods, and disappearing teenagers. What more could you want?
Profile Image for Margi.
188 reviews3 followers
July 11, 2019
I read this one during daylight hours. Clara’s moved to a new small town where kids have been disappearing or dying. Is it the Mumbler? Kids chant a nursery rhyme about the Mumbler and graffiti can be sighted throughout town advising to “Fear him.” Is he real or just a myth designed to get kids inside before it gets dark? French has crafted a creep and well-written YA thriller.
Profile Image for Jolene Haack.
939 reviews26 followers
December 19, 2019
What a delightful romp.

So much of YA lately turns its sixteen-year-olds into adults in a way that makes reading these books as an adult enjoyable but isn't really authentic.

But oh, this book. While it's somewhere along the spectrum of thriller/horror, the way it portrays its characters had me grinning ear to ear. Because, yes, the skate park is the world's coolest thing when you're in tenth grade. And the boy with the wallet chain and patch beard and skateboard is unbearably sexy when you're sixteen. Nobody is bulging with muscles and sex appeal. These are KIDS. And it works so well! Their emotions and experiences are handled so tenderly. They need their moms and their friendships are rocked by unrequited crushes.

I may have gotten so carried away with how much I loved the actual teenage experience that I forgot to care about the mystery. It's honestly sort of second place and the pay off is brief and not totally satisfying. But the book hooked me with the glimpse back into teenage life (although I was never this cool) so I wasn't disappointed.
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