The Turning

Francine Prose. HarperTeen, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-199966-6
This alluring epistolary retelling of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw traces a contemporary babysitter’s supernatural encounters. The protagonist, Jack, is hoping to earn some money for college when he agrees to care for orphan siblings on Crackstone’s Landing, a remote island without phones, Internet, or TV. Upon settling into the “Dark House” to care for Miles and Flora (who are like “[m]iniature, polite grown-ups”), Jack begins to have misgivings about the job. Still, things don’t begin to go awry until Jack is spooked by two ethereal figures, perhaps the ghosts of the children’s former governess and her beau. Jack’s growing anxiety, physical decline, and obsession with the female ghost are heavily foreshadowed and clearly expressed through his letters to his girlfriend (which make up the bulk of the narrative), yet it is left for readers to determine how much of what Jack undergoes is real. Remaining true to the ambiguous nature of the original, Prose (Touch) masterfully builds suspense. Like Adele Griffin’s Tighter (2011), this spin on the classic tale is an enticing blend of gothic elements and psychological complexities. Ages 13–up. Agent: Denise Shannon, Denise Shannon Literary Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/10/2012
Release date: 09/01/2012
Genre: Children's
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-226251-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-220178-2
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-0-06-219028-4
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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