cover image Tighter


Adele Griffin. Knopf, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-375-86645-6

Griffin (The Julian Game) offers a modernized version of Henry James's The Turn of the Screw that stars Jamie, a young au pair who is fast becoming a prescription drug addict. Shortly after arriving at Little Bly Island to care for 11-year-old Isa (who is still deeply disturbed by the death of her former au pair, Jessie), Jamie is surprised by the return of Isa's older brother, Milo, who "got tossed" from summer camp. Living in a household ruled by a cantankerous housekeeper and frequently disrupted by Milo's antics, Jamie turns to stolen pills. She becomes less and less sure of what is real, coming to believe that the ghosts of Jessie and the au pair's boyfriend are haunting her ("The unrest of their death was defiant, it beckoned from the corners"). Sure to please fans of gothic romance, Griffin's tale adds new psychological dimensions to James's classic novella as it delves into Jamie's pill-popping, her family's history of mental illness, and her unrequited love for a teacher who brushed her off. Eerily intriguing from first page to last. Ages 12%E2%80%93up. (May)