Thanks to the #kidlitexchange network for the free review copy of his book – all opinions are my own.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Parallel stories set in different times, one told in prose and one in pictures, converge as Ella unravels the mystery of the girl 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.
This was a highly anticipated read of mine for 2017, and it didn’t disappoint. The contrast between the two girls’ stories was demonstrated beautifully with the prose and illustrations. And the limitation of colors to just black and white really helped to emphasize the intensity of emotions in each storyline.
I was surprised by how dark the story got towards the end, and by the ending. I had a feeling it was coming as the story progressed, but going into the book I hadn’t expected it to take such a dark twist. I am a reader who enjoys a dark twisted book, but it’s not going to be for all readers, especially someone who is looking for a lighter read. Don’t let the fact that it’s partially told through pictures fool you into thinking it’s going to be a frivolous read. I don’t want to spoil anything for potential readers, so I won’t mention any spoilers here, but feel free to reach out if you’d like me to expand on the “dark and twisty” descriptors.
Highly recommend. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Book stats: Hardcover, 544 pages, Roaring Brook Press, August 29, 2017