by Gwenda Bond
Series: Stranger Things #1
Narrator: Kristen Sieh
Length: 8 hours and 56 minutes
Genres: Science Fiction
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 4 .5 cups
A mysterious lab. A sinister scientist. A secret history. If you think you know the truth behind Eleven’s mother, prepare to have your mind turned Upside Down in this thrilling prequel to the hit show Stranger Things.
It’s the summer of 1969, and the shock of conflict reverberates through the youth of America, both at home and abroad. As a student at a quiet college campus in the heartland of Indiana, Terry Ives couldn’t be further from the front lines of Vietnam or the incendiary protests in Washington.
But the world is changing, and Terry isn’t content to watch from the sidelines. When word gets around about an important government experiment in the small town of Hawkins, she signs on as a test subject for the project, codenamed MKUltra. Unmarked vans, a remote lab deep in the woods, mind-altering substances administered by tightlipped researchers . . . and a mystery the young and restless Terry is determined to uncover.
But behind the walls of Hawkins National Laboratory—and the piercing gaze of its director, Dr. Martin Brenner—lurks a conspiracy greater than she could have ever imagined. To face it, she’ll need the help of her fellow test subjects, including one so mysterious the world doesn’t know she exists—a young girl with unexplainable, superhuman powers and a number instead of a name: 008.
Amid the rising tensions of the new decade, Terry Ives and Martin Brenner have begun a different kind of war—one where the human mind is the battlefield.
Stranger Things was our first Netflix series binge, despite owning Netflix since its inception. I was excited when Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond, a prequel to the series came across my desk. The story takes us to 1969, Indiana and into the Hawkins National Laboratory where Dr. Martin Brenner is conducting LSD tests on college students for the CIA. Come along and meet test subject 008.
While fans of the series will appreciate getting the backstory to Eleven’s mom, Terry Ives it isn’t necessary to have watched the series to enjoy this. Bond offered an engaging tale set during the Vietnam War and the drafts. The story introduces to Bloomington college student Terry Ives, and her classmates Alice, Gloria and Ken. Each is a participant in Brenner’s tests and those tests, and the lab lead to abilities, discovers and danger.
If you love Stranger Things, you’ll slip right in to this storyline with its paranormal and urban fantasy vibe. The tests are trippy but a discovery of a young child with incredible abilities soon have Terry and her friends investigating what exactly is happening within the walls of the institute. Danger, men in suits and unthinkable twists and outcomes kept me listening into the wee hours. Everyone’s gifts were unique but what happens to Terry will send chills down your spine.
Suspicious Minds was a fantastic prequel, but it also left the door open for another book or two before Stranger Things. I hope that more are in the works. I would also love to see this brought to Netflix. *fingers-crossed*
Kristen Sieh narrates, and it was my first experience with her. I thought she did a splendid job of delivering the tone and voices for the story and characters. I like when a character speaks and I immediately know by tone and mannerism who is speaking. Such was the case here. I would not hesitate to listen to Sieh again. I listened to the first chapter and normal speed, then bumped it up to 1.3X.
Fans of paranormal, urban fantasy, and suspense thrillers will enjoy this. While aspects were scary, I would not classify this in the horror genre, but light science fiction.
[bctt tweet=”Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond takes us back to 1969, where we meet Terry Ive’s and Subject 008. #StrangerThings #iloveaudiobooks #Sci-Fi #Netflix” username=”kimbacaffeinate”]
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
I love Stranger Things so I will have to at some point read this one. It sounds like I would love it too.
I have never actually watched Stranger Things and I need to do that at some point! Everyone seems to love it 🙂 I think it’s cool that they are making books made off of that series and that you were able to enjoy this prequel one ^.^
Hmm. This is interesting that she’s writing prequels to the TV series. I watched season one and loved it. I had a hard time with season two and never finished. That could’ve been me though. Great review.
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
My OH is toying with the idea of getting NetFlix so we can start streaming all the series we miss out on!
I love the idea of this novel (and series). So much changed in the late 60s that it’s a fascinating time to revisit
Brandee @ (un)Conventional Bookworms
Hmm. I haven’t seen Stranger Things but my younger daughter watches it. If I were to read this, would I be able to talk to her about the show? It sounds pretty neat – and I know you said you don’t have to have watched the show to read this so that’s nice – but I’d also like a way to talk to her about it without watching. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed it, Kimberly!
I have been on the fence with this one if I want to read it or not. Sometimes I dont do well with books after tv shows.Hard for me not to compare. But I think I need to check this one out.
Tyler H. Jolley
Thanks for the excerpt, Kimba. I’m a HUGE Stranger Things fan, so this sounds like a perfect fit!
Wow no wonder you binge watch the series what a mind blowing premise, this sounds good. Thanks Kim
Adriana @ BooksOnHerMind
I was hoping this would have Eleven’s mom in it. It sounds so good! I forget if we met 008 in the show. I know there was another one in the second season but I can’t remember what her name was. I’m happy you rated it so highly. I’ll have to add it to my tbr list 😀
I’ve never seen Stranger Things but this sounds good.
I just started watching Stranger Things. I am currently done watching ep. 3. I don’t know why it took my 2 million years to start watching this show, but I am hooked. I have so much to catch up on!!!
I must confess, I was not aware of this one.
I love binge watching some of my favorite movies. The day flies by while I am in my fantasy world. A great stress reducer.
I haven’t watched that yet, but its on my radar. This is really cool that she wrote a prequel and that its a modern historical time.
Anne - Books of My Heart
I have watched almost nothing on Netflix. I just can’t seem to get to tv for like 3 years. Great review! I want to read this one now.
It’s going to be translated in French but as I haven’t watched the TV show, I’m not sure.
I am so wanting to read this one! So glad you enjoyed it!
Great review Kim,
I am a huge fan of the Netflix series, I was curious about what we would learn about Eleven’s mom. I am glad you liked it, I am looking forward to reading this.
I love the TV show (even though I’m still not done with season two) so I was super curious how the book was/is. Glad to know it wasn’t a bad read at all and fans will like it! I do love that this all takes place before the show. It does sound like it would be a good show too. 😉
So cool. I had no idea this was a thing, and I love the Stranger Things series. I rarely watch TV, but that series caused me to binge hard! I wonder how she got the rights? I will definitely check this out. Thanks for the heads up.
Oh I had no idea this was a thing! I’m a big Stranger Things fan so I’m definitely interested.
Angela @ Simply Angela
I’ve been hooked on Stranger Things now I’m itching to read this! Great review!
the cover is pretty scary, i am kind of interested in knowing what strange powers 008 has?
I love Stranger Things. I would probably enjoy this but I need to wait until the price goes down.