Review: The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz

Author: Julia Bartz
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Released: February 21, 2023
Received: Own (BOTM)

4 kitties

Book Summary:

Alex is a struggling writer who has never felt so isolated. You see, a year ago (almost to the day), she lost her best friend and, with her, many of their mutual acquaintances. That took a heavy toll on her mental health, and it’s showing in her writing.

So when she’s given a chance to go on a writing retreat with her favorite author as the host, she doesn’t hesitate. Maybe this is what she needs to get through her horrible writing slump. Only, there are a few problems with this writing retreat, and by the time she learns that – it’s too late.

My Review:

If there’s one thing The Writing Retreat got right, it’s the atmosphere. This was such a chilling and fascinating read. It was like a puzzle to solve, only with a lot more stress and tension! If you’re looking for a book with many twists, check out The Writing Retreat.

Admittedly, it took me a little bit to get into this novel. Actually – thinking back on it, I think I enjoyed the middle part the most. The intro took a bit to get me invested, and the ending could have been stronger. But the intrigue in the middle? Perfection!

One of the best parts of this novel would have to be the steady building of tension. Who’s behind this whole mess? How deep does it go? Will anyone survive? Those are questions that were swimming around my head.

Another plus for The Writing Retreat is the social commentary laced into the story. It’s pretty accurate to call this a feminist thriller. It was a nice touch, if I may say so.


  • Layered Mystery
  • Mystery/Thriller
  • Feminist Vibes

Trigger Warnings:

  • Blood
  • Assault
  • Kidnapping
  • Racism

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About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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