Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds

The First Official Stranger Things Novel
Narrated by: Kristen Sieh
Series: Stranger Things, Book 1
Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (410 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best seller

If you think you know the truth behind Eleven’s mother, prepare to have your mind turned upside down in the first official Stranger Things novel - “[T]he prequel story that fans have been waiting for.” (Kirkus Reviews).  

It’s the summer of 1969, and the shock of conflict reverberates through the youth of America. As a student at a quiet college campus in the heartland of Indiana, Terry Ives couldn’t be farther from the front lines of Vietnam or the protests in Washington. But the world is changing, and Terry isn’t content to watch. 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, code-named MKULTRA. The remote lab, deep in the woods, contains a mystery Terry is determined to uncover. 

Behind the walls of Hawkins National Laboratory - and the piercing gaze of its director, Dr. Martin Brenner - lurks a conspiracy greater than Terry could have ever imagined. To face it, she’ll need the help of her fellow test subjects, including 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. 

Praise for Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds

“You’re left hungry for more, but in the best way possible, as the book manages the balancing act between interconnected prequel and standalone story.” (Cinelinx)   

“Highly recommended for those readers interested in expanding their knowledge of the Stranger Things universe, this book is also a dark and captivating story that will stick in the readers’ minds even if they are not fans of the franchise.” (The Unseen Library)

©2019 Gwenda Bond (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

“You’re left hungry for more, but in the best way possible, as the book manages the balancing act between interconnected prequel and standalone story.” (Cinelinx)

Suspicious Minds is the prequel story that fans have been waiting for.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Highly recommended for those readers interested in expanding their knowledge of the Stranger Things’ universe, this book is also a dark and captivating story that will stick in the readers’ minds even if they are not fans of the franchise.” (The Unseen Library)

What listeners say about Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds

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snore!

Despite Gwenda Bond’s best efforts, this book was 9 hours of waiting for something/anything to happen. The gang volunteers for medical trials of new medications then they punctually attend their appointments. Boom. Move along, nothing to see here.

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Snoozefest

I love Stranger Things, but this book was a boring. The story was predictable, particularly obviously if you watch the show, which is fine. But in-between the obvious bits that you know from the show there is a whole lot of nothing happening. The book is riddled with references to the 60s and 70s that are integrated is the most cringeworthy ways. The book opens with them watching to moon landing on TV! It’s super corny. The ending is semi-satisfying, but overall if you never read this book you won’t be missing much.

That said, the characters were alright. This may have made for a decent one hour episode of the show. But it drags at 8 hours.

2 people found this helpful

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Better than I expected

The narrator's voice grew on me, and I appreciate how easy it was to tell who was talking by how the narrator's voice changed. The story itself is is surprisingly good, though I am a big Stranger Things fan to begin with. That said, the characters are mostly relatable and likeable, with their own motives and development. The villian is even more villianous than we first knew from the show, to great effect. I think this novel adds to the depth of the Stranger Things universe and most fans will enjoy this book.

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Great precursor to TV series

Dr. Martin Brenner and his not so humble beginnings of Hawkins Laboratory. Find out about his early subjects and how a few of Stranger things Netflix series characters enter the scene.
my son (11) and I(35) both enjoyed this one!

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really bad

I found it really cringy. couldn't believe the characters or the story. the book was pointless

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Loved it!

If you are into Stranger Things you will appreciate this book.
A fast paced read

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...

The content was great but the narration sucked. I would recommend the actual book to any stranger things fans

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Decent prequel

Not quite as great as I hoped, written in a pretty pedestrian and bland manner, but with enough interesting background lore and new characters to make it worthwhile for any hardcore fan of Stranger Things.

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Stranger Things Must Read

The book was great. It was a great way to flesh out the mother of Eleven. It was even better to meet the father of Eleven. Brenner is around and is as ruthless as he was in season 1.

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dark but good

I really should’ve been more careful when picking this book for media tie-in. I love Stranger Things, big fan, love the concept, think it’s very well done, etc. I really hate the feeling of dread that comes from knowing things aren’t gonna end well. I’ve got some anxiety issues, and I really don’t read to get more anxiety issues. So why, you may ask, did I pick a book about Eleven’s mum knowing how she ends up? I have no clue but it was not a good choice, and it took me ages to get over the stress and start enjoying this book.

Suspicious Minds (Stranger Things Novels #1) by Gwenda Bond is the story of how Eleven’s mum met doctor Brennan and the experiment she was involved in. We meet her as an energetic young student who wants to change the world. It is set on the backdrop of the Vietnam war and Woodstock.

11’s mum and a few other students sign up for an experiment, to make some extra cash during uni, they make fast friends, and I really enjoyed all the main characters, they quirks and their dynamics as a group. Also the shift in portrayal of doctor Brennan from competent if harsh professional to ruthless monster was interesting. I’m curious to look up how many of the questionable if not outright immoral experiment practices from the book here actually happening during 60s, but afraid to find out. I was worried that it would just be expanding on the plot related to 11’s mum that we see in the show, but it was set well before that. Oh and we see a very young Kali, who is very sweet and powerful.

Personally I loved this next part, but I can imagine some readers would have the opposite reaction. I loved how modern the book felt. I’m not saying that reasonable views about people of color or women wouldn’t have existed back then, just that I haven’t found them in fantasy books all that much. Things like MC’s dad describing the horrors of WW2 concentration camps and how guards could be that horrible and not see that what they were doing was wrong, and how nothing like that could even happen in America, people wouldn’t let it. Or how the smartest person in the group is a black woman and she talks about challenges that raises for her, in town or at school.

Overall I think Suspicious Minds is a great addition to the Stranger Things universe, and fans should give it a try, but maybe not anxious fans like myself.