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The Turning

2.61  ·  Rating details ·  947 ratings  ·  226 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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Average rating 2.61  · 
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 ·  947 ratings  ·  226 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
Paige  Bookdragon

Kinda feels like a washed out horror story. I expected something sinister and scary from a Francine Prose book but this one disappoints me. Some things weren't explained properly and there are some loopholes in the story. The MC took a massive change of character which really confuses the fuck out me because in the previous chapter, he was okay, the next he was transformed into a dick.

After reading a book, I'm not sure if this is a ghost story or a "hallucination" thingy book.

Nov 11, 2012 rated it it was ok
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 teenager - 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, "Sophi ...more
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
*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
Melissa Chung
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
About a month ago Kayla from BookandLala did a video of the lowest rated books on her shelves and whether Goodreads rating would also be her rating or would she give it a higher rating. I decided to try that myself. When I first purchased this book, I didn't bother checking out the Goodreads rating, so when I looked it up and found it it was 2.62 I was super surprised. I have to say though the majority wins. I found this book to be a 2 it was.... well I'll get into that.

The Turning is about a bo
Sue Moro
Apr 28, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Nov 22, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 22, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
May 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
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
Oct 16, 2012 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.
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was ok
Meh. Okay.
There's not much more I need to say beyond that. As far as ghost stories go, it was lackluster.
Felicia Allen
Aug 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book was just okay for me. I think I would have liked it better if it wasn't done through letters. This is one where it needed to be written the traditional way.
Dana Wallace - Not Enough Books, Not Enough Time

I’m a little miffed at this book. I was so excited because the cover is gorgeous and the story sounded super creepy, perfect for this time of year. Well, yes, the writing was exceptional and the plot was engaging all up until the very end. It was almost like the writer was invested and then got bored and quit! I just felt the ending was a throw away and was very disappointed. I gave this 2.5 stars because of the build up and writing style but
Sep 01, 2013 rated it liked it
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
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
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
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ya, horror
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.
Jul 19, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Beth Hodge
May 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
I enjoyed this book. I'm not a critical reader, I just enjoy the story. I love stories told through letters, but it wasn't very believable that that much detail and dialogue would be written in a letter. That being said, this was a fun story! It had a cop-out, cliffhanger ending, so it wasn't a satisfying ending, but would be great as the first book in a series.
Jul 27, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
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.
Jan 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great book. I never would have thought of this idea. The book makes me shiver its so creepy in a good way!!!
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.
Mandi Collins
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio
Very good audiobook! I was a bit surprised to see it classified as YA, it did not have a YA feel to it. I highly recommended for anyone who enjoy books that give you a creepy feeling.
Oct 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
Find my review at my new blog! : ...more
Courtney Maenner
Maybe this is just what I needed right now, but I liked this book a little more than I thought I would - especially after reading a few reviews about it. I agree with a few of the reviews I read that the way this way written doesn't make sense. A high school student writing letters to their dad and girlfriend explaining events happening on a remote island where no technology is allowed in today's society didn't really work for this story line for several different reasons.

First, this kid s
Apr 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
The story starts us off with the main character named Jack who has been hired for the summer on a private island as a full time babysitter for two children whose parents are deceased. The island has no internet or phone service which means the only way of communication off the island is letters that we see Jack constantly send out through the story. As soon as Jack arrives he meets Linda who is an older woman and has been left to keep watch over the children after their parents death. Jack notic ...more
May 04, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: not-for-me
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Epic Reads Book Club: October Book Club: THE TURNING! 6 40 Oct 20, 2013 02:28PM  
Epic Reads Book Club: Do you believe the narrator? 2 25 Oct 20, 2013 01:42PM  

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Francine Prose is the author of twenty works of fiction. Her novel A Changed Man won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and Blue Angel was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her most recent works of nonfiction include the highly acclaimed Anne Frank: The Book, The Life, The Afterlife, and the New York Times bestseller Reading Like a Writer. The recipient of numerous grants and honors, including ...more

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