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The Turning

2.64 of 5 stars 2.64  ·  rating details  ·  595 ratings  ·  163 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
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 teenage - 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, "Sophie ...more
*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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Review originally posted on my blog

I haven’t read Turn of the Screw, but I had pretty mixed feelings towards The Turning by Francine Prose. I’m a huge fan of YA horror/thriller/mystery/creepy so I dove into The Turning with high expectations.

And I enjoyed a lot of The Turning. I really enjoyed the format at first – it’s not very often that you find a young adult book written in the epistolary format. But the thing about the epistolary format is that we ba
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.
Rachel E
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.
So the book wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. The dialogue was horrendous; he said, she said doesn’t ignite much in my mind. Also not sure how I feel with regards to the entire letter writing format. And the ending was very predictable.

What I really enjoyed was Jack’s transformation when he meets Lucy. He just goes paranoid nuts. Wished the children were more involved in the ending of the plot, but oh well. There were also bits and pieces that reminded me of other horror books, like the n
Sassy Spratt
Have you ever read a book, not quite sure if the main character was crazy or not? I felt like this throughout the entirety of The Turning, a psychological thriller type young adult novel about a boy named Jack, who spends the summer on a pretty creepy little island. A single, very rich family inherits the island, and people around the area who know of the place are very wary of it.

The story starts with Jack boarding a boat to get on this island. Immediately he starts witnessing some pretty dist
Robert Gordon
Great book. I never would have thought of this idea. The book makes me shiver its so creepy in a good way!!!
Different type of format - entire story was told through a series of letters, mostly the main character Jack writing to his girlfriend or his father. He's spending the summer on a (mostly) deserted island babysitting 2 kids in order to make some money. I found it very easy to read and very compelling, although it went from slow descent into abrupt crazytown. And the end was very open-ended. I really liked the beginning and middle with the setup and learning who the characters were, but I felt th ...more
Though The Turning is the first novel I’ve read by Francine Prose, it isn’t my first experience with this author. A couple of semesters ago I had a class on rhetoric, and an essay (or rather, a raging rant) by Prose was used as an example of how NOT to make an effective argument. Similarly, I think that The Turning could be an example of how NOT to write a YA ghost story. Francine Prose did everything wrong in this book; the best part about The Turning is its gorgeous cover. Everything else was ...more
Once again, it was the cover that drew me into wanting to read this book. I love stories about haunted houses and this one gave me hope that it would be a creepy, dark read. It couldn't have been that bad, I read it in 2 days, so this alone tells you that it was hard to put the book down.

The book started out decent with the creepy description of the two kids that Jack is supposed to be caring for, Miles and Flora. They were dressed in old world clothing and were very polite and intelligent for
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Epic Reads Book Club: October Book Club: THE TURNING! 6 36 Oct 20, 2013 02:28PM  
Epic Reads Book Club: Do you believe the narrator? 2 20 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...
Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 Blue Angel Goldengrove Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife

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