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.
Horror After Dark Review
I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of this book set before the events that take place in the Stranger Things Netflix series. I mean, I love Stranger Things on tv, but would I love a book set before Eleven, Chief Hopper, and Dustin and Steve’s unlikely bromance hit the screen? I wasn’t sure.
We learn all about Eleven’s mom, Terry, who is a college student when she gets involved with Dr. Brenner and his human experiments for nefarious purposes. At first it’s the chance to do something good for the world which is currently sending its boys off to die in Vietnam that pulls her in, later it’s the friendships and strong bonds she develops with the other experimentees and the five year old little girl called 008 who is kept prisoner at the facility that keep her going back. As they all get in deeper and one of them starts seeing monsters, they come to realize that Dr. Brenner may be up to no good. No good at all! Terry starts snooping and gets herself in so deep she may never get out.
This book is less about monsters than it is about science experiments, unexpected friendships and uncovering a devious government project. It has engaging characters, is emotionally painful and lacks the humorous bits of the series but I did not want to stop reading. It’s a terrific addition to the show and a fascinating story all on its own and I highly recommend it.
About The Author
Gwenda Bond is the author of many novels, primarily for young adults. Among others, they include the Lois Lane trilogy, which brings the iconic comic book character front and center in her own YA novels, and the Cirque American trilogy, about daredevil heroines who discover magic and mystery lurking under the big top. She and her husband author Christopher Rowe also co-write a middle grade series, the Supernormal Sleuthing Service. Her first mystery project for adults, Dead Air, a novel and podcast written with Carrie Ryan and Rachel Caine, is out now, and in 2019 she’ll release a Stranger Things prequel. She co-hosts the weekly podcast Cult Faves.
Her nonfiction writing has appeared in Publishers Weekly, Locus Magazine, Salon, the Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. She has an MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in a hundred-year-old house in Lexington, Kentucky, with her husband and their unruly pets. There are rumors she escaped from a screwball comedy, and she might have a journalism degree because of her childhood love of Lois Lane. She writes a monthlyish letter you can sign up for at www.tinyletter.com/gwenda. Visit her online at www.gwendabond.com or @gwenda on Twitter.