Published by Knopf Books for Young Readers on May 10th 2011
Genres: Contemporary, Ghosties, Mystery
When 17-year-old Jamie arrives on the idyllic New England island of Little Bly to work as a summer au pair, she is stunned to learn of the horror that precedes her. Seeking the truth surrounding a young couple's tragic deaths, Jamie discovers that she herself looks shockingly like the dead girl—and that she has a disturbing ability to sense the two ghosts. Why is Jamie's connection to the couple so intense? What really happened last summer at Little Bly? As the secrets of the house wrap tighter and tighter around her, Jamie must navigate the increasingly blurred divide between the worlds of the living and the dead.
Brilliantly plotted, with startling twists, here is a thrilling page-turner from the award-winning Adele Griffin.
I love a good ghost story. One of my favorites of all time is Heart-Shaped Box. Now that is one freaky book. I was a little skeptical about going into this with high expectations since it is YA and all; it turned out to be one of the darker types of YA books.
Jamie is a very disturbed 17 year-old with an awful pill addiction. After suffering a back injury she hasn’t been able to quite kick the habit. Her mother, concerned with her recent behavior and thinking she may be suffering from depression, helps set her up with a job as an au pair for an old friend on the island of Little Bly in New England. Jamie is skeptical about taking this job but thinks it may in fact be a good idea; that maybe by the time she got back, they’d be gone. They being the two ghosts that haunt her, her Uncle Jim and second cousin Hank… both individuals committed suicide. Jamie has seen them both ever since the night she personally contemplated suicide.
Upon arriving at Little Bly Jamie finds out that the child, Isa, her last au pair Jessie was killed in a plane crash when her boyfriend Peter was flying. Jamie’s unsettled to see how the town residents stare at her… because Jamie is the spitting image of Jessie. It doesn’t help matters when Jamie starts to see Peter and Jessie, ghosts, just like her Uncle Jim and Hank.
The book was certainly a tad unnerving, as can be expected with ghost stories. But the author… her writing style was crazy. Jamie would be in the middle of thinking something and right in the middle she would say something else and have seemingly zero awareness of what she just said For example:
“I knew I needed more socializing than just interacting with Connie and Isa and Milo; even a daily phone call with Mags would have helped, but the longer I stuck with just myself, the more messed up I might become rapping at the windows crying at the locks and it was beginning to bother me how much.”
Crying at the locks? What the hell are you talking about?! What’s going on?? But the writing was great; I loved how it always kept me guessing. And guessing you do… right up until the very end; I gasped. It’s one of those books where when you finally realize what’s going on it makes you have to stop, think, and look back at all that’s happened… makes you rethink everything.