Author: Adele Griffin
Published: May 2011 by Knopf Books
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Tags: YA | Suspense | Romance | Ghosts
First Lines: The last thing I did before I left home was steal pills. "Wait!" I raised my finger and did the oops smile, then sprinted back inside while Mom stayed in the car to take me to the train station.
Jamie, seventeen years old, is sent to Little Bly, Rhode Island, to work as an au pair over the summer. Jamie is a little messed up, popping random pills for her back injury more than necessary. She arrives at the enormous mansion where she'll be babysitting eleven-year-old Isa. It isn't long before Jamie notices the odd stares and whispers from the island locals, and she soon learns about what happened to Isa's au pair, Jessie, last summer. She died in a plane crash with her boyfriend. The weirdest part of it all is that Jamie looks almost exactly like Jessie. Soon, Jamie begins seeing a young couple that no one else seems to see. Could it be the ghosts of Jessie and her boyfriend?
This book was unlike anything I have ever read before. I started it hoping for just an enjoyable, quick thriller to entertain me... and wow, could I have been more wrong? I don't want to spoil a single thing about this book, so my review might be a little vague. First of all, Adele's novel is based on the short story The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. I've never read it before and don't even know what it's about, so I won't be able to compare the two. This book had literally everything: suspense, romance, adventure, paranormal, and more. I'll start off with Jamie's character. If there's one thing I love, it's a complex and memorable protagonist, and Jamie was the very definition of just that. She had attitude and sarcasm like most teenagers, she was curious and brave, and was the very kind of character that we usually hate to read about. But strangely, I think she was perfect for the role in the book and absolutely loved getting inside her mind. Which brings me to my next point: Jamie is so messed up. She steals her family's pills and medications to take on the trip, and pops one whenever she needs to take the edge off things. This is one of the most stupid actions a person can do, especially having no idea what kind of pill it is. Soon, Jamie is never really sure what's real and what's her imagination because of the side effects of all the pills. And of course, reading from her point of view, the reader is never quite sure what is reality and what's all in her head.
This novel had stellar characterization. Seriously, every single character was developed brilliantly and took on a life of their own...even the ghosts! I think the housekeeper's lisp was really funny, and I've never seen another author write dialogue from someone with this speech impediment. Every single 's' was written with a 'th', and I usually had to read out loud when the housekeeper was talking to understand what she was saying. (No wonder my family kept giving me weird looks...!) Isa, the young girl that Jamie is an au pair for, tugged on my heart strings. She is so innocent and still searching for herself, figuring out who she is. Whereas her vain, snarky, and flirtatious brother, Milo, was just the opposite. I thought their relationship was really interesting and I never knew what to expect from them since they were so unpredictable.
Don't even bother making predictions of what will happen while reading, because the ending is a complete shocker. Twists and surprises were just jumping off the page while my mouth hung open in astonishment. I was tearing through the pages, gobbling up all of the words as fast as I possibly could, needing to know what would happen next in this thrilling book. I think the scariest kind of horror is not a slasher-who-kills-everyone-in-every-way-imaginable, but the psychological stuff. And this one is very intense that will mess with your head and keep you on edge in the middle of the night. It was the best ghost story I've ever read and have been thinking about it ever since I finished reading it. I think that's another great aspect about the book. It wasn't just a quick read to enjoy, and then move on to another book. No, this one will stay with you. It will literally haunt you.
Cover Thoughts: It creeps me out but it's a really awesome, eerie photo for the cover.