Watch the Girls


By Jennifer Wolfe

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$9.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around July 10, 2018. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Fame and obsession collide in this darkly twisted novel featuring a former Hollywood starlet with a devastating secret in this psychological thriller People magazine praises as “fast-paced and involving”, from an incredible new voice in suspense.

I’ve been watched all my life. I’m used to being stared at. Observed. Followed.
Washed up teen star Liv Hendricks quit acting after her beloved younger sister inexplicably disappeared following a Hollywood party gone wrong. Liv barely escaped with her life, and her sister was never heard from again. But all this time, someone’s been waiting patiently to finish what was started…

Now fifteen years later, broke and desperate, Liv is forced to return to the spotlight. She crowdfunds a webseries in which she’ll pose as a real-life private detective–a nod to the show she starred on as a teen. When a mysterious donor challenges her to investigate a series of disappearances outside a town made famous by the horror movies filmed there, Liv has no choice but to accept.

Liv is given a cryptic first clue: Follow the white wolf. And now a darker game is about to begin. Through social media, someone is leaving breadcrumbs to follow. As Liv makes increasingly disturbing discoveries, her show explodes in popularity. A rapt internet audience is eager to watch it all–perhaps even at the cost of Liv’s own life…

Filled with provocative twists and turns as the line between plot and reality blurs in this inventive tour-de-force from breakout writer Jennifer Wolfe.
Incredible Acclaim for Watch the Girl:
“Fast-paced and involving.” — People

“Sibling rivalry and Hollywood obsessions collide…Fast-paced and fraught with suspense, WATCH THE GIRLS unravels like a perfect summer-night movie.” — BookPage
“Has all the nightmare fuel of great horror movie camp mixed with an absorbing mystery….There is no denying WATCH THE GIRLS is “nervously-eat-an-entire-box-of-cookies-without-realizing-it” good.” — Shelf Awareness
“A devastating novel that evokes Ingmar Bergman and David Lynch….This disturbing, surrealistic thriller will keep readers spellbound.” — Publishers Weekly

“Debut author Wolfe has created a compelling, sympathetic character in Liv…[This is] a psychologically dark ride through a twisted underworld of fame and desperation, a journey that will keep readers guessing until the shocking ending. ” — Booklist






Celebrity is a mask that eats into the face.

—John Updike

Olivia Hill


17 years old; 109 lbs.


I've been watched nearly as long as I've been alive. I was used to being stared at. Observed. Followed. Probably why I didn't notice we had a shadow until Miranda, the younger of my two little sisters, twisted around in the passenger seat and said, "That car's been on us since we left the house."

A glance in the rearview mirror told me she was right. A black SUV hung back a hundred yards. I would have tried to lose him, but Mulholland Drive—a snaky, two-lane strip of road balanced on the ridgeline of the Santa Monica Mountains—was no place for evasive maneuvers, especially at night. Below us, Los Angeles was a blanket of rusty stars, but Mulholland was lit only by the occasional lights of foliage-cloistered, multimillion-dollar homes.

"One of the usuals?" I asked, referring to the gaggle of photographers who stalked my other sister, Gemma, and me so regularly we had their license plates memorized. We knew their nicknames. Their girlfriends' and wives' names. Even a few of their birthdays.

"He's too far away. I can't tell." Miranda faced forward again. "We should go back."

"Gemma needs us."

Miranda snorted. It was an ugly sound. Too bitter for her age. Fourteen and already jaded, but justifiably so.

"Neither of us can give Gemma what she needs." She dug absently at the dime-size hole she'd gouged in her arm that morning. There were others hidden from view on her legs and back. A few years ago, Desiree (I stopped calling her Mom after she appointed herself my manager) took Miranda to a Beverly Hills psychiatrist to find out what was wrong with her. What she really wanted was to know why Miranda wasn't like Gemma and me. Why didn't she want to act or sing or dance or model? Why didn't she cooperate and justify her existence in Desiree's life? Why didn't she earn?

Anxiety, depression, perhaps a dash of ADD and a sprinkle of OCD. That's what the shrink proclaimed, and wrote several prescriptions. But no combination of pills would change Miranda's circumstances. With a different mother, a different set of sisters, growing up in a different city, she might have been a different girl. One who didn't pick at an unblemished canvas of skin until it was spattered in sores. Who didn't wake up every morning knowing the woman who gave birth to her would have traded her in for another model if she could have, preferably a model who wanted to model.

Behind us, the road went dark. I checked the rearview again and sighed in relief. The headlights were gone.

"She wouldn't lift a finger for you unless it was scripted," Miranda said, continuing to scrape at her wound. There was no love lost between my sisters. Gemma followed Desiree's lead and treated Miranda with the same cold dismissal as our mother did. So I wasn't sure why I'd dragged Miranda with me to retrieve Gemma, except there had been something in Gemma's voice when she called, a note of terrorized, alcohol-slurred desperation, and I didn't want to go alone.

Olivia, can you come get me? I'm at a party. I don't know whose. I just need to get out of here. Don't tell Desiree. Please hurry. I want to come home. I can't live like this anymore. I can't be this person anymore.

She had said it in an urgent whisper, like she was afraid someone might overhear. What was I supposed to do, tell her no? I'd never heard her sound like that. Weakened. Vulnerable. If Miranda had heard her, even she might have softened toward Gemma.

I can't be this person anymore…

I'd waited a long time for Gemma to say those words. I hoped she still meant them when she was safe and sober.

So here we were, after midnight, racing toward some sleazy Hollywood party in the red BMW Desiree had bought me for my seventeenth birthday. A car I hadn't asked for, purchased with money from my trust fund that I was not allowed to access until I was eighteen, just a few months away, thank God. At the rate Desiree was spending the money Gemma and I earned on our show, there would be nothing left by the time we were able to touch it. Desiree claimed there was plenty to go around, and it wasn't like Gemma and I were going to stop working, so we ought to enjoy our success. Gemma didn't argue with Desiree. She already had a taste for Dom Pérignon and four-hundred-dollar shoes. She owned handbags that cost as much as a semester at UCLA.

Maybe it was because Gemma didn't get her first job until she was nine years old, and all of this—the attention, the money—still seemed new and shiny to her, whereas I'd been working nonstop since before I could eat solid food. I'd heard Drew Barrymore got her first job when she was eleven months old because a dog bit her during an audition, presumably because the producers were afraid her mom would sue if they didn't cast Baby Drew. I got my first job in a national diaper spot because the casting director said my tiny baby nipples were the perfect color. Pink, but not too pink. Desiree reminded me of this every time I stipulated I would never do a topless scene.

Miranda picked up the Post-it note on which I'd scrawled the address Gemma had given me. "Why didn't she call Desiree? She always calls her when she needs to be evacuated."

This was not the first time Gemma had gotten hammered at a party and needed an exit strategy. But Miranda was right. Gemma always called Desiree, and tonight she had specifically asked me not to tell our mom, which was easy since I didn't even know where our "momager" was. Probably schmoozing it up at some studio exec's mansion, working an angle to get Gemma or me or both of us cast in a teen rom-com or a slasher movie. I'd play the final girl, Gemma the one who has sex first and is promptly slain, if anyone would cast her these days with all the rumors circulating that she was a drunk and a liability. Yet another teen star destined for rehab. There was talk that Gemma might be written off the show we'd starred in for two seasons, and Desiree was frantic to segue her little moneymakers into film.

A flash of light in the rearview. The SUV was back, following more closely now. I jammed my foot down on the gas pedal, accelerating past the speed limit as I envisioned a telephoto lens snapping rapid-fire pictures of me crutching my wasted sister to the car. If a single one of those photos ended up in People or In Touch or US Weekly, it would be the end for Gemma. I didn't want that for her, even though I had a strong suspicion that she wouldn't mind if I derailed my career and disappeared from the spotlight.

The road curved suddenly. I made the turn too fast, and Miranda sucked in a sharp breath. I spotted a line of cars parked along the road and pulled over abruptly, killed the engine, cut the lights. The SUV rounded a curve behind us and sped past without slowing. I exhaled a breath and reached for the door handle.

"I'm staying here," Miranda said, crossing her arms and glaring out the windshield.

I left the keys in the ignition, too tired to argue. Too proud to tell her I didn't want to go in there alone.

"Keep the doors locked. And if you spot that SUV again, duck."

Halfway to the house, I felt a crawling sensation between my shoulder blades. I paused, looked around, expecting to spot the manic, lidless eye of a telephoto lens clicking at me from the bushes. I saw nothing. Heard nothing.

But the feeling remained.

Liv Hendricks


32 years old; 139 lbs.

Facebook Fans: 6,019

Twitter Followers: 17,156

Instagram Followers: 4,590


If I feel like I'm being watched, it's usually because I am. Someone has recognized my face, but they can't quite place me. They glance my way when they think I'm not looking. They don't realize I'm watching them back, waiting for the moment when they'll either lose interest or muster the courage to approach and say—

"Hey…I'm sorry, but are you Olivia Hill?"

It was that desperate time of night when everyone was trying to get a drink at the same time. If only it was the bartender who couldn't keep his eyes off me instead of this woman. Barely a woman, really. Her pixie cut framed a cherubic face and fleshy, flushed cheeks. Her slender stem of a neck didn't look strong enough to support her globe of a head. Aspiring actress, I guessed. In this town, weren't they all?

"Nope," I told the girl.

"Oh. My mistake." She started to withdraw into the crowd, and then halted, stepped forward again, determined. "You're Liv Hendricks, from Bullshit Hunters!"

My eyes shifted to the comforting rows of bottles shelved above the bar's backsplash, the amber liquid in them that would grant my only wish: an end to the day's sobriety.

The baby-faced girl kept standing there, waiting for me to confirm what she already knew. I felt sorry for her because there were so many of her in Los Angeles. Girls who all wanted the same thing, who almost had what it took to get it. These girls would have killed for the opportunities I'd cast off like an itchy sweater, the kind that made you miserable every second you wore it.

What I had learned about girls like this one was that most of them didn't want to act, or sing, or model, or whatever it was they'd ostensibly come to LA to do. They wanted to be seen. They didn't exist until observed, the pretty-girl equivalents of Schrödinger's cat. Living online wasn't enough for them. Twitter and Facebook and Tumblr and Instagram, Periscope and YouTube and Snapchat and blogging and all the rest were not enough. Would never be enough to make them feel like they were real, like they mattered on a planet of six billion people and counting.

"Yeah," I admitted. "I'm Liv Hendricks."

"Oh my God, I'm such a huge fan! I watched your show every day in junior high. I mean, they were reruns, but I was addicted. I'm serious. It was my crack."

I hailed the nearest bartender, a twenty-something hipster with a high and tight haircut, wearing a vest and an antiquey, collarless shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He looked like he'd come to work straight from the set of Boardwalk Empire. "Old-fashioned," I called to him. I could have been describing him.

The girl's mouth kept moving. I could barely hear her, but I knew what she was saying. The same things these girls always say.

I didn't trust her motivations, but then I didn't trust most women. As a teenager, I'd never had girlfriends who didn't treat me like a prize, someone who could get them into places they wanted to go, introduce them to the celebrities they wanted to meet, buy them clothes they couldn't afford. But once the money and the celebrity were gone, so was my entourage.

Women had an agenda too often for my comfort. So did men, but theirs was predictable. If a man asked to buy me a drink, I knew he wanted to fuck me, or at least talk me into giving him a blowjob. If a woman did the same thing, I couldn't be sure what she wanted from me, only that it was probably something I'd rather not give.

By the time the aspiring actress took a break from gushing, I had my cocktail. The whiskey heat settled into my hollow stomach. I counted what I had eaten that day. Coffee for breakfast. A cup of yogurt with blueberries for lunch (150 calories). Three slices of deli turkey before I came to the bar (60 calories). Two hundred and ten calories for the entire day. It's all about the calories. The words were branded on my brain. That's what happened when your mom put you on your first diet when you were seven.

I finished my drink, completed my buzz. Started feeling good. Chatty, even.

"Hey," the girl said. "Can I buy you a drink? It would be such an honor for me, and there are so many things I want to ask you. Please say yes!"

"Sure," I said. "Why not?"


LA Femme Online

A Star Burns Out: Whatever Happened to Olivia Hill?

Freya McBride
4 hours ago—Filed to CELEBRITY
378 Likes—78 Comments

Last night I learned a valuable lesson. If you ever spot your teen idol in a bar in Silverlake, think twice before asking her if you can buy her a drink unless you want your image of her to be shattered. #LAproblems #amiright

As a teen, I developed a cultish obsession with reruns of a TV show called The Hills Have PIs, a faux-reality mystery about two teenage sisters/teen stars (played by real-life sisters/teen stars Olivia and Gemma Hill) attending high school in Hollywood and investigating a series of suspicious events surrounding the disappearances of several classmates. It's sort of like Twin Peaks meets Veronica Mars set in LA, but filmed like it's a documentary à la The Office. The show first aired in 2001, and ran for two seasons, but was canceled before the overarching mystery was resolved. Gemma Hill signed on for another season, but Olivia Hill refused due to her distress over the disappearance of the youngest Hill sister, Miranda (not on the show). Among fans, it's been speculated that Miranda's disappearance was a publicity stunt staged to increase The Hills Have PIs' ratings, but it's been fifteen years and Miranda Hill remains a gone girl.

Which brings me to Liv Hendricks, aka Olivia Hill. While Gemma went on to climb her way up the alphabet toward A-list status (she hovers around a B+), Olivia dropped out of the spotlight for so long that most people forgot about her.

But not me.

When I saw her last night, I couldn't resist the opportunity to tell her how much I'd loved THHPI. And, yes, I will admit that as a contributing blogger for LA Femme, I thought I might squeeze an interview out of her. Let me assure you, it was not my intention to get her wasted and then film our conversation. Maybe a part of her wanted this to happen. She clearly had some things to get off her chest.

Watch Video  

1NeverApologize And the Crazy Bitch Award goes to…3 minutes ago

MCrush OMG! I forgot about this show! I used to watch all the time. RIP Olivia Hill's career 5 minutes ago

Megasm Could she just make a sex video already? All I wanna see is dem tittays!;) 9 minutes ago

CryFace20 Not funny, asshole 7 minutes ago

WolfKing18 Liv Hendricks is the best thing about Bullshit Hunters. She deserves her own show. I'd watch that. 18 minutes ago

1NeverApologize Like anyone would give this train wreck her own show—15 minutes ago

WolfKing18 She doesn't need anyone to give it to her. All she needs is a camera. She should pitch something on Kickstarter or Shot in the Dark. I'd back her. 13 minutes ago

CryFace20 I feel sorry for her. Her life was a nightmare. 24 minutes ago

1NeverApologize Wah wah wah poor me! Suck it up bitch. We all got problems. You used to be rich and famous, and you threw it away. Get over yourself. 26 minutes ago

1NeverApologize Sucks about her missing sister, though. That'll fuck you up good. 25 minutes ago


I woke to a shrill ringtone next to my head and fumbled weakly for my phone, needing to stop the sound before my skull shattered. When I peeled my eyes open, I found Gemma's name floating on the screen, and thought I must still be drunk. Gemma and I didn't talk on the phone. We didn't talk in person. We didn't talk period.

"Hello?" I mumbled into the receiver, sounding every bit as disoriented as I was. Why was she calling me? How had I gotten home?

"What were you thinking?" Gemma demanded in greeting.

"Can you be more specific?" I pulled the sheet up over my head. The sunlight felt like lemon juice in my eyes, stinging and acidic.

An extended silence, and then, "You don't know?"

Her ominous tone would have made me sit up if I were capable of such a feat. I tried and failed and curled into the fetal position instead. "Just tell me."

"It's better if you see for yourself. I'll text you the link."

"Is that all?" I didn't ask what the link was to. I wasn't ready to know.

"Jesus, Liv, you sound wrecked. Are you shooting today?"

"It's not Bullshit Hunters without Liv Hendricks."

Another long silence, and then, more gently, "You can't keep on like this." I would have been touched by her concern if she hadn't followed with, "It's not just affecting you anymore. What you did last night is bad for me, too. My publicist is doing her best to contain the situation, but she's not a miracle worker. You need to fix this. Make a statement. Apologize and promise you're getting help. Say you lied. Just do something. I'm sure Desiree would be happy to—"

I ended the call, and then lay there for a few minutes, waiting for the throbbing in my skull to die down. If a bottle of Advil had appeared in my hand, I would have chewed the pills like Pez.

What had I done?

I was used to waking up to this question—both existential and literal—but whatever I had gotten up to last night must have been particularly scandalous.

My phone dinged with a text from Gemma, a link to something on LA Femme Online, LA's premier feminist lifestyle and entertainment blog. I didn't click the link, nor did I look at any of the other texts waiting for me. I was already running late.

When I finally managed to sit up I discovered that I was naked beneath the blankets. Which was shocking because I never slept naked, certain that one of these days an earthquake would drive me from my apartment in the middle of the night. The last thing I needed was for someone to snap a nude photo of me and post it to one of the Tumblr boards devoted to Bullsh?t Hunters, the title spelled with a question mark so we could get away with cursing on cable.

I attempted to revive myself with a cold shower, trying not to read into the tenderized ache between my legs. I shut off the faucet and reached for my only clean towel. I needed to buy new linens one of these days, sheets and a duvet that weren't as rough as diner napkins. Towels that weren't permanently stained with self-tanner and mascara.

I'd moved into my studio loft just after I was cast on Bullsh?t Hunters, and had always intended to do an apartment overhaul but never quite got around to it. Most of the downtown loft-dwellers were creatives—artists and designers, filmmakers and screenwriters—people who transformed the interiors of their homes into shrines to edgy art and hipster culture. They made passionate, personal, pretentious statements with their walls, their carefully chosen vintage furniture, their choice of CB2 shower curtains. I didn't even have a shower curtain, just the clear plastic sheet that kept the spray contained, and my loft was bare but for a few pieces of Ikea furniture I'd bought on Craigslist to avoid having to put anything together. I had yet to hang a single picture. My exposed-brick walls and stainless-steel appliances deserved better than what I had to offer.

I started a pot of drip coffee brewing and got to work on my hair and makeup while I waited. The Bullsh?t Hunters production team used to include a hair and makeup department, but after a recent bout of budget cuts our producer, Danny, started asking the cast to arrive camera-ready.

The hardest part about being my own hair and makeup department was covering the three-inch scar slashing my forehead, a memento from the night Miranda had gone missing. A branch of the tree that had caught my BMW thrust through the windshield and carved a trench from my right eyebrow into my hairline, so deep the white of my skull had been exposed. I got a reminder of the worst night of my life every time I looked in the mirror. A night I barely remembered.

I dressed in one of my "investigating" outfits, a short pleated skirt, lacy camisole, tight cardigan, and argyle knee socks. The wardrobe was my least favorite part of the job. The only time a woman in her thirties should wear a costume like this is if her lover has a schoolgirl fetish. But Bullsh?t Hunters had been pitched to the network as reality Scooby-Doo for adults. As the "Daphne" of our merry band of paranormal investigators, my look represented femininity and girl-next-door sex appeal. In other words, I was something for the predominantly straight, male viewership to masturbate to.

By the time I was ready I had only twenty minutes to get to set. I requested an Uber so I could read the day's pages on the way. Balancing a travel mug of coffee, my bag, and the pages, I opened my front door to find my down-the-hall neighbor, Elliot, standing on the other side, his hand raised to knock. When he saw me he grinned and shoved his hands into the pockets of pants so tight they would have fit me better than they did him. Elliot was cute in a deliberately slovenly way, but he was almost ten years younger than me, and I had a strict anti–Melrose Place policy not to get involved with anyone who lived in my building.

"Elliot, I'm running really late. Can we talk later?" I skirted around him without waiting for an answer, striding fast toward the elevator and stabbing the button repeatedly.

A hand came to rest on my hip. I twisted away, my heart crashing against my chest and an irrational scream trapped behind my lungs.

"Whoa! What's wrong?" Elliot held his hands up in surrender.

"I just…you surprised me." And I didn't like being touched in intimate places without giving permission, which should have been a given.

"I'm sorry. After last night, you know, I thought—"

Fuck. Literally.

Elliot scratched the beard he was growing to make him look older than his twenty-three years. He claimed youth was getting in the way of his directing career. He didn't understand Los Angeles yet. Any second grader in this town could direct a film if he was a big enough asshole. Elliot was too nice.

"I-I just thought we were…something," Elliot tried again, his eyes full of puzzled hurt.

"Right…" Somewhere in the blackout-edited filmstrip of my memories was probably a scene that depicted me running into Elliot in the hall, inviting him in, offering a drink. The rest was easy enough to figure out.

The elevator dinged. I jumped inside. "I'll see you later. Gotta be on set in thirty."

The doors closed in his face.

Alone in the elevator, I leaned against the back wall and closed my eyes, willing the balloon of guilt in my chest to deflate, telling myself it was just sex. A random hookup. It didn't mean anything. Elliot was old enough to know that, if nothing else.

Besides, according to Gemma, I had more important things to feel guilty about.




  • "Fast-paced and involving."—People
  • "One can't help but become ensnared...With dark woods, missing women, eccentric locals, unsettling wolf masks, secret messages and nighttime stalkers, WATCH THE GIRLS has all the nightmare fuel of great horror movie camp mixed with an absorbing mystery. ....There is no denying WATCH THE GIRLS is "nervously-eat-an-entire-box-of-cookies-without-realizing-it" good."—Shelf Awareness (STARRED REVIEW)
  • "A devastating novel that evokes Ingmar Bergman and David Lynch....This disturbing, surrealistic thriller will keep readers spellbound."—Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW)
  • "Sibling rivalry and Hollywood obsessions collide...Fast-paced and fraught with suspense, WATCH THE GIRLS unravels like a perfect summer-night movie."—BookPage
  • "It's a fascinating set-up, and while it seems like it may be nothing more than a fun romp, don't let looks deceive you. This takes dark and unexpected turns, culminating in an ending fit for its own horror movie. Liv is a compelling protagonist with a distinct voice--snarky and vulnerable, tough and persevering-and the book as a whole takes clever swipes at the Hollywood culture that has pervaded our lives. I'm anxious to see where Wolfe takes us next-either with this character or the next. Frankly, I'm willing to follow her anywhere."—Crimespree Magazine
  • "WATCH THE GIRLS is one of those books--it gets under your skin and stays with you long after you've devoured the last page. It's the perfect dark, chilling thriller for the age of social media and ubiquitous reality TV that's anything but real. Jennifer Wolfe's damaged heroine toes the thin and ever-blurry line between truth and fake Hollywood glitz, right up until the devastating conclusion."—Nina Laurin, author of Girl Last Seen
  • "Make no mistake: Wolfe's got the goods. Timely, harrowing, and vividly imagined, WATCH THE GIRLS is a wild ride with style to burn."—Chris Holm, Anthony Award winning author of The Killing Kind
  • "Twisty, tense, and addictive, WATCH THE GIRLS is like a great horror flick, a classic mystery, and an edgy piece of social commentary-all wrapped up into one dark, delicious package. Jennifer Wolfe is a huge new talent. Welcome to the book everyone will be reading this summer."—Brad Parks, author of Closer Than You Know
  • "[A] campy debut thriller...with [a] twisty and twisted ending."—Kirkus Reviews
  • "Wolfe moves one step further and investigates voyeurism itself--both as a problem, and as a manifestation of curiosity....Playful and creepy...blurs boundaries between the real and the surreal."—
  • "Debut author Wolfe has created a compelling, sympathetic character in Liv, a scared, lonely woman who acts jaded and tough but grieves over a missing sister of her own. The author takes readers on a psychologically dark ride through a twisted underworld of fame and desperation, a journey that will keep readers guessing until the shocking ending."—Booklist

On Sale
Jul 10, 2018
Page Count
400 pages

Jennifer Wolfe

About the Author

Jennifer Wolfe worked as a phlebotomist, a fiction writing teacher, a copywriter, and ran a concert venue before quitting to move to Los Angeles, where she performed odd jobs in the film industry for a decade. She now divides her time between Los Angeles and Portland, Oregon. Watch the Girls is Jennifer’s debut thriller. She also publishes young adult fiction under the name Jennifer Bosworth.

Learn more about this author