Julie's Reviews > Tighter

Tighter by Adele Griffin
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's review
Feb 21, 2012

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bookshelves: horror, ghosts

Seventeen-year-old Jaime goes to the queer yet scenic island of Little Bly as an au pair for the summer. At first it seems like the perfect summer job; she lives in a mansion, and her charge, Isa, is the most adorable little girl. However, things seem to go downhill from there for Jaime. First, she starts seeing the ghosts of her dead uncles again; then, she finds out that she looks uncannily like Isa’s dead au pair. What started out as the ideal summer job for Jaime turned out to be her worst nightmare.

I found the beginning of this book dull and pretty overdone. A teenage girl with a traumatic past looking for a good time and then finding out something shocking about her self. Yeah, I’ve only read that plot-line about a thousand times. Plus, I just felt like everything in her book fell a little bit flat. Jaime’s romance wasn’t the kind that made your heart flutter; her fear was kind of wooden, and the characters were quirky, but they came off as weird and bipolar. I don’t know if the author wrote it that way on purpose since for the majority of the novel the narrator was on drugs, or if it was lack of development in her novel, but either way, the novel could have had so much more potential. Because everything else in the novel was so flat, the twist that she added to the end (which in my opinion was the best part) wasn’t as surprising and effective as it could have been.

As I continued reading, however, I found that it was really quite a unique and refreshing read. It supposedly follows the plot of Henry James’s The Turn of the Screw until the second half of the novel where Griffin adds her own twist. I guess I might have enjoyed the beginning of Tighter more if I had read Henry James’s book. Regardless, I really liked Griffin’s creativity, and it definitely takes a lot of confidence to write a book like this. I’d recommend it if you typically like horror or if you have read The Turn of the Screw, but if you’re looking for a summer read, keep searching.

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