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The Turning

2.61  ·  Rating Details  ·  704 Ratings  ·  190 Reviews
A dark house.
An isolated island.
Strange dreams
and even stranger
visions . . .

Jack is spending the summer on a private island far from modern conveniences. No Wi-Fi, no cell service, no one else on the island but a housekeeper and the two very peculiar children in his care. The first time Jack sees the huge black mansion atop a windswept hill, he senses something cold, som
Hardcover, 246 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by HarperTeen
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Community Reviews

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"It's cold in here," she said.

"I know. I'm freezing," I said.

"But you're sick," she said. "I'm just dead."

"You're dead?" I said.

"You already knew that," she said.

"I am seriously sick," I said. "Is this really happening?"

"This is really happening," she said.

Once she said that, a lot of things seemed settled.

and what exactly, is settled?? well, that this epistolary retelling of The Turn of the Screw will lose a lot of the nuance of its source material, for one, and that while it isn't really as ba
This was SO bad. Original review posted on The Book Smugglers

The Turning is a failed, poorly-executed attempt at retelling Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw.

Jack is a high school senior who needs to save money for college and as such, has accepted a summer position as a babysitter. He is to take care of two orphaned children, Miles and Flora, at the only house on an isolated island where the two children live with a housekeeper. Jack has been hired by the children’s uncle who does not want to
Paige  Bookdragon

Kinda feels like a washed out horror story. I expected something sinister and scary from a Francine Prose book but this one disappoints me. Some things weren't explained properly and there are some loopholes in the story. The MC took a massive change of character which really confuses the fuck out me because in the previous chapter, he was okay, the next he was transformed into a dick.

After reading a book, I'm not sure if this is a ghost story or a "hallucination" thingy book.

Oct 02, 2015 Jennifer rated it it was ok
I had two major issues with this book. The first is format. I've loved some books that use a letter writing or diary format, in fact, some of my favorite books have unreliable narrators so they often use a letter or diary format. Unfortunately for The Turning, the use of letter writing just isn't well done. Jack doesn't write at all like a teenager - I mean AT ALL. It is really disconcerting. He also frequently tells the reader about something that was told to him. So you get things like, "Sophi ...more
Nov 17, 2012 Owen rated it it was ok
*Spoilers included in this review*

I'm so disappointed. I really wanted to like this. I got it from the library (free finished copy to keep!) for an upcoming Halloween book club and I was so excited because the cover is amazing. It sounded really creepy too.

It is about a boy named Jack who, in order to get some money for college, goes to spend the summer on a remote island, Crackstone's Landing, babysitting two kids, Miles and Flora Crackstone, whose parent were killed in an accident. There is no
May 18, 2012 Gem rated it really liked it
Shelves: yabooks, read2012
Just finished an ARC of this book. I rarely read ghost stories so my creepy ratings are usually pretty skewed (ie. everything is scary).

The story is told in letters, mainly from the main character, Jack, to his girlfriend, Sophie. The story reads well, although the language doesn't exactly sound like a realistic teen boy to a teen girl. No matter though, as the letters are quite fluid and engaging. I read through this book in one sitting, mostly to find out what happened. I'm not familiar with
Sue Moro
Jul 28, 2013 Sue Moro rated it liked it
The Turning is a modern day retelling of the Gothic classic The Turn of the Screw by Henry James.

The story is about a young man named Jack who is hired to babysit two orphans on an isolated island, owned by their Uncle who is their guardian. The island has no television, radio, internet, or phones. Quite oddly, the Uncle tells Jack he doesn't want to hear about anything that takes place on the island. Any circumstances that arise are to be handled by Jack and the children's guardian, Linda.

On th
BAYA Librarian
Nov 22, 2012 BAYA Librarian rated it it was ok
In this modern retelling of The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, high school student Jack takes a job as a guardian and playmate for two peculiar children on an isolated island. The children’s uncle, who hires Jack, says he wants no communication with Jack or with the orphaned children. The island has no telephone or Internet service, and Jack will see only Linda, the children’s full-time caretaker, and the occasional workman. But soon Jack begins to learn about the island’s strange past and be ...more
Feb 22, 2013 Alicia rated it it was ok
I'm not quite sure what I just read? I think it was a ghost story or was it about mental illness or two vampire-like, strange kids, or a creepy island, or a haunted house? I think it created some great suspense at the beginning as a very strange uncle interviews Jack to "play/entertain" his niece and nephew for a summer but the slow unravel of a sinister ghost story isn't sustained. There are a few mysterious stories that are told and set Jack up to begin hallucinating or dreaming and the odd pr ...more
May 01, 2013 Maria rated it did not like it
This book is labeled as young adult, but I would definitely mark it as a tween novel, just in case.

The Turning focuses on a teenager named Jack who has decided to work a summer job as a babysitter on an island secluded in the middle of nowhere, in what looks like a haunted castle. Yea...sounds like my idea of fun.

I had a couple of issues with this book.

1) the entire novel is written in the form of letters between Jack and Sophie, his girlfriend, and Jack's dad. But to me, it was a great idea ex
Oct 16, 2012 April marked it as did-not-finish
The book begins with pages upon pages of the main character writing a letter and telling his girlfriend things she already knows in order to fill the reader in on his background. Skimming indicates that he later writes a letter to his father that includes an actual conversation they had with one another.

That sort of lazy storytelling just makes me furious so I'm walking away.
Sep 02, 2013 Alexandra rated it liked it
This book was very easy to read and I flew through it in a matter of hours. Francine Prose has a writing style that makes you not want to put the book down. And because the fact that this book was written in letters (to the main character's father and also to his girlfriend) instead of chapters, it made you want to finish each letter before closing the book.
I thought the setting of the book was very apropos for a horror novel: a remote island with a huge mansion in which live a cook and two cre
A young man takes a job as a nanny to two young children at their family home on a remove island. He senses that something is not quite right with the house, or with the children. He begins to see shadows and figures on the grounds and in the house, but he is unsure if they're real or if they're all a part of an elaborate plot to drive him insane.

This book reminds me of the Turn of the Screw in terms of plot, but little else. I know it's a YA book, but the writing was really bad. It's written in
Life Between Coffee Spoons
Choosing a rating for this one was hard. Two stars feels so harsh, yet three stars feels far too generous.

Jack is a teenager hired to babysit two children for the summer on a remote island with no phones or television. Thus, to communicate with his father and girlfriend back home, he has to rely on writing letters. The epistolary format kept the book interesting, though I think it compromised some of the character depth.

The good: I've never read The Turn of the Screw, but this novel made me want
Jack's summer job is to hang out with two eerily well-behaved children on an isolated island--no TV, phones, internet, cell service, nothing. Despite his early misgivings about the job (including the seagull screaming at him to turn back on the ferry over), he enjoys it--but there's still something weird. Then he starts seeing the man. And then the red-haired woman from the ferry. And then learns that they're both dead, and the mysteries keep on coming.

A retelling of The Turn of the Screw (which
Amanda (Good Choice Reading)
Had potential but didn't measure up. May have made a decent B horror film, but the format (letters to the girlfriend back home) made it dull, and the ending was especially unsatisfying.
Sep 18, 2015 Mandi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio
Very good audiobook! I was a bit surprised to see it classified as YA, it did not have a YA feel to it. I highly recommended for anyone who enjoy books that give you a creepy feeling.
Oct 30, 2015 Msbookgeek rated it liked it
The turning was great read. Not perfect or the best I ever read, but I like it. I like the plot, but I felt something was missing from the story. You meet Jack as the main character. I love Jack and I love how the entire book was written in letters from him to his girlfriend and his father. When we first meet him, Jack is on his way to an island, to take care of two peculiar children for the summer. There live no one else on this island except from two children and the housekeeper. It all seems ...more
Dec 25, 2015 Hollowspine rated it it was ok
Review contains spoilers of both this book and Turn of the Screw by Henry James.

This story is (heavily) inspired by the Turn of the Screw by Henry James. Prose switches the gender on the main character, instead of a young woman pining after the affections of her absent employer this time we've got young Jack headed to an isolated island with no WiFi or even landline, cut off from the modern world. His job is to take care of two young children for the summer.

The children are strange, they act sti
Rachel Evans
Sep 23, 2014 Rachel Evans rated it did not like it
Originally I was very excited for this book and expecting a fun scary novel.....instead I got something rather boring and in the end didn't answer all of the mysterious ghost type questions that the novel brought up. It just ended up being a big disappointment. On a funny note, the main character is named Jack and I have had my cat for 6 years now named Jack. About 3 years ago I got a second cat, a little sister for Jack and her name is Sophie....which is the name of character Jack's girlfriend. ...more
Courtney B
Apr 05, 2016 Courtney B rated it liked it
Overall this b00k was okay, I feel like there wasn't a big climax to the book and that there wasn't enough happening in the book to keep it interesting. I like the suspense that the book had and how it kept you thinking what may happen in the end. To me, I feel like the book was missing something, if there was more events, scary moments,or just a little more to the story I think I would of liked it a lot more. Although I did really liked the way this book was written, and how it was easy to unde ...more
Forever Young Adult
Graded By: Erin
Cover Story: Almost Spooky
BFF Charm: Nay
Swoonworthy Scale: 0
Talky Talk: Epistolary Expectations, Unfulfilled
Bonus Factors: Henry James, The House On the Hill
Relationship Status: You're the Billy Lewis To My Reva Shane

Read the full book report here.
Angelina Justice
Nov 06, 2012 Angelina Justice rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, horror
I really wanted to like this book, but I couldn't. The character building was fantastic, but the writing and delivery were all wrong for our modern setting and the social constructs that society operates under.

The neverending, almost formal, letter format via which the narrator tells the story is the killing blow for this novel.

Potential epic fail.
Mar 25, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-fiction
Reviewed at Brunner's Bookshelf first.

I didn’t know what to expect from this book, nor did I really have high aspirations for this book right from the start. This had a really cool cover, and I think it was a Goodreads recommends based off of something on one of my shelves. I have had this sitting in my to-read list for a while now, and I was in need of a book fast, and this was all the library had available that I wanted to read. I really liked this book, and I’m so glad I read it.

As I said, t
Jul 19, 2012 Casey rated it liked it
Creepy, strange ghost story based on The Turn of the Screw. The epistolary format felt a bit forced, though, and the ending wasn't as much of a twist or an ambiguous ending as I wanted, it really just kind of ended completely abruptly. But teens will like the cover and the synopsis, so they may try it.
Gwen Burke
Apr 03, 2015 Gwen Burke rated it did not like it
With my failure during LAST Halloween/October to find a book that was enough of a thriller I picked this up on a whim from Book Outlet. The plan was to save it for this Halloween/October but I was in a slump this month so wanted a quick read. With only 246 pages it was a quick read. I think I read it in one or two nights. The synopsis sounds intriguing enough, and the layout (a series of letters) made me want to pick it up. Sadly, this book was a huge disappointment. I know it was written with a ...more
Apr 26, 2014 Cherry rated it liked it
3 stars

I think I found the book interesting (like I'm not sure right?)

Plot Summary
Jack was hired by Jim Crackstone to be a governess of his niece and nephew in an isolated island. The Kids, Miles and Flora is in care of Linda, the family cook and the one who take care of the kids since they were little.

"Flora was wearing a long white gown, edged with lace."

"And Miles wore pants, a blazer jacket with crest on the pocket, and - you're not going to believe this - a tie."


While on the ferry going to
Listened for Fun (Library)
Overall Rating: DNF

Audio Rating: 5.00 (not part of the overall rating)

Quick DNF Thoughts: The Turning by Francine Prose was just too rambly and not enough scary for me to finish. It is a short read (I gave it 25%) but it really needed to be a tighter story. Sad that I just could not get into it enough to finish it because the audio was AMAZING! I have heard the story actually gets better as you go a long but I have lots on my TBR shelf.

Audio Thoughts
Narrated By Kirby He
Jul 27, 2012 paula rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Not terrible, but not great, and never hit that shivery note of dread that I look for in a good horror story. Frankly, I'd rather read Henry James - and I'm not sure I've ever put those words together in a sentence before.
I seriously LOVED this book so much and was all ready to give it 5 stars, and then I got to the end. The ending was horrible. Every good weird novel needs a twist and this novel had tons of suspense leading up to........nothing.
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Epic Reads Book Club: October Book Club: THE TURNING! 6 38 Oct 20, 2013 02:28PM  
Epic Reads Book Club: Do you believe the narrator? 2 21 Oct 20, 2013 01:42PM  
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Francine Prose (born in 1947 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American novelist. She graduated from Radcliffe College in 1968, and received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1991. She has sat on the board of judges for the PEN/Newman's Own Award, and her novel Blue Angel, a satire about sexual harassment on college campuses, was a finalist for the National Book Award. She is now teaching at Bard College.

More about Francine Prose...

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