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3.4 of 5 stars 3.40  ·  rating details  ·  201 ratings  ·  26 reviews
“[Sophie] combines the creepy narrative power of a young William Golding with the disturbingly accurate memory of what it is like to be a child. . . . So good that one can only wonder what [Burt] will do next.”
—The Times (London)

In a dark room of a dilapidated house, as a storm rages outside, Matthew lights a candle and places it in the center of the floor. Its light sprea
Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Ballantine Books (first published 1994)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 371)
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Siblings Mattie and Sophie Howard have an unusual upbringing characterized by too much free time on their hands and absentee parents. Though their mother is in residence, she may as well not be because she barely acknowledges them and for most the story remains an unhappy and mildly sinister presence. Their father, supposedly traveling the world for work, visits sporadically but never for extended periods.

At the start of the book, Mattie is confronting Sophie on issues he feels were hidden from
Oct 01, 2007 Allyson rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: teens
well It was very confusing at first and kind of confusing as well, but after re-reading the ending, i finally got it. Im still a little curiousabout a few things, but for the most part i understood it. It was a really good book that keeps you wondering what will happen next. and it ties the present in with the past all at once. :]
Read as part of my What's In A Name reading challenge.

A quick, gripping read. I like the way Burt foreshadows events throughout the story, building a sense of tension and dread throughout. I like the way he creates strong child characters who balance knowledge and innocence to a scary degree.

My concern comes with the rather limited range of his stories. I've read 'The Dandelion Clock' which was very similar to this novel (children roaming free through nature, loss of innocence with growing exper
What just happened!?

I enjoyed the writing style a lot, but I'm gonna have to go back and reread some pages because I feel like I may have missed something. I'm still trying to figure out Sophie and Mattie.
I have NO idea what just happened....! It's brilliantly written, but I feel more than a little lost trying to puzzle it all out. There is NO way I can use this for class since I can't really articulate what happened.
I love it! It has a surprising ending. The story goes back and forth from present to past. At the beginning, I was confused, but when I get the plot, I enjoy it very much.

A thriller novel, indeed. About a man, Mattie, who wants to learn about his past. His sister, Sophie, seems to know everything, but yet she hides her knowledge so as people wouldn't know she's so smart and think her as a weird girl. But when she's with Mattie, she becomes more herself.

But why? Why did she has to hide it so hard
I read this book in one day and really liked it! Albeit, I'm wondering what this says about me. It was a very fast read (obviously), and quite the page turner. I always enjoy books that navigate fluidly between the past and the present to tell a linear story. This one was a tad awkward and confusing at times, but instead of finding this irritating, I thought it worked as a plot device. The ending was very...whoa. It was messed up to say the least, but if you have a bit of a dark side (when it co ...more
huh. creepy as all get out, with a very intricate plot. so intricate, i don't think i got the ending. at all. if anyone would like to explain it to me, i think i'd appreciate it, because right now i'm just kind of like . . . uhhhh. i mean, i think i know sophie's secrets. i just don't think i know mattie's.

but very intriguing. it wasn't a fun read, but it was hard to put down. have a feeling i'll be thinking about it for a long time to come.
Jason Sta. Maria
My friend offered me to borrow this book. I was just curious because he told me that (for him) this was the worst book ever because of the weird ending! So I read it, the story was all about childhood obsessiveness. Sophie was a very brilliant girl and Mattie became psychotic when he grew up. The story was just fine but the ending was really weird and there are lots of different conclusions that came into my mind after finishing it.
Sophie! Not as brilliant as Burt's first novel, but still pretty great. In this fast read, you are trapped in the dark with a kid-napped woman as the man before her recounts tales of their childhood together. What happened to the preternaturally intelligent Sophie all those years ago, to bring her to this place today? Guy Burt, I love you. Please write more.
Jacqueline King
This book barely made sense. There wasn't really a storyline, it was more like a random account of a couple of years of life for two neglected children. I struggled through this book, wanting so bad for something interesting to happen but nothing did. The ending was equally frustrating as nothing was answered. Overall, this book was a waste of money.
Very good - creepy and confusing! Either it's impossible to understand what really happened because Matthew's so unreliable, or (more likely) I'm just not able to figure it all out (most notably who actually instigated the whole Old Grady thing, and how Sophie convinced their mother to do what she did at the end).
I can't decide how much I liked or dislike this book. I left the book completely confused on what really happened at the end, and I was even confused as to why it all happened. Getting to the end was pretty easy, but the last forty pages or so threw me and I just don't know now. :)
This was pretty good. The author does a good job of shifting between the present confrontation between Matthew and Sophie, and memories of their childhood. There are parts of the story that could have been explained better (or at all), but overall it's a good creepy read.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This novel left you guessing as to what really happened. I'd love to use this in a book discussion and see what other people think. The other book I read by this author, The Hole, has a similarly ambiguous ending.
I loved his first novel The Hole but this one was unbelievably confusing. I kept expecting some kind of revelation to present itself but it was not forthcoming.

Very disappointing.
I just didn't get it - I compulsively read this book to get to the end so I could "get it". So I gave it to a friend to read and maybe with her help I can "get it"!
Tamiya Shane
at first this book seemed very boring. but as u get into it i thought it got really good. listening to the childhood story of these two children was very cool.
DNF at pg 117. The premise of the story is intriguing but the writing is poorly executed and failed to draw me in.
This is a book that I think I will like more once I talk to someone about what the heck happened!
i'm really confused by the ending... i think i will have to reread it to fully understand it...
Very good and intriguing... The end left me somewhat confused and i have many questions!
Shelby Hamden
Crazy but awesome end! Great, but admittedly hard to follow plot. Totally twisted.
Tim Armstrong
Not predicable at all. Loved all of it. Would Recommend
Kirsty (overflowing library)
didn't finish - couldn;t get into it
Jenna marked it as to-read
Oct 04, 2015
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