Hi Everyone! It’s Becky again. When you go to BEA you are handed a lot of stuff and I mean a lot of stuff. When I emptied my bags just a few of things I had collected were: many tote bags, modeling clay, post-its and the ARC for the interesting “Thornhill” by Pam Smy which I am going to share with you today.
In a village in England two girls’ lives will be forever going to be changed by Thornhill.
In 1982 Mary is orphan living in the government run facility Thornhill. She has been ostracized and tormented by the group of mean girls who rule the facility. The only bright spot in Mary’s life are her puppets that she crafts from clay and paper mache. But when it is announced that Thornhill and all the girls are moved except Mary’s greatest tormentor nothing can save Mary from her despair what happens next will have a ripple effect that last longer than the girls or the facility.
In 2016 Ella moves across the street from the abandoned Thornhill facility. Alone in a new town Ella begins to explore the grounds of Thornhill and gets lured into a facilities legacy of lonely and despair.
Though they lived decades apart these two girls lives will intercept and their destinies will forever entwine.
Have you ever finished a book and thought: What just happened? That was my reaction to “Thornhill”. I literally had a moment of sputtering confusion where I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with this book. First thing’s first, I have to say that this book is haunting and beautiful in both it’s narration and illustrations. Mary’s journey is told through disturbing diary entires that outline her torment at the hands of bullies at Thornhill while Ella’s story is presented in a series of illustrations that show her isolation and loneliness. The format of illustrations interspersed with written proses makes this book an incredible quick read even though it’s well over 500 pages (think “The Invention of Hugo Cabret”) making it perfect for reluctant readers and the book’s underlying themes of depression, loneliness, and bullying which is the stuff of middle grade and YA gold however I’m not sure who is the intended audience. The record of Mary’s bullying is graphic and disturbing and added to the characters’ final fate “Thornhill” may be too intense for tween readers. But the characters appear to be too young for their stories to appeal to older teens.
Bottomline: “Thornhill” is a great book for reluctant readers looking for a quick read about bulling or depression however readers looking for a deeper read may want to look elsewhere.
Final Rating: 3 out of 5