Unearthly Things

Michelle Gagnon. Soho Teen, $16.99 (288p) ISBN 978-1-61695-696-7
Jane Eyre was no Hawaiian surfer girl, but her story provides the framework for Gagnon’s clever update of the Brontë classic. Janie Mason, forced to leave Kona after her parents are killed in a helicopter crash, finds herself in the gloomy San Francisco mansion of the Rochester family, her new guardians. She’s coolly welcomed by matriarch Marion, who seems to detest her on sight, and imposing patriarch Richard. The only friendly Rochester is six-year-old Nicholas, but Janie errs by mentioning Eliza, learning too late that she’s Nicholas’s recently deceased twin (with whom he still regularly converses). School isn’t any better, though Janie eventually meets a boy, Daniel, who has baggage and bad blood with the Rochesters. Gagnon (Don’t Let Go) plays up the gaslighting element of the story well: when things start going bump in the night, Janie isn’t sure if she’s losing her mind or if someone is trying to make her believe she is, perhaps even the newly arrived Rochester bad boy, John. Fully rounded characters and abundant suspense help Gagnon’s novel hold its own amid other contemporary Eyre reimaginings. Ages 14–up. Agent: Stephanie Rostan, Levine, Greenburg, Rostan. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/06/2017
Release date: 04/11/2017
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-61695-875-6
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