Author: Pam Smy
Recommended for: older tweens and teens who like creepy books
Pages: 533 pages
Call Number/Link: J FICTION SMY, P.
Parallel plotlines set in different times, one told in text and one in art, inform each other as a young girl unravels the mystery of a ghost next door.
1982: Mary is a lonely orphan at the Thornhill Institute for Children at the very moment that it’s shutting its doors. When her few friends are all adopted or re-homed and she’s left to face a volatile bully alone, her revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary and on Thornhill itself.
2016: Ella has just moved to a new town where she knows no one. From her room on the top floor of her new home, she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute across the way, where she glimpses a girl in the window. Determined to befriend the girl, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill’s shadowy past.
Some colleagues were surprised that I chose to read this book since I don’t usually read creepy, scary books.
As it works out, I was less scared than horrified by the book. I was really troubled by the cruelty of the bullying that the girl from the eighties experienced, and that the orphanage’s primary caregivers truly didn’t care. The girl obviously needed psychological help, as did the bully.
I did not get a complete picture of the contemporary girl’s situation. I could see that she and her father had moved to a new place where she didn’t have any friends. Her mother isn’t with them and the father works so many hours that the girl is, for all intensive purposes, an abandoned child.
There was no way that this book could end well….
But now for the biggest mystery of all: should we move to book to Teen Fiction or keep it in J Fiction?