Nostalgia Meets Suspense in Jess Lourey’s The Quarry Girls

The Quarry Girls transports readers to St. Cloud, Minnesota, in 1977, where the summer holds more than just fun and games for teens Heather and Brenda. This seemingly idyllic town is known for late-night swimming parties at the quarry, the county fair, and adventures in the mysterious tunnels beneath the city. However, the summer turns dark when the friends witness something unforgettable in the tunnels and make a pact to keep it secret.

Their vow is tested when their friend becomes the second girl to vanish in a week, and the authorities show a disturbing reluctance to investigate. As Heather and Brenda dig into the town’s hidden past, they uncover dangerous secrets that powerful residents will go to great lengths to protect.

Lourey’s writing is a masterful blend of suspense and coming-of-age themes, with a vivid sense of place that brings the 1970s to life. Readers are treated to cultural references like Swanson TV Dinners, Sean Cassidy, harvest gold telephones with cords that stretched for miles, Dorothy Hamill’s famous haircut, JELL-O 1-2-3, and so many others.

Despite its dark theme, the book has moments of wit and humor, making it a well-rounded read. Some plot transitions feel abrupt, and minor grammatical errors should have been caught, but these issues don’t overshadow the overall experience.

Lourey sets the tone by referencing real-life serial murders in Minnesota, eliciting fear and intrigue from the start. The tunnels and characters are genuinely creepy, creating an atmosphere of suspense that keeps readers on edge.

For me, the nostalgia and the quick-paced story made this a memorable read. The setting’s proximity to my home is a bonus. The Quarry Girls is a haunting tale of friendship, courage, and the lengths we go to protect those we love. 4 stars.

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