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3.29  ·  Rating Details ·  567 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews
Bookseller Reviews

A strong novel by author of I Am Amelia Earhart. Though only fourteen years old, Beckett leads a life that most adults would consider daunting. Living with her widowed father in New York City, she sees herself perpetually on the edge of the world she surveys; an outsider peering in at cynical teachers and the "in-crowd" of Beautiful Girls. Drawn to an omn

Hardcover, 208 pages
Published August 28th 2000 by Riverhead Hardcover
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(showing 1-30)
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What a strange little book. Very like a combination of Rosemary's Baby and Suspiria. Can't give away any of the plot points. It would be a shame. The book is short enough that it won't keep you guessing for long. I like how creative and very open-ended it is, leaving the readers to make their own conclusions about what really transpired, what is illusion and what is reality. The writing style however, I was not enamored with. I normally like highly visual style, but all these kaleidoscope of col ...more
Jul 26, 2016 Chy rated it liked it
All right, I vowed not to do this sort of thing until after the year was up, but I’m going to tell you how I came upon this book. Because I think it’s pertinent to my opinion and this review. I bought this at Goodwill. It’s a hardback with no dust jacket—nothing to tell me what it was about. It’s about diary-sized, which appealed to me. I flipped through it and the format made me wince, which for some reason, is something else that appealed to me. Lastly, the author’s name reminds me of Gregor M ...more
Jan 11, 2012 Stephanie rated it did not like it
Shelves: ugh, ya-read
This is the worst book I have ever read. I'm more ashamed to have this on my shelf than Twilight, and I think that speaks volumes. At least this book came out BEFORE vampires were cool. I wish I could give this book negative stars while simultaneously burning down the Barnes & Noble where I found it on the clearance table. I was book-poor and money-poor back then. Thank goodness I don't have to read trash like this anymore. Everything is completely horrible in this book. The characters, the ...more
Jul 03, 2014 snowplum rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 07, 2011 Tracy rated it it was amazing
I can't believe this is YA fiction. I loved every minute of this! I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a book so much. There's so much here too; it's just so good I can't stop thinking about it. Even if you ignore the deeper meanings and take this book at face value, it's worth every star for the story alone. Deliciously gross and twisty, I didn't want to stop till I finished. I really enjoyed the author's writing style; it was concise and vivid. This one gave me the creeps and kept me turni ...more
Feb 10, 2008 Amy rated it really liked it
Shelves: litfantasy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 03, 2007 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bert Zee
Oct 18, 2016 Bert Zee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The final girl knows for hours, maybe days, that she is about to die. She feels death coming. She hears it. She sees it. Welcome to my nightmare"

It's been quite a while since I've read a horror novel, I've had Innocence on my stack for a few weeks and I decided if jump into it and give it a try, I'm so glad I did because it's a very mysterious and haunting novel that's very reminiscent of horror classics such as Rosemary's Baby and Suspiria. There's an overwhelming amount of dread built up in t
Mikella Etchegoyen
Nov 15, 2011 Mikella Etchegoyen rated it liked it
This was just a random book I found on a library shelf that looked like an interesting read about a teenager in a dark, gothic-esque coming of age in a new, unknown environment. It didn’t turn out to be anything like what I expected it to be. The book is full of beautiful, vivid and powerful imagery and metaphor. It has a constant, pulsing forward momentum that captivates the reader and pulls them through to the end. But with a book that begins with the narrator admitting that they are in essenc ...more
the gift
this is a much later addition: liked this much more than her other work, must confess in some ways writing over it for myself, reviewing a book not there perhaps, but a book i would write, though read a little irigaray and it makes sense, read a little deleuze and it seems an object case of how identity is comforting fiction over disparate senses, thoughts, feelings, so maybe read this again...

first review: like a very involving, very intense, very concise, very smart horror film. not much blood
Really, really different. The book is written in intense, broken snippets. Paragraphs may be only one sentence, quotation marks are not used, and although the book has just under 200 pages it has over 50 chapters.

The book is allegorical. The things the narrator, Beckett, sees and experiences are representative of how she feels about the changes going on in her life: her mother dies, she starts a new school, her dad meets and marries someone new, etc. We never really know if the events taking pl
Aug 11, 2009 Emily rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
Is there a possibility for negative stars? I got about halfway through this book, which isn't saying much because there is more blank space than written word in the hardcover edition. I did not like the style of writing and couldn't get used to it. For example, quotations were not used to let you know that someone was speaking, instead they were just mixed in with everything else. Plus I didn't like the main character. This read more like a B movie instead of a book.
Jun 27, 2016 Vani rated it it was ok
This book is pretty bad. It's basically a short story stretched out into novel length, with large print and big spacing. It reads like a pretentious high school student wrote it, trying to write literary horror or something.
Oct 06, 2011 Sara rated it really liked it
Strong narrator, poetically written, pretty short (only 3 and a half hours on audiobook). But I really have no idea what it is: negotiating the dangerous passage between girlhood and womanhood, certainly, but possibly also blood lust/rites.

Enter at your own risk.
Sep 14, 2007 Shannon rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of dark coming-of-age fiction
Shelves: fiction
This was a good find.
Jun 20, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: young women, fans of bildungsroman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kari Zamora
Sep 21, 2016 Kari Zamora rated it really liked it
This book kept me on the edge of my seat. Bravo Ms. Jane Mendelsohn you have written a book that I definitely did not want to put down. This book is completely something else altogether well done.
Oct 10, 2014 Circa rated it really liked it
So many of the reviews relate this book as a mixture of Catcher in the Rye, Heathers, or Rosemary's Baby, but the way this story is told is completely unique. Mendelsohn uses the unreliable narrator device to isolate and confuse the reader, which created a lot of creepy tension. The poetic style of the writing and the theme of coping with superficiality could be taken as allegorical, but even with that interpretation there are plot holes. However, the holes in the story and the lingering questio ...more
Lee Ann
Jul 26, 2011 Lee Ann rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that after you read it you think, hmm, did what I think happen HAPPEN or was it all in the heroine's head...or my head?! A little Turn of the Screw-ish in that sense, I suppose. We have a young girl who has just lost her mother to a car accident who is moved to a new school by her father. He's hoping that by moving them to the bright shiny city, he'll distract them both from their grief. But Beckett (is that NOT just the most faboo name!)can't fit in with all the Beaut ...more
Jun 03, 2013 JG rated it really liked it
A dark, morbid book that sucks you in and before you know it you find yourself in a world vivid with emotions. Out of instinct i picked this out in our mini-lib at school. I didn't plan on sticking to it but the first chapter enthralled me and I just got to finish it.

Jane had managed to spike my curiosity. This is a very Gothic read that are really not recommended for emo or easily depressed people. The writing is simple yet enchanting. I find myself struggling to understand what is going on on
May 01, 2013 Hannah rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen-reads
My aunt gave me this book. I read the cover flap and was like oh hey, seems like an awesome book. I WAS SO CONFUSED AT FIRST. No punctuation marks didn't really bother me, but it would have helped. It was written like a poem in a way. It starts out as a teen with problems and turns to tampon sucking vampires. Wth, I know, right?

I want more books!

In the beginning Beckett loses her mom and is living with her dad. Shes at school and meets the school nurse, Pamela, who met Becketts dad a
Aug 26, 2011 Jennifer rated it really liked it
I picked this up and finished in under 4hours. It is written in almost a lyrical prose and is a disturbing and haunting novel. It had a feel of The Turn of the Screw and a hint of Catcher in the Rye. The imagery in the writing was quite different from any other I had read lately and I found that the descriptions of skies and textures were right on when I closed my eyes and tried to imagine exactly what Mendelsohn was painting: examples would be nighttime images of water as liquid mercury, skies ...more
Katelyn Stine
Sep 09, 2014 Katelyn Stine rated it liked it

I honestly can't decide if I liked or disliked this book. It was just so weird. The book is full of beautiful, vivid and powerful imagery and metaphor. Jane Mendelsohn did a wonderful job with her dreamy, poetic style. Her plot, however, was extremely crazy. Possibly literally crazy, but who knows because you can't be sure what is reality and what is fantasy. I was thoroughly confused and concluded that Beckett had to be a schizophrenic early on in the book. By the time I got to the end I didn't
Feb 11, 2016 Brittany rated it it was ok
I watched the movie first because I saw it on Netflix ...I thought by reading the book I would understand things better... And to be honest I think I liked the movies better. I feel like I could follow the movie batter then I could follow this book. It was an alright book, but I don't really like how it was dialogued, this was confusing and I kept getting lost on who was speaking. I also feel like a lot things were repeated and that things should have been explained better. Parts of the book wer ...more
Oct 17, 2010 Judith rated it did not like it
Innocence by Jane Mendelsohn presents adolescent angst as a modern gothic fantasy. The real tragedy, we assume, of 14-year-old Beckett's life is her mother's death in a car accident. The girl's interior and exterior states become confused – in the new school, after the suicide of three girls in her class, relating to her father's new wife – and so does the reader. The book has power as an extended meditation on menarche and on coming of age as a struggle with reality, but it reads like a suspens ...more
Alyssa Marie
Sep 12, 2016 Alyssa Marie rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2015
This book is written very differently than anything I've ever read before - it was a very unique style. It follows the story of Beckett and you are drawn into her world in a poetic way. It wasn't exactly what I was expecting - there are a lot of things going on in this story that really threw me off. Even still, It was hard to put this book down because of the way it flowed. There were parts that surprised me and I am still not sure what I am feeling about a couple things in the plot But overall ...more
Apr 24, 2015 Tasha rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
This book gave me the creeps, and not in a 'I'm scared' sort of way, more like a 'Holy shit, this story is physically sickening' kind of way. It made me want to throw up. At the risk of spoilers, I can't tell you why, but the premise behind this story is incredibly distasteful. Do not waste your time with this awful, awful story. It's one of the worst things I have ever read.

*And now, they're even turning it into a movie. Gross!*
(From the notes I wrote in 2005.)
I bought this one a whim from the Bargain section for $3.99 less 30%. This is the kind of book I want to write. A dark and disturbing tone throughout, a poetic - yet monotone - narrative voice, and blurred edges with dreams. It's a coming of age fairytale in New York City. I didn't think I would like it, but it captivated me. I want to find her other book, I Was Amelia Earhart.
Mar 10, 2013 Shane rated it it was amazing
As a writer, this book has forever changed the way i look at my own work. the way Mendelsohn uses metaphors, descriptions of reality, character study, plot development and even her dialogue have reshaped the way i look at all types of media, from books, to movies, to music and art. My emotions towards this book are hard to put into words, but this dark hearted and genuinely bittersweet piece of work is what i recommend to any of those who want a read that allows no assumptions to be fulfilled an ...more
Jennifer Brinkle
Nov 30, 2015 Jennifer Brinkle rated it it was ok
Truth be told, I only picked up the book because I saw the movie and thought the book would hold the answers the script was lacking. As others have written, this book is an extremely fast read and is filled with beautiful imagery. Unfortunately, it is lacking any real substance. I suppose this is to be expected considering the fact that we, the readers, are told the narrator is untrustworthy. I will say, I liked the portrayal of the lamia in the movie rather than the menstrual blood feeding vamp ...more
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"Innocence" by Jane Mendelsohn being turned into a movie! 2 19 Feb 11, 2013 03:41PM  
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Jane Mendelsohn was born and raised in New York City. She is a graduate of Yale.

She is the author of three novels: the best-selling I Was Amelia Earhart, shortlisted for the Orange Prize, and Innocence, and American Music. Published to wide acclaim by Knopf in 2010, American Music is now out in paperback from Vintage.

More about Jane Mendelsohn...

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