Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Thornhill by Pam Smy - OPTIONAL

Smy, Pam  Thornhill, 544 pages. Roaring Brook Press, 2017. $20. Content: Language: PG (2 swears); Mature Content: PG; Violence: PG-13.  

Mary is teen living in a group home (Thornhill) in the 80’s.  She is bullied to the extreme by another girl who lives in the home and the caretakers are unaware of the torment Mary endures.  Ella is a girl from present day whose apartment overlooks the abandoned Thornhill building.  As Ella is often left home alone, she starts to explore the grounds and home of Thornhill, where she finds abandoned dolls and starts to uncover what happened to Mary from years before.  The girls stories wind closer together and the mystery is uncovered.  

Mary’s story is told through journal entries and Ella’s story is told through black and white pictures.  Their stories go back and forth to build the story line.  The illustrations are not fantastic (compared to say Brian Selznick), but it’s an interesting way to tell the story.  I feel like this story is creepy and upsetting.  Mary is tortured by the girl in her group home, and her story feels helpless and depressing.  Ella innocently gets caught up in the mystery of Mary with dastardly results.  The mature content is PG because it refers to the caretakers sleeping together.  The violence is PG-13 because of the amount of and type of bullying, torture and suicide.  This is an interesting but dark and sad ghost story. 

MS, HS – OPTIONAL.  Reviewer, C. Peterson.

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