Saturday, May 21, 2011

Review: Tighter

Tighter by Adele Griffin

publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers

release date: May 10th, 2011

hardcover, 208 pages

intended audience: Young adult


source: from publisher for honest review

description: When 17-year-old Jamie arrives on the idyllic New England island of Little Bly to work as a summer au pair, she is stunned to learn of the horror that precedes her. Seeking the truth surrounding a young couple's tragic deaths, Jamie discovers that she herself looks shockingly like the dead girl—and that she has a disturbing ability to sense the two ghosts. Why is Jamie's connection to the couple so intense? What really happened last summer at Little Bly? As the secrets of the house wrap tighter and tighter around her, Jamie must navigate the increasingly blurred divide between the worlds of the living and the dead.

Brilliantly plotted, with startling twists, here is a thrilling page-turner from the award-winning Adele Griffin.

Review: Normally, when a book shows up on my doorstep, I crack it open immediately and read a few pages, just to get a feel for it. Well, with Tighter, I did just that...and didn't put it down until I was almost 150 pages in. This was my first experience with Adele Griffin's work, but her writing style is so unique. The prose she put to use in this story were perfect to make it the bewitching, mind-boggling mystery thriller that it is. I spent most of the story feeling exactly as a reader should with this kind of Alfred Hitchock-style thriller: enthralled, curious, but constantly in the back of my mind saying "what the heck is going on??" (but in a good way!).

The main character, Jamie, had a very distinctive voice. The choppy writing style with interwoven mother goose lines gave the reader a perfect insight into the weird, smart-assed, but definitely depressed workings of her mind. She is a lost young woman, stealing and popping prescription meds of all kinds to smooth over her emotions. The story hints at her recent past: a short lived affair with a teacher and friendships that are barely hanging on. She takes a job as an au pair to Isa, an extremely chatty and imaginative little girl. When she finds out she is a replacement to Isa's last au pair who died, and that she looks almost exactly like her, that's when the really mystery begins. She starts seeing things and hearing things in and around the big eerie house that compel her to dig deeper and find out what really happened.

The story unfolds at a perfect pace, the tension builds and builds. While some things I predicted (I had Milo figured out pretty early on), others came as pretty mind-blowing surprises. I definitely enjoyed this one and highly recommend it!

As an end note, I'll point out that this book is a retelling of Henry James' Turn of the Screw. I've never read that story so I can't compare it to the original, but Tighter definitely inspires me to give the original a try!

Read an excerpt here.
Visit Adele Griffin's website here.
The book has a website of it's own! See it here.

Purchase Tighter at: AmazonBN.comBookDepository Indiebound


  1. I haven't read any of Adele Griffin's other books either, but I'm super excited to read this one. It sounds like just my kind of thing. Great review! :)

  2. I love anything that is set in New England... so just on that fact alone I would buy this book. I've never been but I've seen how gorgeous and inspiring it is on TV. I also love anything that has ghostly connections!
    Thanks for the introduction to what sounds excellent.
    Best wishes
    Suzy Turner, YA urban fantasy author

  3. This sounds really good--I really liked her last book Picture the Dead, which she did with Lisa Brown. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Haha, love the idea of random mother goose lines! Great review, and this definitely sounds like an exciting read that I'll have to check out -- thanks! :)

  5. I'm so glad you liked it! I love Adele's writing. She says so much with so few words. Good for you for figuring out Milo! I had no idea about him at all, though I did get the other surprise (but only because I've read The Turn of the Screw).