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3.4  ·  Rating Details ·  237 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
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 spreads across the wall and illuminates Sophie, tied up in a chair facing him. She is frightened, fearful of what he might do next. But for now, it seems, all Matthew wants to do is talk. Talk about the events of nearly twenty years a ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Ballantine Books (first published 1994)
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Dec 04, 2013 Trishnyc rated it really liked it
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 liked it
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. :]
Jacqueline King
Dec 31, 2015 Jacqueline King rated it did not like it
Shelves: hate-hate-hate
This book barely made sense. There wasn't really a story line, 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 complete waste of money.
Nov 13, 2016 Nancy rated it it was amazing
Creepy and great.
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
Oct 22, 2007 Sylvia rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
May 05, 2010 Nikki rated it really liked it
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
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.
Nov 25, 2007 stephanie rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
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.
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).
Apr 23, 2012 Gina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
May 01, 2015 Sophie rated it really liked it
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.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
Sep 02, 2007 Krista the Krazy Kataloguer rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-ya
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.
Oct 15, 2007 Heather rated it liked it
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.
Mar 01, 2010 Brandy rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-fiction
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. :)
Jun 28, 2011 ma_nya_n rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Feb 21, 2015 Shelly rated it liked it
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.
Tamiya Bates
Jul 06, 2011 Tamiya Bates rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thiller
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.
Oct 20, 2010 Joanne rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult, 2010
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"!
May 07, 2010 Lyddie rated it it was ok
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.
Jun 04, 2014 Carrie rated it it was ok
DNF at pg 117. The premise of the story is intriguing but the writing is poorly executed and failed to draw me in.
Tiffany Kramer
May 26, 2016 Tiffany Kramer rated it it was ok
The story has some moments of great build up but little pay off and by the end I was left confused in regards to Sophie's motives.
Chelsee rated it really liked it
Sep 10, 2012
Juwena Yu
Juwena Yu rated it it was ok
Apr 30, 2014
Vrai rated it really liked it
Jun 09, 2011
Rachel rated it it was amazing
Jan 02, 2015
Laura rated it it was ok
Sep 14, 2013
V rated it really liked it
Oct 20, 2008
Squirrel rated it it was ok
Dec 16, 2014
Connie rated it really liked it
Dec 30, 2016
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