Review – Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds

Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds
  • Writing - 9/10
  • Development - 8/10
  • Overall - 8.5/10
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Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds

Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds is a prequel to the much loved Netflix series. It follows Terry Ives – Eleven’s mother – as she learns the truth about the experimentations she’s agreed to be a part of.              


Suspicious Minds


Following the recent trailer release of Season 3 Stranger Things we decided to review Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond.

This is the first novel in the world of Stranger Things. It’s a prequel, so everything that happens in this novel occurs before the events in the Netflix series – minus flashbacks, of course.

This novel follows Dr. Brenner and Terry Ives. They’re dramatically different perspectives, to put it mildly. Terry is Eleven’s mother, but of course, at the time of this novel, she doesn’t know that yet. She’s a college student with insatiable levels of curiosity. That’s what got her involved in this program, to begin with.

Dr. Brenner…well, we all know him pretty well, assuming everyone reading this has watched the Netflix series. He’s cold and calculating, and doesn’t much care about the cost of life, not if it results with a successful test for one of his projects.


Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds
Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds by Gwenda Bond

I had relatively high expectations going into Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds. I had expected it to be the same quality as the series, and I had hoped that it would reveal some more information about the backstory of some of the characters.

Both my hopes and expectations were met. The world of the Netflix series was perfectly captured here, making it feel like we were coming back home. The details and revelations were insightful. Admittedly not all of the details tied directly back to the original series, but they didn’t have to either.

The information that did tie back though was shocking, at times. My timeline for a couple of different characters was changed. My opinion of Dr. Brenner further reduced (which is saying something). Terry was a shining star in this novel. She was witty and curious and oh so human. It really brought the tragedy of her story home.

Terry became real in this novel, she became more than just Eleven’s mother. It was sometimes painful to see her this way, but in the long run, I think it’ll help carry the story forward.

The new characters introduced in this novel were fascinating, though of course, they all had their own role to play as well. It’d be a spoiler to go into any of their descriptions too much, but let’s just say that there was a lot going on within this single novel.


Gwenda Bond has a talent for writing slowly building up stories. It’s what made her so perfect for writing Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds. Stranger Things follows a similar formula, setting up and dropping hints about what is about to go wrong.

Of course, this being a prequel we already have a good idea of what exactly is going to go wrong. Ironically though, that simply adds to the tension, rather than detracting from it. Knowing that Terry was rushing head first into her horrible fate made what was on the pages that much more intense.

Adding other characters to the program was a good call on Gwenda Bond’s part. Terry and Dr. Brenner are interesting of course, but their fates are set in stone. Giving us other characters to be curious about took away our advantage of having watched the series.

It also gave more opportunities for us to see Terry and Dr. Brenner interact with other characters. It made Terry more human – thus making what happened to her even more tragic. Meanwhile, it made Dr. Brenner seem even colder.

All of the decisions made by the characters in this novel fit in with what we already knew of them. It all made sense, and fit within the already defined rules of the world. Sometimes that’s the hardest thing to get right when switching mediums, so it’s a relief to see it happening here.


Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds is the perfect read for any fan going through withdrawal waiting for the third season to drop. It ties in very strongly with the original series, but it’s also its own entity in many ways. It’s fun and serious and oh so heartbreaking at times.

As a huge fan of the series, I really loved looking for all the new tidbits that were revealed. I also enjoyed trying to see how everything connected between this point of time and the timeline we’re more familiar with. It made for a rewarding experience.


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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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