Clever Little Thing: A Novel (Hardcover)

Clever Little Thing: A Novel By Helena Echlin Cover Image
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"Sharp and unflinching—a perfectly unnerving story." —Ashley Audrain, New York Times bestselling author of The Push

A taut, powerful mom-noir psychological thriller following a mother who must confront a sudden and terrifying change in her daughter after the abrupt death of their babysitter

Charlotte’s daughter Stella is sensitive and brilliant, perhaps even a genius, but a recent change in her behavior has alarmed her parents. Following the sudden death of Stella’s babysitter, Blanka, the once disruptive and anti-social child has become docile and agreeable. But what’s unsettling is that she has begun to mirror Blanka’s personality, from Blanka’s repetitive phrases to her accent, to fierce cravings for Armenian meat stew after being raised a vegetarian.

Charlotte is pregnant with her second child, and depleted and sick with the pregnancy. She is convinced that Blanka herself is somehow responsible for Stella’s transformation. But how could Blanka, dead, still be entwined in their lives? Has Blanka somehow possessed Stella? Has Stella become Blanka? As Charlotte becomes increasingly obsessed, she is sure that only she can save her daughter. . . even though it’s soon clear that her husband believes this is all in Charlotte’s head.

Helena Echlin’s singular, chilling voice holds light to the blurred lines of diagnosis in children and to the vital power of maternal instinct. Kaleidoscopic and tense, pulse-pounding and genuinely creepy, and infused with shades of the supernatural, Clever Little Thing is an ode to motherhood and a nuanced critique of the caretaking industry, a page-turner that will haunt readers long after its epic, surprising finale.

About the Author

Helena Echlin has written for numerous publications on both sides of the Atlantic, including The Guardian and The Times. She taught at Stanford University for eight years and has recently returned to the UK, where she now teaches fiction writing for Oxford University’s Department of Continuing Education. She lives in Oxfordshire with her husband and two children.

Praise For…

Praise for Clever Little Thing:

"Goosebumps! Clever Little Thing is a sharp and unflinching twist on mom noir—part psychological thriller, part supernatural horror, this is a perfectly unnerving story with something to say about the collision of motherhood’s love and fear, maternal instinct, and the bond between mothers and daughters."
—Ashley Audrain, New York Times bestselling author of The Push

"Helena Echlin’s Clever Little Thing is a cleverly constructed psychological thriller about the intense pressures of motherhood and the lengths that a mother will go to to protect her children—I found it incredibly moving, tense, and deliciously creepy, and I know that last chapter will stay with me for a very long time."
—Ashley Tate, author of Twenty-Seven Minutes

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593656075
ISBN-10: 0593656075
Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books
Publication Date: January 14th, 2025
Pages: 352
Language: English