Friday, May 4, 2012

The Girl Behind the Glass

The Girl Behind the Glass
Jane Kelley
Random House, 2011
$16.99, Hardcover
March 21st, 2012

Genre: Mystery
Age: 9+
Description: Eleven-year-old twins Hannah and Anna are forced to move to a new town because their high school sister, Selena, couldn’t pass the New York entrance exams for school. While they wait for their new home to be ready, they rent a house on Hemlock Road which is known for being haunted by “the green eyes.” When they move in, the twins become separate from each other. Anna is popular at school and makes lots of friends while Hannah is misunderstood. Hannah is drawn to the closet in Selena’s room that Selena is scared of. Soon Hannah begins to learn about the history of the house and begins to hear the voice of Ruth—a girl who lived and died there more than 90 years ago. Ruth needs help moving on—in fact Hannah is the first person to ever make contact with her. Maybe having a new friend is better than her wish for moving on or revenge. But what will happen when the family moves to their new house? Ruth wants Hannah to stay with her . . . possibly forever.
Opinion: This is a uniquely weird ghost story. The atmosphere is nicely drawn and the mystery—while conveniently plotted—does add up nicely in the end (Ruth believed her sister was responsible for her death and blamed her all those years when her sister actually tried to save her and has been guilt ridden her whole life). What is truly different and unique with this story and might make it a hard read for some readers is the very interesting point-of-view—the narrator is omnipresent, isn’t Hannah, but in fact is Ruth who doesn’t remember her name until half way through the book. So it’s not actually clear at first who the narrator is until you realize the ghost is narrating what’s going on. She has a unique ability to read people’s thoughts too so something in her narration she tells the reader not only what she sees and feels but what other characters feel and think as well.

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