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The Book of Essie

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  4,850 Ratings  ·  794 Reviews
A debut novel of family, fame, and religion that tells the emotionally stirring, wildly captivating story of the seventeen-year-old daughter of an evangelical preacher, star of the family's hit reality show, and the secret pregnancy that threatens to blow their entire world apart.

Esther Ann Hicks--Essie--is the youngest child on Six for Hicks, a reality television phenome
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published June 12th 2018 by Knopf
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Popular Answered Questions
Lauren I agree with this. I get why her point of view was added, but it felt like her story was too rushed and not thought out well enough. It did completely…moreI agree with this. I get why her point of view was added, but it felt like her story was too rushed and not thought out well enough. It did completely pull you away from the Essie/Roarke storyline too often.(less)
Carrie A No. The sexual content was rape. It was just mentioned, not described. The worst that you will read is that she was choked if she didn't cooperate.…moreNo. The sexual content was rape. It was just mentioned, not described. The worst that you will read is that she was choked if she didn't cooperate. That was one time. There is no sexual content or swear words. This would be a great bookclub book. (less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Larry H
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars, rounded up.

Praise the lord!

How quick we are to judge people, even if (or especially) when we don't know them. This is even more the case where celebrities are concerned—we think we know the people we see on television or read about in magazines, yet quite often they're far more complex, and their lives are more complicated than we could ever imagine.

Esther "Essie" Hicks has spent nearly every minute of her life in the public eye. Her family has been a reality show staple with Six for
Meredith B.  (readingwithmere)
4.5 Stars!

I finally finished another BOTM book in the same month I got it! I read this as a buddy read with the #essiebuddies on Instagram and it's really sparked some great stories and outlooks on mega churches and religious experiences!

Essie is a seventeen year old girl. Her father is a Preacher in a Mega Church and her family are stars of the show Six for Hicks (Think Duggars but not as many kids). Essie is the youngest of the bunch. The family has one persona on the TV that people either lov

For a long time, I didn’t read stories with religious themes. Not because I was prejudiced against them. On the contrary, I tried a few when I was a teen, and they seemed too ‘‘preachy’’ for me.

So because I had bad experiences with those, I thought the theme was just, well, not for me. Little did I know, not all books exploring similar themes and topics read the same way and include the same content.

In this case, for instance, while Essie’s family is religious – clearly,
Feb 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Every once in a while, a novel comes along that is both timelessly beautiful and unbelievably timely. The Book of Essie is such a story. Meghan MacLean Weir has given us a young heroine who is at once authentic and courageous — and a tale that is wonderful and mysterious and relentlessly surprising.
Rose (Traveling Sister)

I think it's fitting that I finished this book, just now, on my way to the beach. It's a place that makes me slightly uncomfortable but fascinates me nonetheless. It's a place where the land and sea and sky all meet to create a cleansing experience, both physically and mentally.

After reading The Book of Essie, I'm looking forward to that calm chaos. If it isn't glaringly obvious, I'm in a *mood* after this book, and I need to go to Contemplation Station.

The Book of Essie is ab
Jun 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: botm, i-own-it, 2018
[3.5 stars]
I thought this book was very addictive, especially towards the beginning. The premise alone is very intriguing and I really wanted to know what was going to happen. But after about the 2/3 mark of the story, it kind of went exactly where I was expecting, and by the end I was slightly underwhelmed. In the beginning I was hoping for some big twist or some unexpected element that would have pushed this to a 4 or even 5 star book, but I could see once I got farther in that it was going to
Book of the Month
Why I Love It
by Troian Bellisario

Alright, confession time: I am NOT a fan of reality television. I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it. So when I began reading The Book of Essie, a story about a 17-year-old woman who’s spent her whole life on a reality TV show, I was worried to say the least. Worried, that is, until I realized that this surprisingly gritty girl was actually planning to blow up the show (and her family’s image) from the inside, and she had just the plan to do it.

Essie is the younges
Jul 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Interesting concept, I did enjoy the idea of the book better than the execution. It had all the makings for an excellent read. However I did not fully buy into the characters and storyline, it was all too contrived, with too many themes thrown at you, it was hard to care about the main issue which was a pretty big deal and a major whammy which should have felt like a pivotal moment, instead it felt like it was barely addressed. I should have felt rage and anger but instead I felt nothing. I felt ...more
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaway-win
A solid debut with a timely message.

Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
I enjoyed this book though I didn’t find it to be as “special” as I’d hoped. Full review to follow.
Jamie Rosenblit
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I don’t think I could shout from any more rooftops how much I LOVED #TheBookOfEssie by @meghanmacleanweir - I devoured the entire book in about half a day yesterday... centered around a teen from an evangelical religious family with their own reality show (a la Duggar family) when low and behold, the titular teen is pregnant...what can the family do to save face (and their empire), plan a wedding, of course!
This book is SO unique and well done, the voices of Essie, Rourke and Liberty all have
Mar 09, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lynne
Shelves: general-fiction
Whoa! I am not sure I know how to put into words the way I felt after reading this book. Sick to my stomach for one thing; the subject matter is highly disturbing. Yet, at the same time, there is no denying the novel is utterly riveting. My three star rating has nothing to do with the quality of writing nor the engrossing aspect of the book. Rather, I deducted points because it is so very, very unsettling.
Certainly playing well into the times in which we live, The Book of Essie centers around a
I'm here for the rainbow holographic foil.
Katie B
Seventeen year old Essie Hicks has grown up in front of the camera. Her religious family are the stars of the hit reality program, Six for Hicks. Essie's mother, Celia, is mortified when she finds out Essie is pregnant but she comes up with a plan so the rest of the world won't find out the awful truth. Essie though has a plan of her own and she is going to enlist the help of Roarke, a boy at school who won't give her the time of day, and Liberty, a reporter who knows what it's like to live your ...more
Terri Suda
I can't help but sum this up as a mosh of The Duggers and V.C. Andrews Flowers in the Attic with the tone and readability of Little Fires Everywhere. A quick read - engaging, enjoyable and unique. A good beach read!
Mar 18, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked this well enough to keep going, but it was extremely predictable. It is an easy fast read. Nothing challenging or special about the book. Maybe even a little on the YA side. It brushes on some serious issues, but never gets deep into them. It is more on the feelings of the characters. I left the book feeling very unsatisfied. I loved Rourke but felt the author didn't give him enough voice and brushed over his issues. Without giving any spoilers, I felt the two main issues with Esse and t ...more
Kimmery Martin
May 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Book of Essie is a timely, engrossing, beautifully written story about a pregnant teenager from a famous televangelist family. I was immediately hooked by the premise and the questions it raises: How will Essie's family react when they find out and how will they manage the scandal? Who is the father of her baby? What will happen to her? The answers to these questions are unraveled through the voices of Essie, her friend Roarke, and Liberty, a television journalist with her own background tra ...more
Essie Hicks, at seventeen, is the youngest child of the hit religious reality television show "Six for Hicks". Being brought up in the limelight has its complications, challenges, and shortcomings especially when Essie finds herself unwed and pregnant; a publicity nightmare. This debut novel is filled with such grit, insight, maturity, and determination from such a young character. A very well written piece of fiction and although it is geared for an adult audience it will have a great appeal to ...more
Jun 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
*my BOTM pick for June Box*
I was super disappointed by this book. For the heavy subject matter this book deals in, the tone feels much too light. On top of that, characters don't really act (and react) like real people. I went into this with expectations it was adult literary fiction, but it read like YA, with three alternating first person narrators, two of whom are teenagers. There's nothing wrong with that, and I've read some excellent YA that does handle serious topics like the ones in this book very well, but the com ...more
Stacey A.  Prose and Palate
Jun 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-reads
4.5 Stars. Damn that was good.
Erin *Help I’m Reading and I Can’t Get Up*
4.25 stars.

Really, really good!

Okay so there are three things I love a lot in life:
1. Religious drama
2. Reality television
3. Books that have NO CHILL and are ABSOLUTELY fictionalizing something that really happened


So, if you know anything about the Duggar family and their TLC show(s), you'll know exactly what's going on here from the beginning. There's not a lot of mystery to be had here. But it is SENSATIONAL and JUICY and filled with HOT, HOT DRAMA and I couldn't put it
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Themes of fame, media, reality television obsession, deceit, and familial secrecy. Well written, but with some unsurprising, contrived elements.
Jessica Sullivan
How far would you go to gain freedom and control over your life? The answer for Essie Hicks is: as far as it takes.

Essie is the sixth child of a famous Evangelical preacher who is the subject of a long-standing reality TV show. She came of age in the spotlight, her whole life engineered by her controlling mother to present the best image of a happy family and maintain their ratings.

But when Essie becomes pregnant at age 17, she finally takes the reigns, creating an elaborate plan to escape her f
Told in three perspectives, The Book of Essie is the story of what happens when a Christian reality TV family finds out one of the daughters is pregnant. They will go to any length to protect their reputation, celebrity, show, and ultimately -- power and wealth.

Essie, 17, is pregnant. Her parents have decided that the best way to deal with the situation is to marry her off quickly and pretend the baby belongs to the husband. Essie doesn't like her life in the spotlight and disagrees with what
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a 3.5 stars.

The synopsis immediately caught my attention and was compelling enough for me to keep going when I was largely bored with the characters. The development was slow to bring out the character's stories and that left about the first half just a bit dry for me.

The story was culturally relevant, and current with the times. The Book of Essie catches society's love affair with "reality tv" as it depicts a family of religious zealots living in front of cameras - the protagonist havi
Amber Garabrandt
May 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing


Essie is the youngest of Pastor Hick’s children, and has lived her life on television for her family’s show Six for Hicks. It doesn’t really allow for a normal childhood or life in general. Everyone thinks they know her from the show… but they know nothing- and she’s ready to change that.

Rourke is the handsome school athlete. Everyone likes him- he has the looks, grades, and talent. Unfortunately that won’t get him far without money- college is expensive and his parents are about to loos
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book hooked me from the very beginning, and I gobbled it up in just a few sittings. As someone who is fascinated by families like the Duggars, this was a compelling read. Essie and Roarke were by far my favorite, and I rooted for them until the very end. I was captivated by both the inner workings of Essie's family and Libby's childhood -- which had threads that wove them together in interesting ways. However, I was disappointed by the ending, which felt rushed and oversimplified. After spe ...more
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
I just meant to start this tonight, not finish it in one sitting! Better review later, but if you're on ONTD I think you'd want to bump this up your queue.
Kristina V. Ramos
Jun 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Dear Doctors,
Please, stop trying to write...
4⭐ for the plot
2⭐for the writing
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Bella Vita Book Club: The Book Of Essie 1 9 Jun 04, 2018 08:22AM  
Book of The Month: The Book of Essie Discussion 1 27 Jun 01, 2018 09:15AM  

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“It's men who trust they will suffer no consequences for their actions, while women suffer no matter what they do.” 2 likes
“I doubt very much that the lengths of wood we nail together into a frame could be considered up to code, but we do the best we can. I suspect they will take it all apart and start over as soon as we are gone, but it looks good on camera since Jesus was a carpenter. Daddy would say that segments like this lend an air of humility to the show, but he says it while wearing a three-hundred-dollar tie, so I'm not entirely sure he knows what the word humility really means.” 1 likes
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