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Providence
Cover of Providence
Providence
A Novel
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"Part love story, part supernatural thriller and completely engrossing" (People)—from the acclaimed author of You, now a hit Netflix series "A dark beauty of a book, Providence kept me up at...
"Part love story, part supernatural thriller and completely engrossing" (People)—from the acclaimed author of You, now a hit Netflix series "A dark beauty of a book, Providence kept me up at...
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  • "Part love story, part supernatural thriller and completely engrossing" (People)—from the acclaimed author of You, now a hit Netflix series

    "A dark beauty of a book, Providence kept me up at night with characters that made my heart a little bigger."—Jessica Knoll, New York Times bestselling author of Luckiest Girl Alive

    Best friends in small-town New Hampshire, Jon and Chloe share an intense, near-mystical bond. But before Jon can declare his love for his soul mate, he is kidnapped, and his plans for a normal life are permanently dashed. Four years later, Jon reappears. He is different now: bigger, stronger, and with no memory of the time he was gone. Jon wants to pick up where he and Chloe left off—until the horrifying instant he realizes he possesses strange powers that pose a grave threat to everyone he cares for. Afraid of hurting Chloe, Jon runs away, embarking on a journey for answers.

    Meanwhile, in Providence, Rhode Island, healthy college students and townies with no connection to one another are inexplicably dropping dead. A troubled detective prone to unexplainable hunches, Charles "Eggs" DeBenedictus suspects there's a serial killer at work. But when he starts asking questions, Eggs is plunged into a shocking whodunit he never could have predicted.

    With an intense, mesmerizing voice, Caroline Kepnes makes keen and powerful observations about human connection and how love and identity can dangerously blur together.

    NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY REAL SIMPLE

    "Providence is a novel that doesn't fit into one box—it's tender and dark, eerie and cool, heartbreaking but also an affirmation of the power of love. Kepnes perfectly captures each character's struggle and pain in such a unique, unconventional way that every page—every sentence—is a delightful surprise."—Sara Shepard, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Pretty Little Liars
    "Caroline Kepnes is cool right this minute. . . . [Providence is] terrifically conceived and executed. . . . Kepnes has an exhilarating, poppy, unexpected voice."The New York Times Book Review
    "An addictive horror-tinged romance that'll keep you guessing."Entertainment Weekly

Excerpts-

  • From the book Jon

    I brung Pedro home for Thanksgiving break and tomorrow I have to bring him back to school. You're not supposed to say brung. You're supposed to say brought. But I like the way brung sounds, like you're cold and ringing a bell. Brrrrunggggg. Nobody can kick your ass for what you think in your mind, not even your mom. Mine is stirring spaghetti sauce on the stove and shaking her head at me.

    "Get that rat outta my kitchen," she says.

    "Pedro's not a rat," I say. "He's a hamster."

    My mom doesn't budge. "Whatever he is, he's not staying in my kitchen. I'm not gonna keep repeating myself, Jon. Take that thing outside. Now."

    She always calls it my kitchen, same way my dad calls the TV my TV and the puffy chair my chair. My only territory is my bedroom. I guess my shed too, but that's in the woods and technically it belongs to Mrs. Curry. Everything else, in the house, indoors, belongs to my parents.

    I take Pedro outside to the swing set even though I'm too old for it. He shivers.

    "Come on, little guy," I say. "You're from New Hampshire. You can handle it."

    The truth is, I don't know if Pedro was born here. Maybe he was born in Bermuda and got shipped here. This is my home, where I started. I was born at Derry Hospital outside of Nashua. Three days before Carrig Birkus. Sometimes, when he's kicking my ass, I think about how we were in the hospital at the same time. I picture us as newborns in nearby cribs. I see our dads waving at us. We were equals in a way. Back then you probably couldn't tell us apart. But now we're opposite. Carrig is a jock. One of those guys with buddies. His life is keg parties and girls. He cracks a joke and everyone laughs, and he knows how to speak to people, how to get to them. Last month his picture was in the window at Rolling Jack's, the sports store in the mall. He was ATHLETE OF THE MONTH.

    I'm not anything of the month. Chloe laughed when I said that to her.

    "That's a good thing," she said. "The worst thing you can do is peak in middle school."

    She always says the right thing, the nice thing. I can picture her photo and her name up at another store, PERSON OF THE MONTH. I'd never say that though. I know that much.

    Tomorrow we go back to school, which means seeing her again, Chloe Smells Like Cookies. That's what I call her in my head. Every time my mom makes cookies, no matter what they are, oatmeal raisin or chocolate chip or caramel, they smell like Chloe. Chloe Smells Like Cookies doesn't make fun of me. She sits with me at lunch even though the other girls laugh at her and the other guys tell her she is wasting her time on a faggot.

    Chloe hates that word. She says after high school she's gonna live in New York City where nobody uses that word. She thinks the people in our school have small brains and small hearts. She says New York is like Sesame Street for grown-­ups, everyone has big hearts and you can be anything you want to be. She was there for Thanksgiving this week. Her parents took her to see the parade. She saw all the floats when they were shriveled and flat on the ground.

    We've been texting a lot all week. She says I'd love New York.

    It's so much bigger than New Hampshire even though it's smaller, you know?

    I get it, Chloe. I wish I was there.

    Of course you do. You always get it!

    My mom yells: "Dinner!"

    I write back fast: See you tomorrow.

    She sends me a smiley face. That's code for Me too, Jon.

    The house smells like spaghetti and broccoli, and my mom asks if I left Pedro outside and I tell her I did even though he's in my pocket. My dad picks up the broccoli and puts it in the...

About the Author-

  • Caroline Kepnes is the author of You and Hidden Bodies. She has worked as a pop-culture journalist for Entertainment Weekly and as a TV writer on 7th Heaven and The Secret Life of the American Teenager. Originally from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, she now lives in Los Angeles.

Reviews-

  • Library Journal

    January 1, 2018

    Escaping from the mad-scientist substitute teacher who kidnapped him, Jon discovers that he now has dangerous powers. From the author of CWA New Blood short-listed You.

    Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 12, 2018
    One winter morning, middle schooler Jon Bronson, the hero of this engrossing supernatural thriller from Kepnes (You), disappears from his home in Nashua, N.H. Four years later, Jon awakens in a basement room, no longer a boy but a strapping young man, with no memory of his captivity. Next to him is a battered copy of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dunwich Horror containing a letter from high school teacher Roger Blair, who explains that he’s been in a medically induced coma and is fine, except that he now has an unspecified special power. The joy of Jon’s return home and reunion with his best and only friend, Chloe, who never stopped searching for him, is short-lived once Jon realizes that his power endangers others. He goes looking for Roger in Providence, R.I., where police detective Charles “Eggs” DeBenedictus soon becomes fixated with the sudden deaths of healthy college students and local residents. As Eggs hunts for an elusive killer and Jon seeks answers to what happened to him, each risks losing the people they love. Kepnes provides readers with a spellbinding examination of what keeps people human. Agent: Claudia Ballard, WME Entertainment.

  • Kirkus

    April 15, 2018
    The mysterious return of a kidnapped boy is more curse than blessing in this novel--which is equal parts love story, thriller, and horror tale.In Nashua, New Hampshire, young teen Jon Bronson is the sort of boy who loves newspapers and hamsters and takes the long way to school to avoid bullies. He also loves fellow teen and popular budding artist Chloe Sayers, though he never admits as much. Kepnes (Hidden Bodies, 2016, etc.) nails the tentative feelings that develop between kids from different middle school social strata. When Jon vanishes one morning--it's revealed early on that his kidnapper is local substitute teacher Roger Blair--the relative speed with which the town's interest wanes is nearly as devastating as his disappearance, a narrative trick Kepnes pulls off seamlessly. Four years later, a more muscular Jon emerges from the local mall with no memory of his captivity and a new obsession with the work of H.P. Lovecraft, particularly the novel The Dunwich Horror, which features a man named Wilbur Whateley, with whom Jon begins to identify. Soon after Jon's return, strange things begin happening to the people around him, from getting nosebleeds to fainting and even having a fatal heart attack. Jon disappears again, voluntarily this time, fearing that, like Wilbur, he's the monster whose mere presence causes sickness and death. Kepnes follows Jon, Chloe, and Charles "Eggs" DeBenedictus, a detective from Providence, Rhode Island, over the years as they live their separate but interconnected lives: Jon in Providence under two assumed names; Chloe in New York City as an artist who shot to fame with her initial paintings of Jon during his disappearance; and Eggs as he investigates a series of seemingly unlinked heart-attack deaths of young people. As the three come closer to one another and are repelled by either choice or circumstances, the question of sacrificing love for safety becomes painfully clear to everyone.Kepnes, whose previous novels deftly dealt with obsessive love, changes gears here and injects into this "Beauty and the Beast"-like story a deeper allegory about how far we'll go to protect the things we love the most.

    COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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