Friday, July 8, 2011

Review: Tighter by Adele Griffin

Tighter by Adele Griffin

Pages: 216
Publisher: Knopf Books
Published: May 10th, 2011

IBSN: 9780375866456

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. 

The first book I've read by Adele Griffin, Tighter was a subtle and foreshadowing psychological thriller.

Tighter is about Jamie, a seventeen-year-old girl who travels to the small island of Little Bly to work as an au pair. There, she's haunted by the girl in the position before her - Jessie, who bears a striking resemblance to her - and her boyfriend who both died tragically and mysteriously before her arrival.

Has anyone else ever wondered who first-person narrators are talking to? I mean, surely people don't think in the way books are narrated, filling themselves in on past events in depth. The narration in Tighter struck me as different, however, with it actually feeling like being in Jamie's head. She didn't take breaks to remind us of past events, she reacted realistically on seemingly paranormal things happening to her, and her feelings were portrayed in such a way that it was easy to feel for and with her.

Partly due to this, Jamie was very easy to like and believe. Her past - only alluded to briefly when something reminded her of it - had a definite and noticeable affect on her current melancholy, earnest voice. Her character was built so innocently and sincerely that the late twist had me honestly surprised.

However, the ending gave too much closure, given the haunting tone of the book. I was expecting - hoping - for some things left ambiguous, to maintain the mystique. I actually wish I never read the last 10 or so pages.

In short, Tighter was a creepy, gorgeously-written story with a dramatic twist and a decidedly less dramatic denouement.

I give Tighter a 4 out of 5.

Recommend it for fans of: Choker by Elizabeth Woods, Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James.