Thornhill
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.

Thornhill Details

TitleThornhill
Author
FormatKindle Edition
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseAug 29th, 2017
PublisherRoaring Brook Press
Number of pages544 pages
Rating
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Childrens, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Mystery

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Thornhill Review

  • Figgy
    June 28, 2017
    You guys... I have shivers.This book is beautiful, inside and out, and I don't quite know what to say just yet. But... wow.Maybe not the most unique storyline ever for someone who's been on this planet for thirty years, but it deals with bullying, and loss, and loneliness, and the writing is simple and raw. One story (Mary's) is told completely in words in the form of her diary entries, and the other (Ella's) is told entirely in pictures.Review to come closer to release (around October).
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  • Jen
    July 4, 2017
    Bad guy wins. Utterly depressing. Don't bother. Stopped at page 332 to skip to the end and it was complete rubbish. I was bullied MERCILESSLY in middle school, so I wanted the bullied Mary to get back at her tormentor. Yeah, SO didn't happen. Then Ella "joined" her. Nice. Real nice. 1, I wish I could go lower to show my utter hatred for the story in this book, stars. If you are a sociopathic bully, you may enjoy this book. I can't imagine anyone else enjoying it.
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  • Meli
    March 4, 2017
    Madre mía, que trauma más retorcido.Excelente el impacto que logran los dos tipos de narración. Muy oscuro, muy cruel, muy angustiante. Que no los confundan las ilustraciones ni el tono distendido, este no es ni de casualidad un libro para chicos.
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  • Kayla
    June 16, 2017
    I read this book entirely in one sitting. I hadn't intended to, it just happened! The pages kept flying by and I didn't stop. I must say I really like this format and hope to see more like it in the future. It was such a change for me, a refreshing one! I will say that the story is very disturbing, but somewhat juvenile. For that, I gave it 4 stars. It reminds me a lot of a younger version of Girl, Interrupted. I've never gotten an ARC copy in my whole life, but somehow this month I ended up win I read this book entirely in one sitting. I hadn't intended to, it just happened! The pages kept flying by and I didn't stop. I must say I really like this format and hope to see more like it in the future. It was such a change for me, a refreshing one! I will say that the story is very disturbing, but somewhat juvenile. For that, I gave it 4 stars. It reminds me a lot of a younger version of Girl, Interrupted. I've never gotten an ARC copy in my whole life, but somehow this month I ended up winning 3. I won this book in a goodreads giveaway, thanks to Fierce Reads and couldn't have been happier to be a recipient!Edit: I forgot to mention how heavy this book is! I'm not sure if it's just the ARC copy or if the final copy will be the same, but this book is a brick! Or rather, like 3 bricks! I personally love the feel of a good, heavy tome though. So this was a joy to hold for me.
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  • Peggy
    July 3, 2017
    The disclaimer first: I am not a huge fan of either ghost stories or graphic novels. Even so, I found Thornhill to be compulsively readable. As a Youth Services Librarian I will be happy to have this to recommend to the scary story crowd. With a spooky orphanage as the setting, Smy uses alternating narrators from different timelines. The 1982 story-line is written in text; the 2017 plot is told entirely with gray tone illustrations. This format would be perfect for reluctant readers, but the sto The disclaimer first: I am not a huge fan of either ghost stories or graphic novels. Even so, I found Thornhill to be compulsively readable. As a Youth Services Librarian I will be happy to have this to recommend to the scary story crowd. With a spooky orphanage as the setting, Smy uses alternating narrators from different timelines. The 1982 story-line is written in text; the 2017 plot is told entirely with gray tone illustrations. This format would be perfect for reluctant readers, but the story has a much broader appeal with themes of bullying, loneliness, and friendship. I will be purchasing this for my library and recommend it for readers age 8 and up.
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  • Patrick
    July 18, 2017
    WOW. I just started and finished this book! I couldn't put it down. Told through illustrations and text. Same format as Hugo Cabret! Haunting and difficult. So much to think about! The ending was a complete shock!
  • Michael Earp
    July 30, 2017
    This book was amazing! It hits the creepy factor right on the money! Its format is in the vein of Brian Selznick, but is used to intensify the mood. A superbly told ghost story.
  • Eden
    May 17, 2017
    Dark and creepy. It feels fairly generic at first, but the twist at the end is enough to make the reader shiver a bit... a good strange read.
  • Sara
    July 21, 2017
    this story is so hopeless and dark but also so so beautiful. i love it
  • Lindsey
    June 20, 2017
    I finished this in one sitting, despite its length. Actually, I stayed up until 4 am to finish it because I couldn't put it down. And I started reading it the second I got it in the mail, even though I'm currently in the middle of a different book, which I put aside just to read this one because I was so enraptured by the first few pages. The illustrations are STUNNING. They told just as detailed a story as the narrated portions. The story has a bit of a creepy factor, a bit of a ghost story, a I finished this in one sitting, despite its length. Actually, I stayed up until 4 am to finish it because I couldn't put it down. And I started reading it the second I got it in the mail, even though I'm currently in the middle of a different book, which I put aside just to read this one because I was so enraptured by the first few pages. The illustrations are STUNNING. They told just as detailed a story as the narrated portions. The story has a bit of a creepy factor, a bit of a ghost story, a bit of an emotional tug of loneliness. I am completely in love with this book.I received a copy of this book through Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Rafael Ray (The Royal Polar Bear Reads)
    July 7, 2017
    Find my book review here: https://theroyalpolarbearreads.wordpr...Intriguing. Dark. Mysterious. Empowering. Thornhill is a book that I didn’t expect it to be. It is escalated in two timelines. One from the present which is narrated through illustrations and the other one is from the past which is introduced as a journal or a diary. I was delighted that I got to read this kind of book because this is my first time reaching out in one of the genres that I refused to read since I’m not really a fan Find my book review here: https://theroyalpolarbearreads.wordpr...Intriguing. Dark. Mysterious. Empowering. Thornhill is a book that I didn’t expect it to be. It is escalated in two timelines. One from the present which is narrated through illustrations and the other one is from the past which is introduced as a journal or a diary. I was delighted that I got to read this kind of book because this is my first time reaching out in one of the genres that I refused to read since I’m not really a fan of creepy things when it comes in a novel. However, Thornhill is pretty interesting when it tells a story about past and present alternatively and discusses the profound activity of mental violence, which I presume bullying.It was a compelling book because the way the author arrange the sequence and the journal chapters intrigues me more that I could imagine and the illustrations! I couldn’t believe that the author, herself, do the illustrations and that was magnificent! Writing your own book and making your own illustrations is simply amazing. Thornhill, indeed, crept me out of the illustrations and I really think it was given justice accordingly and I love it. I never read a book like this and that twist in the ending. Yeah, I don’t want to spoil you, guys but that twist made me look up to the book and think, “How did the author think of it?” and I didn’t see it coming. It was a brave choice to plot a story like that and I would like to applause the author for executing it well on the book. Thornhill is to look out for, I’ve never read something like this. It offers more than you’ve seen and if you would ask me if I would recommend this to middle-grade students? Definitely! I would like their minds to work, I want them to think, to wonder, to conspire and above all to feel the emotions of the book. It could be scary at some point but I really hope that they will receive as much lessons from the story while it’s unfolding the mystery.MY RATINGS: 4.5 STARS!
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  • L-J Lacey
    August 1, 2017
    This is a stunning debut novel that has taken my breath away. I knew I'd like "Thornhill" as soon as my Scholastic Rep Todd showed it to me, but I didn't realise how much I'd be taken with it.Literally, since Danielle showed me that it'd had arrived this morning, it hasn't left my hands. Once I started reading I NEEDED to find out how the story evolved and ended.I didn't really know what "Thornhill" was about and the plot surprised me a little. The ending though...total shock. I won't reveal it, This is a stunning debut novel that has taken my breath away. I knew I'd like "Thornhill" as soon as my Scholastic Rep Todd showed it to me, but I didn't realise how much I'd be taken with it.Literally, since Danielle showed me that it'd had arrived this morning, it hasn't left my hands. Once I started reading I NEEDED to find out how the story evolved and ended.I didn't really know what "Thornhill" was about and the plot surprised me a little. The ending though...total shock. I won't reveal it, but lets just say I loved it."Thornhill" is a double narrative set in 1982 with Mary (told through her diary) and concurrently set in 2017 with Ella (told through dark and evocative images). Ultimately this is a story of loneliness told in a melancholy way that will appeal to those that like a darker tale. The format of the novel (separate but linked stories, one told through illustrations and the other through words) is something that we are familiar with through Brian Selznick's amazing works (such as "The Invention of Hugo Cabret"), but it's certainly more difficult to do successfully. Pat Sym more than manages to do it well and it's hard to believe that this is her debut novel.The story moves fast and it isn't a difficult read. The diary/illustration format makes this a particularly good read for reluctant teen readers. Obviously I'd not expect this of a tween or reluctant reader, but I read "Thornhill" in four hours. Did I mention I loved it?L-JThree Four Knock on the DoorIndependent Children's Bookshop
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  • Samantha
    July 9, 2017
    When this arrived in the week I was intrigued, to begin with it was a mamouth read, something that can be intimidating, however it looked like a completely different type of read and I was looking forward to read something a little different. I began this today and finished it in an hour and 20 minutes, so don't be put off of the size of it. I thought this was very cleverly put together, we follow two girls in this story split 30 years apart but linked by one location. You get more into Mary's h When this arrived in the week I was intrigued, to begin with it was a mamouth read, something that can be intimidating, however it looked like a completely different type of read and I was looking forward to read something a little different. I began this today and finished it in an hour and 20 minutes, so don't be put off of the size of it. I thought this was very cleverly put together, we follow two girls in this story split 30 years apart but linked by one location. You get more into Mary's head, who lived at Thornhill (an orphanage) in 1982, we also meet Ella, who loves opposite 30 years later. We read the thoughts of Mary through a sequence of her diary and follow Ella's story through the illustrations. Although this is not my normal genre I really, really enjoyed it, it was different and I would love to read more by Smy. I really got into the story and I never saw the ending coming, which I was shocked about and felt a little sad at the same time, I thought I knew Mary quite well through her journal but I began to question my opinion on her at the end. It reminds you the power of illustration and how you can read so much through it. I would recommend this book to middle graders or young adult, however being an adult I enjoyed this and feel the book will stay with me for some time. I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Lucie Ferguson
    August 4, 2017
    Lush, monochromatic illustrations are paired with a written narrative to tell the haunting story of Mary, a girl being bullied at the Thornhill orphanage in 1982, and Ella, who discovers her diary in the present day.The illustrations are a joy to look at - the opening images drew me in immediately with the ominous view of Thornhill. In fact, many of them are rich enough to stand on their own, especially those set in the garden. Despite being entirely drawn in shades of grey, you feel the wildnes Lush, monochromatic illustrations are paired with a written narrative to tell the haunting story of Mary, a girl being bullied at the Thornhill orphanage in 1982, and Ella, who discovers her diary in the present day.The illustrations are a joy to look at - the opening images drew me in immediately with the ominous view of Thornhill. In fact, many of them are rich enough to stand on their own, especially those set in the garden. Despite being entirely drawn in shades of grey, you feel the wildness, abandonment and excitement of the territory as Ella explores it. The people are drawn a little awkwardly for my taste, but the settings are incredible.I found the text to be less fulfilling. Smy does a good job of making the girls' torment of Mary extremely haunting, but it mostly seems like an exercise in pain. Mary felt very real, with her puppets and difficulty speaking up, and sadly the story was believable. The creepy ending was my main problem, (view spoiler)[because it seems as though the reader is supposed to be glad that the two girls have each other now... are we overlooking the fact that one of them lured the other one to die in a fire?? (hide spoiler)] Even though it is expressed that Ella was sad and lonely, this seems like a weird tone and conclusion.
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  • 29Shift
    June 9, 2017
    Début author Pam Smy stuns with this hauntingly written and illustrated tale for tweens and teens. "Thornhill" is the story of two girls, Ella and Mary, with decades of separation. Mary's story is told through diary entries while Ella's is conveyed via illustration. The two narratives weave the disparate timelines together as Ella discovers what happened to Mary in the abandoned home for orphaned girls next door. While Ella appears gentle and inquisitive, Mary's suffers from "selective mutism" a Début author Pam Smy stuns with this hauntingly written and illustrated tale for tweens and teens. "Thornhill" is the story of two girls, Ella and Mary, with decades of separation. Mary's story is told through diary entries while Ella's is conveyed via illustration. The two narratives weave the disparate timelines together as Ella discovers what happened to Mary in the abandoned home for orphaned girls next door. While Ella appears gentle and inquisitive, Mary's suffers from "selective mutism" and is overcome by feelings of isolation and fear. As Ella unravels Mary's history, she will find herself eternally linked with Thornhill herself. While this review is based on a digital galley and final artwork/layouts were not seen, it is very clear that Smy has struck a perfect balance between the two narratives, unfurling details in just the right spots. The narrative becomes steadily darker until the last 10% of the story, when Smy unleashes the tale's true demons. Hand this book to any middle grade reader ready for something truly scary (though caution them that this isn't a jump-scare title) or any teen looking for a quick read. Here's hoping Pam Smy has many more dark and beautiful books in the works!
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  • Wendy
    July 12, 2017
    So, I love me a good creepy read. I read a massive load of YA, and at some point it all starts to read the same. Even the bully books seem to tell the same story with the same outcome. And honestly, there's nothing all that new about this bullying storyline. What is refreshing about this book and what makes it stand out is the format. I love how each girl's story is told differently - Mary's through her diary entries and Ella's through beautiful illustrations. And I was not expecting that ending So, I love me a good creepy read. I read a massive load of YA, and at some point it all starts to read the same. Even the bully books seem to tell the same story with the same outcome. And honestly, there's nothing all that new about this bullying storyline. What is refreshing about this book and what makes it stand out is the format. I love how each girl's story is told differently - Mary's through her diary entries and Ella's through beautiful illustrations. And I was not expecting that ending, which is my favorite thing in a good story. Another positive aspect about this book is that though the publisher is marketing for the upper middle grade audience, this is an excellent choice for teen readers, especially reluctant readers. It will also appeal to graphic novels readers. Definitely a book that I would add to my personal collection.Thanks to Macmillan and Roaring Book Press for the ARC!
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  • Jennifer
    July 29, 2017
    Thornhill is a novel with 2 storylines: one in prose and one illustrated, much as Brian Selznick's recent books have been, but with a much darker, creepier tone that sets this one firmly in teen. The prose story is about a girl named Mary living at Thornhill, an orphanage for girls in 1982. She is bullied terribly and as girls start leaving, as plans to shut Thornhill down progress, her torment grows greater. Ella, a girl in 2017, moves into the house behind Thornhill with her father in the illu Thornhill is a novel with 2 storylines: one in prose and one illustrated, much as Brian Selznick's recent books have been, but with a much darker, creepier tone that sets this one firmly in teen. The prose story is about a girl named Mary living at Thornhill, an orphanage for girls in 1982. She is bullied terribly and as girls start leaving, as plans to shut Thornhill down progress, her torment grows greater. Ella, a girl in 2017, moves into the house behind Thornhill with her father in the illustrated storyline. She sees strange things at Thornhill from her bedroom window and decides to investigate. Both girls are incredibly lonely and looking for some kind of connection. The unusual format works very well for this story and though the galley clocks in at over 530 pages, it really just takes a few hours to read. It comes out in August but would make an excellent read on a brisk October night. Review from galley.
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  • Brandy
    July 23, 2017
    Mary has been living at Thornhill for a long time--long enough to have seen other girls come and go, to get adopted or fostered somewhere, and occasionally returned. Mary keeps to herself in her attic room, sculpting puppets and avoiding the others girls, and in particular avoiding the one who bullies her mercilessly. Ella has just moved to town, and sees the old Thornhill building from her bedroom window. She's seen glimpses of a girl on the property, and is eager to make a friend. Told in alte Mary has been living at Thornhill for a long time--long enough to have seen other girls come and go, to get adopted or fostered somewhere, and occasionally returned. Mary keeps to herself in her attic room, sculpting puppets and avoiding the others girls, and in particular avoiding the one who bullies her mercilessly. Ella has just moved to town, and sees the old Thornhill building from her bedroom window. She's seen glimpses of a girl on the property, and is eager to make a friend. Told in alternating viewpoints (Mary's 1982 prose and Ella's 2017 wordless comics), the two stories come together in an unsettling conclusion.Mary's prose sounds more like it was written in 1882 than 1982, possibly a deliberate choice to echo the tone of The Secret Garden (to which Thornhill-Mary makes several allusions). I found this okay, but middle-graders will probably love it.Via Netgalley.
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  • Anna
    July 31, 2017
    Usually I'm not a big fan of "scary" books, but I was completely sucked into Thornhill! I was intrigued by Mary's story from the very beginning and needed to find out what happened to her, so much so that I read this book in one sitting. Based on the cover of the book and the description, I knew that this book had some creepier elements to it and I found myself almost wincing as I turned every page, waiting for something scary to "jump out at me". Pam Smy decided to save most of the scariness fo Usually I'm not a big fan of "scary" books, but I was completely sucked into Thornhill! I was intrigued by Mary's story from the very beginning and needed to find out what happened to her, so much so that I read this book in one sitting. Based on the cover of the book and the description, I knew that this book had some creepier elements to it and I found myself almost wincing as I turned every page, waiting for something scary to "jump out at me". Pam Smy decided to save most of the scariness for the very end and boy did it creep me out! I also thought this book was a great combination of graphic novel and prose! I liked how the story switched between the two in order to show changes in time and point of view. I think that middle grade students who enjoy scary books will really enjoy Thornhill!
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  • Amy Nicole
    July 21, 2017
    This was a creepy book about a girl, Ella, who moves into a house near the abandoned Thornhill Institute for Children and finds a diary from another girl, Mary, who lived in the home in 1982. Ella's story is told through pictures and Mary's story is told through her diary entries. The story was bizarre and creepy. It definitely creates an atmosphere of suspense and mystery, and I couldn't put it down once I started. That being said, the characters were fairly one dimensional and the plot was a b This was a creepy book about a girl, Ella, who moves into a house near the abandoned Thornhill Institute for Children and finds a diary from another girl, Mary, who lived in the home in 1982. Ella's story is told through pictures and Mary's story is told through her diary entries. The story was bizarre and creepy. It definitely creates an atmosphere of suspense and mystery, and I couldn't put it down once I started. That being said, the characters were fairly one dimensional and the plot was a bit generic. It's definitely worth a read, but it's unfortunately not my favorite. I was given an ebook from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Concetta Kellough
    July 27, 2017
    Mary is an bullied orphan living at Thornhill in 1982. We learn of Mary and her circumstances through her diary. Ella is a young girl living in present times who moves in next to Thornhill, which has been closed and abandoned since 1982. The reader follows Ella's story through illustrations interspersed between the written entries of Mary's diary.Pam Smy does an excellent job of integrating the story of Mary via her diary to Ella in present day via illustrations. The story was captivating and mo Mary is an bullied orphan living at Thornhill in 1982. We learn of Mary and her circumstances through her diary. Ella is a young girl living in present times who moves in next to Thornhill, which has been closed and abandoned since 1982. The reader follows Ella's story through illustrations interspersed between the written entries of Mary's diary.Pam Smy does an excellent job of integrating the story of Mary via her diary to Ella in present day via illustrations. The story was captivating and moves quickly and easily from one point in time to the next. I think teens will enjoy both the plot and drawings.
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  • Bethany
    May 9, 2017
    Reading this book, I kept thinking this is a pretty typical bully story, mixed with a pretty typical new lonely girl story. Both were fine, and the way they melded across time was interesting. I could think of a lot of students (6th /7th grade) that I would recommend the book to. A solid three star book. Then I got to the end. The book became more than just a girl meets ghost story; I was not expecting that twist and it is now a much more interesting book (but maybe a little harder to talk about Reading this book, I kept thinking this is a pretty typical bully story, mixed with a pretty typical new lonely girl story. Both were fine, and the way they melded across time was interesting. I could think of a lot of students (6th /7th grade) that I would recommend the book to. A solid three star book. Then I got to the end. The book became more than just a girl meets ghost story; I was not expecting that twist and it is now a much more interesting book (but maybe a little harder to talk about?) to recommend to students.
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  • Abby Pechin
    July 21, 2017
    Extremely unique novel because there is many pictures that tell the story of the main character, Ella. She ends up entering Thornhill, the dilapidated and vacant insane asylum across the street of her new home because she sees a girl over there. The ending was unexpected and somewhat disturbing after I read it and became attached to Ella's willingness to help the other girl by fixing her old and broken down dolls. This book is a keeper!
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  • Stacey
    June 17, 2017
    A beautiful graphic novel interspersed with journal entries telling the story of two girls thirty years apart. This is a dark tale, but not too grown up for a middle grade reader. It's one of those books parents might not love but it takes the orphan ghost story in a new light (or shadow). The use of black space in the book heightens the emotions and suspense. I would suggest this to any lover of graphic novels, The Secret Garden, or Brian Selznick.
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  • Margie
    July 17, 2017
    First this book is very heavy and 526 pages long in the advance reader's copy. It's interesting in that one girl's story is told through her diary and the other through pictures only. Don't let the length stop you as the diary pages are all your reading. The twist at the end is worth the read alone. Aimed at the teen reader as an adult I found it different from anything I've read. Contains bullying, loneliness, frightful moments for the young girl, no adult help.
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  • Andy Plemmons
    June 10, 2017
    Love that the story is told from two perspectives: 1 in pictures and 1 in diary. It's a mix of creepy and a story of loneliness and bullying. Some of the pictures were hard to see all the details because they hide in the gutter of the book. I won't give away the ending but it was not what I was expecting. A surprise that left me thinking.
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  • Laura Phelps
    August 5, 2017
    2.5 stars, really. So creepy and disturbing. Kids who enjoy being scared might like piecing together the two stories and the combination of (exquisite) artwork and text make it quite accessible. The brutality of the bullying and the final conclusion, however, make this a very dark tale. Not my cup of tea, but horror fans might disagree.
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  • Kerrie
    July 21, 2017
    *This ARC made available through Netgalley *This was great. The story weaves itself back and forth through journal entries of an orphan at Thornhill in 1982 and through illustrations of a girl who moves next door to the abandoned building during present day. Such a neat format! A sad story with such a sense of foreboding. I think a lot of students will like this one!
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  • Dulce
    July 1, 2017
    By the thickness of the book, you'd think it would be hard to get by. But be best assured that is not the case here. With its vivid illustrations and diary style, you easily get swept by its eerie and haunting plot. Quite predictable but you can never get tired of reading one of these every now and then.
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  • Angela
    July 5, 2017
    SO SCARY! As in, I am now officially spooked. I love the way the two storytlines work together and the way the illustrated portion works to make that happen. This was great and a fast read (another bonus).