Gwendy's Button Box: A Novella

Gwendy's Button Box: A Novella

by Stephen King, Richard Chizmar

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Set in the fictional town of Castle Rock, Maine

Stephen King teams up with long-time friend and award-winning author Richard Chizmar for the first time in this original, chilling novella that revisits the mysterious town of Castle Rock.

There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974, twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs, which are held by strong—if time-rusted—iron bolts and zig-zag up the precarious cliffside.

Then one day when Gwendy gets to the top of Castle View, after catching her breath and hearing the shouts of kids on the playground below, a stranger calls to her. There on a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small, neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat…

The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told—until now.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781501188305
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 08/07/2017
Series: Gwendy's Button Box Trilogy , #1
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 210
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Stephen King is the author of more than sixty books, all of them worldwide bestsellers. His recent work includes The Institute, Elevation, The OutsiderSleeping Beauties (cowritten with his son Owen King), and the Bill Hodges trilogy: End of WatchFinders Keepers, and Mr. Mercedes (an Edgar Award winner for Best Novel and an AT&T Audience Network original television series). His novel 11/22/63 was named a top ten book of 2011 by The New York Times Book Review and won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Mystery/Thriller. His epic works The Dark Tower and It are the basis for major motion pictures, with It now the highest grossing horror film of all time. He is the recipient of the 2018 PEN America Literary Service Award, the 2014 National Medal of Arts, and the 2003 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. He lives in Bangor, Maine, with his wife, novelist Tabitha King.

Richard Chizmar is the coauthor (with Stephen King) of the New York Times bestselling novella, Gwendy’s Button Box. Recent books include The Girl on the PorchThe Long Way Home, his fourth short story collection, and Widow’s Point, a chilling tale about a haunted lighthouse written with his son, Billy Chizmar, which was recently made into a feature film. His short fiction has appeared in dozens of publications, including Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. He has won two World Fantasy awards, four International Horror Guild awards, and the HWA’s Board of Trustee’s award. Chizmar’s work has been translated into more than fifteen languages throughout the world, and he has appeared at numerous conferences as a writing instructor, guest speaker, panelist, and guest of honor. Follow him on Twitter @RichardChizmar or visit his website at:


Bangor, Maine

Date of Birth:

September 21, 1947

Place of Birth:

Portland, Maine


B.S., University of Maine at Orono, 1970

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Gwendy's Button Box 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Decent book but I wish I had known it was a short story to start with. I've read everything by Stephen King but I'm disappointed that the last two have been short stories. I hate to spend hard earned money on hundred page books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too short. I was totally disappointed that it ended so soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WVBoo More than 1 year ago
A phenomenal novella. I truly enjoyed every minute. I only wish it were longer!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I grew up in the 80s and felt overly responsible for things. This novella echoes that and gave me chills. Phenomenal.
sandrabrazier More than 1 year ago
What would you do if you held in your hands the power of the world? This is the story of Gwendy. At the age of 12, a mysterious stranger in black told her that she was the new custodian of the button box, a box containing buttons, when pushed, can destroy. In the back of her mind, for the next ten years of her adolescence, the box is there, taunting her. How will she handle this? It is difficult to review a novella, because there is the fear of revealing too much. All I can say is that this is a wonderfully-entertaining story. As we watch Gwendy grow up, we wonder how much is her doing and how much is the box’s. In any case, Castle Rock, once again, becomes a real place, and so do the well-constructed characters. This is another wonderful story told by King.
Maggietb3 More than 1 year ago
I was very impressed! It actually ended better than I assumed it would. Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good good read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read
Mariah Poole More than 1 year ago
This book is quite captivating. It opens to Gwendy being left with the Button Box which leaves the ready just as curious as Gwendy. I found myself enjoying the story and the messages the story portrayed. I loved Gwendy and her personality. She was a very relatable character who struggled with normal things like being self conscious of her body but she also had the responsibility of the button box and I thought that the two authors did a great job of balancing that responsibility with the age that Gwendy was. The reason I only gave this book three stars is because while there is a major event that occurs I felt like there wasn't really a climax. I enjoyed the ending but felt like something was missing. I normally read longer books so it could just be me not being use to the shortness, but I was just a little let down after I finished the book. So over all I would say that this book is worth the read for sure - I think it teaches a great lesson - just be prepared for a lack of a climax.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story was easy to read. I feel it could have been developed into a longer story.
Jmav More than 1 year ago
Smart, creative writing. An interesting little story that I thought had a great plot!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bad ending
Caroles_Random_Life More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this little story! This was one of those books that once you started you wanted to keep listening. This book isn't very long so it really is no surprise that I was able to listen to it in a single day but I started this one on a Saturday and I rarely listen to audiobooks during the weekends. I just couldn't get enough of this story. The story opens with Gwendy exercising on the stairs. She meets a stranger who gives her a magic box. This box can do a lot of things and she takes the responsibility that comes with it very seriously. She has a lot of questions about the box and no real way of finding any answers. She's doesn't even know anything about the man that gave it to her. I think Gwendy showed more restraint that I would have at such a young age. Who am I kidding? I don't think I would have a lot of restraint now either. I wanted her to push all of the buttons but was a little scared and wanted to to leave it alone all at the same time. If anyone can hook me up with the magic chocolate, please let me know because I am pretty sure that I could use some of that in my life. The story took some unexpected turns and held my interest the entire time. There were a few moments that broke my heart just a little bit. I thought the whole concept of the story was really imaginative and well developed. I liked how this story kept me thinking about how I would have handled the situation if I were in Gwendy's place. The narration was very well done. I think that Maggie Siff did a fantastic job of bringing Gwendy to life. She was able to bring a lot of emotion into the story and expertly handled everything from a child's wonder to a teenager's heartbreak. Her voice was very pleasant to listen to and her delivery was performed at a very nice pace. I would recommend this book to others. The audiobook that I listened to also included a very short story which was very enjoyable even though it only lasted a few minutes. The conversation between the authors was also quite entertaining. I do hope to read more from both of these authors in the future. Book source: Library via Overdrive
IrregularReader More than 1 year ago
Welcome back to Castle Rock, Maine, home to numerous Stephen King stories. Clearly nothing bad is going to happen here. Gwendy is twelve when she meets the man in the little black hat. A slightly pudgy girl, Gwendy is determined to slim down before school starts up in the fall. The Man in the little black hat seems to know all about her, and he offers her guardianship of a strange little box with multicolored buttons. The Man explains that the box controlls everything. And while it will give her what she needs, it can also take things away. This is a perfect little book, only 175 pages, but Chizmar squeezes a hell of a lot of stuff into this book. We see Gwendy grow up, and the relationship between her and the mysterious box grows and changes with her. The box is almost like a character in and of itself, a constant, lurking presence suffusing the entire story with a subtle menace. Gwendy herself is a fully realised character, complex and sympathetic. I know most people either love or hate short stories and novellas, but if Gwendy’s Button Box is an indication of what the genre can do, then bring ’em on!
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
He had been watching her yet, all she was concerned about was whether she made it to the top of Castle View. She needed to lose some weight, she was not starting middle school with the name Goodyear, the blimp could have its name back. When Richard approached Gwendy, she hesitated. Holding a box in his hand, Richard was sure what he was about to give her, would change her life. As Gwendy listens to Richard explain the box’s magic, I could feel the excitement and uncertainty that Gwendy was feeling, it all seemed too easy and worrisome. The box worked it magic for Gwendy, a few times she was frightened by how powerful this box actually was. Her best friend becomes a shadow as Gwendy accepts her new power and runs with it. She is everything she wanted to be and more, but was this what she really wanted? I thought this was a fantastic, short novel and I liked the pace, the storyline and the characters. It was the anticipation of Gwendy’s future with the box that kept me transfixed to this novel. Her curiosity, her future and her situation was centered around the box, the box that could change her, if she wanted. 4.5 stars
SteveDeg More than 1 year ago
With a combination of Stephen King and Richard Chizmar joining their writing power in this novella of curiosity and trust. Given a special box with buttons for pushing, not sewing, each with their own power. But two could have severe penalties, one red, one black which should net be touch. Given to Gwendy by a strange man in black, who he has chosen to care for the box. This novella will pose the question, how strong is your curiosity? A quick read into the life of twelve year old Gwendy Peterson, will grab you from page one.
FrancescaFB More than 1 year ago
This psychological drama is short but very engaging. I wished for more. King is at his very best, and he never disappoints.
KyaAliana More than 1 year ago
Uncover the mystery in Castle Rock…again! As a longtime King fan, I really loved returning to Castle Rock in an all-new novella with a brilliant cast of characters, intriguing plot, and expertly crafted writing. King and Chizmar’s styles complement each other and the story flows in a way that is enthralling and easy to read. I found myself submerged in the story and didn’t want to put the book down until I reached the end. The story follows Gwendy’s life, her fortunes and misfortunes, as she is given the task of caring for a mystifying button box gifted to her by an even more mysterious man during the beginning pages of the book. The box has powers and Gwendy must make wise choices despite her young age, or else suffer the inexplicable consequences. A fast, fun, and riveting read! It also had a YA/Coming-Of-Age feel to it, which I really enjoyed. Highly recommended to any and all who love a great, well-told story. An instant classic. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Keeps you riveted until the final page!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an instant grab for me and while I wanted to keep reading, I was also relieved at the end- our heroine is very relatable and human. I do feel I was left with questions- but not the ones I thought I would have- thanks for the intrigue Stephen!