The Children on the Hill

The Children on the Hill

“The Children on the Hill,” is the first book I read from Jennifer McMahon. I was thrilled when I requested a copy from NetGalley that they accepted my request. The story has two dual timelines one in 1978 and the other one in 2019. In 1978 at a famous treatment center in Vermont, psychiatrist Dr. Helen Hildreth is famous for her compassionate work with mentally ill patients. Helen is also known by her grandchildren Violet and Eric as Gran. Gran brings home a girl named Iris who doesn’t remember who she is or acts like a normal girl. Violet and Eric invite her to be a part of their monster club though not everything is as it seems. In 2019 famous blogger, podcaster and t.v. lady Lizzy Shelley comes to Vermont to investigate a monster sighting who many suspect has been kidnapping young girls. Lizzy has a sinking feeling though that her sister is behind this. While it’s entertaining, it was slow at first and it felt like the story didn’t know who they wanted as their target audience. It read like a bad Scooby Doo fanfiction mixed with stories about mental hospitals.



I like the setting of Vermont. I also like how you wouldn’t think the dual timelines work it manages to. I also enjoyed the newspaper clippings about the mental hospital that slowly places what dark secrets were brewing at the place. I liked the side characters better than the main characters like Julia that journalist from 1978 and the nurse Patty who was the niece of one of the doctors. I will give credit where credit is due I did not see how it was going to end like I thought I would.



Unfortunately I was able to see the obvious twist about Dr. Helen and what was going on at the hospital and the twist about not just Iris, but with Violet and Eric and how two of these characters are now Lizzy and Charles. Also in 1978 Violet was 13 years old but yet she has this monster obsession and the way she acts way younger than 13. Also Lizzy was stupid for allowing the constables son Shink in getting involved with dangerous situations. While the main characters were not unlikeable they weren’t that interesting either. I have to agree with other reviewers who reviewed it that it was just too predictable. Like I mentioned above the story seemed confused about whom the target audience is. Is this book for kids? Is this book for adults?



Overall it was worth the read. Is it the worst book in the world? No. After all I did stay up till 1 in the morning finishing it. Did the book have its flaws? Yes. Thank you again NetGalley for allowing me to read this book early. “The Children on the Hill,” will be published on April 26th just three days before my 30th birthday on the 29th. I definitely want to read more from Jennifer McMahon in the future.