Anna is everything her identical twin is not. Outgoing and athletic, she is the opposite of quiet introvert Jess. The same on the outside, yet so completely different inside--it's hard to believe the girls are sisters, let alone twins. But they are. And they tell each other everything.
Or so Jess thought.
After Anna falls to her death while sneaking out her bedroom window, Jess's life begins to unravel. Everyone says it was an accident, but to Jess, that doesn't add up. Where was Anna going? Who was she meeting? And how long had Anna been lying to her?
Jess is compelled to learn everything she can about the sister she thought she knew. At first it's a way to stay busy and find closure . . . but Jess soon discovers that her twin kept a lot of secrets. And as she digs deeper, she learns that the answers she's looking for may be truths that no one wants her to uncover.
Amelia Brunskill grew up mostly in Washington state where she picked a lot of blackberries, read a lot of books, and failed to properly appreciate the epic beauty of the mountains and the Pacific ocean.
She now lives in the Midwest where she eats as much Thai food as possible and hangs out with her dog.
I’m always interested in books about twins (since I’m one myself) and this book certainly didn’t disappoint. A YA mystery -The Window centers around twins Jess and Anna and Anna’s untimely death resulting from a fall outside her bedroom window. Jess makes it her mission to find out about her twin’s secret life and the mystery surrounding her death. The entire book begs the question-how well can you know a person, even your own twin? I’d recommend The Window to readers that like YA/mystery books.
With smart, sharp prose and a dark but relatable undercurrent, this book pulls you through the labyrinth-like mystery of a teen girl's life and her tragic end. Yet it's also a poignant story of sisterhood (twinhood, specifically), young romance, and grief, and employs some drop-dead gorgeous imagery (a girl flying through the air before crashing to the ground; the slick walls of a deep, dark well). I particularly enjoyed the little interstitial chapters written from the perspective of Anna, which are interspersed throughout Jess's narrative. Jess herself and her very realistic stages of grief are depicted with heartbreaking detail. Here are a few of my favorite snippets:
I curled up on top of her quilt, my thoughts snaking around in my mind. I tried to straighten them, separate them into orderly piles, but they kept wrapping around each other, slithering out of my grasp.
Occasionally, I'd see it coming. The grief. Not the constant version, which always hummed in the background, like white noise, but the gut-pummeling, breath-stealing kind.
"It doesn't feel like falling," I said slowly. "What does it feel like?" I watched Nick slow down to a jog as the basketball coach began to usher everyone off the track. "It feels more like I'm starting to wake up."
Highly recommended for fans of dark YA that doesn't shy away from the often disturbing ways in which people (including teens) succeed in hurting each other, and the surprising ways in which they show how much they care.
This is the first time I read and finished twin sister story.
It is really fast-paced and intriting plot. I really liked the build-up until the final reveal.
So, Anna is found dead one morning and everyone believes she fell down to her death by accident from her bedroom window, in middle of night. Everyone believes except her twin Jess. Once, Anna had told me how she imagined she'd get ready for a date. "I'd want to wear a dress," she'd said, her voice dreamy. "A pretty one. And perfume. I'd want to smell like lavender."
Jess started digging and found disturbing evidence one after another. She realised that not other people are lying to her but found that her own twin sister lied and had secrets from her. While former doesn't bother Jess much, the later shakes her to her core.
I think the ending seems a bit rushed and completely unexpected - well so unexpected it seems unlikely... All I knew for certain was that there should've been a different ending to that night. And now I knew how it actually should've gone.
This was amazing 3 star from me but the poem at the end was so beautiful, a whole star for that one. Cheers!
Twins & mysteries will get me every time!! I had so many theories while reading this book (which is always a good sign for a mystery), and I just had to keep reading to see if any of them were right. The only thing I wanted more from were the characters-- I wished they felt just a little more alive. It's not the most thrilling YA mystery I've read, but it made up for it with a surprising amount of heart. Jess was a pretty clinical, matter-of-fact girl, but in the end, she got me choked up with feelings.
This excellent story begins with Jess, thinking in gym class, that she is doomed to be out of fashion for her whole life and eager to tell her twin Anna about her realization. Only the counselor comes to the door, her parents are in the main office, and her sister Anna has been found dead lying on the ground below her bedroom window.
The rest of the story follows Jess as she tries to find out what happened to her sister and what she didn't know about the person she thought she knew best of anyone in the world. Jess is quiet - probably somewhere on the Autism Spectrum - and knows that now she will have to pay attention to things that never caught her attention before if she wants to find out about her sister.
Her investigation leads her to making a friend, almost having a boyfriend, and joining the track team and finding out that she is actually pretty good at running. It also leads her to uncovering secrets in her sister's life and other secrets about people too as she pays attention to the other kids in her class who were Anna's friends.
This was excellently written. It gradually unfolded events as Jess makes discoveries and comes to realizations. Jess's world expands as she gains a better understanding about her sister. Between chapters are a few short paragraphs from Anna's point of view that sound like poetry or excerpts from a diary although no diary was found in her effects. They let us see what Anna was going through in the days before her death.
I highly recommend this engaging story. Jess is a wonderful character.
Introverted Jess can’t believe her more outgoing twin Anna died from a fall from her window. Soon Jess realizes and may not know her sister as well as she thought. Anna had secrets. Big ones. Secrets Jess is determined to uncover, though the more she discovers, the more she realizes she may not have known Anna at all.
Sometimes reading a very special book fills me with such happiness, my eyes overflow with tears of enjoyment. #TheWindow provided such a pleasurable experience. Debut writer Amelia Brunskill created the perfect story for me to devour—a compelling narrator, intriguing mystery, interesting supporting cast and great pay off. Brunskill’s electric writing made me want to close off the world and keep reading, but I knew if I did, the book would be over and I’d miss Jess. Brunskill kept a steady, tension-filled pace that never let up. Jess’s narration dripped hurt and grief.
Jess had so many layers steeped in pain and love. So closed to others, she shut out many trying to help her. She judgment about whom to trust needed serious refinement. At times I wondered the reliability of her narration. Was there more beneath the surface?
I hope THE WINDOW gets the attention it deserves from reviewers and booksellers. I know I’ll preorder Brunskill’s next book.
I'm not sure what to think anymore right now. Not sure how to write this review in a coherent way. Upon finishing The Window, my mind is all over the place. My thoughts scrambled. And while I do have some things that irked me about this book, I still enjoyed it quite a bit. Honestly, more than I thought I would before picking it up. And I'm not sure where to go from here.
The Window tells the story of Jess Cutter, who just lost her twin sister Anna after she tragically fell climbing out of her window. At least that's what everyone believes happened. Jess is sure there is more to it. Because it doesn't make sense. So she starts looking for clues. Because she needs to know what happened. And the deeper she digs, the more secrets come up. Truths no one wants her to uncover.
I was immediately pulled into this book by the writing. It's very compelling and I was invested in the mystery right away. I wanted to know what happened just as much as Jess did. And while I did have suspicions throughout the story, in the end the truth did come as a surprise to me. I liked the twists and turns of this story and how well the author captured the atmosphere of a small town where everyone has secrets. I also really enjoyed the snippets of Anna's POV - which were no more than brief thoughts, like diary entries - that were weaved throughout Jess' narrative. They added a lot to the mystery and overall vibe of the story. I also really liked the growing friendship between Jess and two other girls and how her world kind of opened up more when she starts paying attention.
However, I do have to admit that around the halfway point, things dragged a little. But they sped up pretty quickly after that with a lot happening leading up to the climax. I also suspected that Jess might be lowkey on the autism spectrum. BUT this was never addressed in the book itself, which is a shame and a missed opportunity. Could be that I read into things wrong and that it's not like that at all. But the way her character is written made it feel a bit obvious to me.
The Window was a wild ride full of twists and turns and I'm glad I read it. It's a solid mystery and I'd definitely recommend giving this one a shot if you like small town murder mysteries and twin stories.
this book was sad. not the tearjerking kind of sad, but more like "okay the book's over and now ive got a numb feeling". i honestly don't even know what to say about this book, except that i would recommend it if you aren't exactly looking for a happy read.
Holy crap this was sooo freaking good! One of those books where sleep and eating become a nuisance rather than something you need to survive. Where "one more chapter" turns into 5 or 6 more chapters. It's a beautifully woven story and I look forward to seeing more from this author.
4.5 'got me so hooked right from the start' stars!
For a debut novel, this book was pretty intense and thought-provoking. It totally got me right where it wanted me to be in the end, close to indignation that the people responsible got away with it at first, and solace that everything turned out to be fair and just towards the end.
Brunskill weaved a story that is equal parts terrifying and hopeful, bringing light to where darkness once fell upon. The prose and the way it was written, with succinct depictions of events and thoughts, definitely took a larger part to make the story more interesting and well-developed. It brought with it a fast-paced YA mystery that held such a huge promise to readers as well as fans of the genre.
This book is surely not a light read that has more to do with the psychological conditions of the characters but rather a slight intake as to what extent one is willing to go through just to procure such leverage and use it to manipulate and control someone into doing whatever they desire just because that someone is trying to let go and get away from their grasp, to which they feel their ego being crushed, pride stomped on, and deeply undermined by the second party.
I admire the tenacity and resoluteness of the decisions made by the protagonist, Jess. Her unwavering proclivity to meet closure by finding out what really happened to her twin sister, Anna, surrounding her death even when almost everyone seemed uncalled for in treating her as if she might break at one point or another or even when she hit a dead end at some point in her personal investigation. The poem at the end just had me crying ugly. Is it even possible to feel desolate and relieved at the same time? Because if it is, then I was on that exact phase the moment I flipped the last page of this book over. The events in the book made me ponder heavily on subject matters dealt with by the characters.
All in all, stories like this tend to hit me hard in the gut and this book is absolutely no exception. This will not be the last time I read Brunskill's piece. There would be more surprises for me in the future for sure, courtesy of Ms. Amelia Brunskill herself.
I loved this book, so there is no reason for me not to recommend this one to you all. I read and reveled in this lovely debut, so I could not see why you should deny yourselves this favor. I started on this one without expecting anything whatsoever and in turn I found it very much to my liking, so why don't you?
The Window by Amelia Brunskill was a good mystery book. It did what all great mysteries do; it makes the reader question and theorize what is happening/going to happen. The book follows Jess who is grieving the loss of her twin Anna after she fell to her death trying to sneak out at night. Jess struggles to believe Anna actually died from sneaking out because this meant Anna kept secrets from her. Jess was under the assumption that they were best friends and as twins they told each other everything. Throughout the book we see Jess struggle with coping and trying to be okay again. Unfortunately, she will never be able to move on until she finds out what truly happened to her twin. So she makes the decision to find answers on her own since no one is willing to help her. I thought this book was fantastic. It had a great mystery that like I said will keep you guessing and keep you reading to find out what really happened. I loved the main character Jess. I loved how strong she managed to stay and I loved her determination. No matter how judged she got she still stuck to her gut feeling and did what she wanted to do. This book did have a couple slow points but since I loved the main character so much those slow areas didn't bother me. I still enjoyed being inside Jess's head and being a part of her thinking process. I enjoyed the writing style because it had a nice flow and was easy to follow. I liked that the author included thoughts from Anna because it was nice to see her view of certain things and how her actions affected the story as a whole. Overall, this was a fast read so if you're looking for a quick mystery this book is for you.
Well now, this was a pleasant surprise! I don't think I've read too many YA mystery novels, or if I have I don't quite remember them, so this was a nice place to settle in. My first thought is that Amelia Brunskill has quite a talent for pacing, which I'll expand on in a bit. The Window drew me in, and I ran through it so quickly that it actually surprised me. I love effortless reads, and this book definitely fits that bill.
Jess and Anna. Anna and Jess. The twin angle was a beautiful addition to this story, because of the even sharper contrast between their two personalities. The same on the outside, but so very different in all other aspects. I loved how Brunskill slowly unveiled Anna's thoughts and feelings, as Jess slowly dove further and further into her sister's life. I think it's such a truth that we never really know someone, even an identical sibling, as much as we think we did. For Jess, Anna's life is this enigma. It takes her death to change to that at all.
I usually hesitate to the use the phrase "compulsively readable", because it's one of those phrases that's tossed casually around the book world and shows up endlessly on covers. However, I can honestly say that this phrase applies to this book. Reading The Window is effortless. Maybe not content wise, since Jess' hurt is palpable and tough to read at times. Plot wise though, this book pulls you along in its wake. I found myself having to forcefully put this book down at bedtime, because I just kept wanting to know what would happen next. Brunskill has this beautiful slow burn going through this story. It gives you just enough to tempt you to the next chapter, and then does it all over again. I didn't mind one bit.
My only complaint, and the reason I gave this book 4 stars rather than 5, is the fact that it felt a bit anti-climactic to me. Now, again, I'm used to reading this genre in the more adult section of things. So I had to step back and remind myself that this book is written for a younger set of readers, and features a much younger protagonist. I had to point out to myself that many of the scenarios in other books I've read wouldn't play out in the life of a high school student. So, just take this as my personal preference more than anything. I enjoyed this book immensely. I powered through it like a madwoman. It just didn't hit that unforgettable mark that I look for in a 5 star book, and that's totally okay.
After the death of her twin sister Anna, Jess vows to figure out what happened. The premises had my attention regarding the mystery, but the plot was very slow. Jess was hard to connect with. She made assumptions on a single piece of evidence and stuck with that story, blaming the beloved English teacher and cross-country/track coach for seducing her twin. She joins track and frequently stalks this teacher, trying to see if he will slip up and do something implementing that will connect him to Anna. And that was about it.
She spent so much time focused on the teacher that she skimmed over other clues that were flashing right in front of her. Despite being dense, she made rash decisions that left her parents, teachers, and friend concerned about her (which was normal to a degree since she was coping with her twin’s sudden death).
The story was slow; nothing really happened until the reveal at the end which I predicted at the beginning. This was nicely written, but there are ways to revamp it to make it more interesting and suspenseful, especially since I had been looking forward to reading this one.
I received an ARC of The Window through NetGalley.
I read an ARC of this book and absolutely loved it. From the first page, I was drawn into this story and had a very hard time putting it down. The narrator, Jess, is investigating the death of her twin, which she refuses to believe is as simply explained as everyone else seems to. Jess is such a complex and beautifully drawn character, as is the sister she lost. Jess makes a series of startling decisions, but the author has written her so well that every move she makes, you stay with her and hope it works. The prose itself is simple and beautiful. The pace is swift, with short chapters and a slowly building momentum that has you suddenly wondering when it got so late. And the end, like all the best books, is a little heartbreaking, if for no other reason than because it's over. I strongly, strongly recommend this book for fans of YA mystery, suspense, friendship, sisters, unique protagonists, and romance.
I really liked this story. When Jess is called out of class to be told her twin sister was found dead outside their house. Jess decides to find out the truth of what happened to Anna and as she searches she finds out Anna was living a secret life while everyone was asleep. Anna was trying to find out who she was without her twin Jess, she didn't want them to be in the same class she wanted her own space and that would lead her into all kinds of trouble. Jess will do some crazy things to get to the bottom of what happened and she will tell her parents some things as to what Anna was doing and she will keep something to herself. At the same time we see Jess changing from a shy reserved girl to a girl with friends and a willingness to be a part of something. They may be identical but they were chalk and cheese.
The cover is what originally earned The Window a place on my TBR pile. Now that I've read the book, I have two things to say. First, the cover is spot on. It perfectly captures the atmosphere of the story - eerie, dark, and attention-grabing. Second and best of all, The Window posses a lot more than just a stunning cover.
When The Window begins Anna is already dead and Jess is reeling from the loss. Jess can't believe, won't believe, that it was just a simple accident. She knows there must be more to the story, that there must be a better explanation of what went on that night; however, no one wants to listen to her theories. They just want to move on with their own lives and not dwell in the past, but Jess refuses to give up.
Jess is an interesting main character. I can't say she's the most likable or personable one ever, but there was something so compelling about her, something that made me want to know more about her. She's serious as well as detail and fact orientated. She has an incredibly blunt way of talking, one that sometimes hurts her more than helps her. At the end of the day, however, I give Jess major props. Not only does she know who she is but she also knows what she wants and she won't let anyone stand in her way. She's incredibly unapologetic, and I greatly admired that about her.
Over the course of the book, Jess's relationship with Anna is uprooted. Suddenly, there's secrets coming out of the woodwork, secrets that make Jess question everything she thought she knew, and worst of all, Anna isn't there to clear everything up.
I found the bond between the two sisters to be the best part of the book. Amelia did a wonderful job of building it up, and even though Anna was already gone by the time the story began, I still felt that I truly got to know her through Jess's eyes as well as the small snippets included from Anna's POV.
What I liked the most about the dynamic here, however, was seeing how the girls begin living without the other one. For Anna, it began before she died. She had a secret life, as Jess learns, and that life had many highs and lows to it. The worst low of all, though, was feeling the bond with her sister begin to fade. For Jess, she's always been defined by her relationship with Anna. She's always been the darkness to Anna's light, the seriousness to Anna's happy-go-lucky. More importantly, Anna was always her link to the world, the person who would remind her to interact with her parents, etc. After Anna's death, Jess doesn't know how to be Anna-less. It's the little things that get her the most...Not having Anna as a buffer, not having someone to eat lunch with, etc. It broke my heart. Over the course of the story, Jess begins to live a little more each day. She starts putting herself out there, joining in on track, making new friends, and I loved seeing this transformation occur. It was sad yet hopeful and stunning.
The mystery in The Window isn't the most twisty. It didn't keep me on the edge-of-my-seat, dying to know what would happen next. At the same time, though, I can't say I was bored. Instead, I found other parts of the story to be more captivating.
At first I found the writing slightly hard to get into. It was very cut-and-dry; however, the more I got to know Jess, the more appreciation I had for it. The narrative truly reflected Jess's personality, it was as serious and blunt as she was, and overtime it allowed me to get an even better feel for her character.
Overall, The Window is a slow-burn, compelling debut. It won't be for everyone, especially those who like their action non-stop, but for those who love character development, The Window is the perfect choice.
*ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
I am not going to lie, whilst I had this on my TBR, it wasn't high on my radar. I haven't really seen a lot of people talking about it - so I picked this up for my kindle on a bit of a whim because of the mood I was in. I am so glad I did because this book was just amazing in SO MANY different ways, and I feel that a lot more people should be reading it already!
I think my favourite aspect of this book was the way in which it was written. Interspersed between each of Jess' chapters was a couple of lines from Anna, slowly telling the story. With the clues that Jess was trying to figure out, and the snippets of Anna's story in between, the author managed to create a mystery that really had me guessing right up until the very end. I was constantly changing my theories and I love the way that this book twisted and turned and kept me on my toes. As soon as I had thought I had something figured out, something happened and everything was put back on its head. Fragments of what happened to Anna, and the clues that she left behind were constantly being questioned by Jess, and it left the reader wondering if Jess was reading too much into things, or if something really did happen to Anna... and it also put a lot of focus on the grieving process and what was happening to Jess throughout psychologically.
Grief plays a HUGE part in this book - especially the grieving process. I loved the way in which the author featured various different grieving processes and represented the idea that everyone grieves differently and that there is no wrong way to grieve. Whether it is trying to find closure, accepting what has happened and moving on or even trying to find a second chance amongst everything that happened, everyone in this book processed things differently and it added an extra element to the story itself. Having said that, the author also managed to weave in the idea of whether grief can be taken too far and just how low we can sink when we are grieving.
I also liked the fact that the author didn't just represent grief through the loss of a friend/daughter/sibling through death. The author used various plot points to highlight different forms of grief and loss - loss of innocence, self worth, love and relationships and childhood. Everyone was facing different issues and processing it in different ways and showing different forms of grief, even within their everyday lives.
The author also wove in different societal issues that we face today and showed how one can affect another and how that in turn can affect something else. It was written in such a way that focused on teens trying to find themselves and navigate the world around them and the way in which it can sometimes go completely wrong - Alcoholism, the date rape drug, death, corruption, pedophilia, blackmail, sexual assault. Brunskill tied everything together and this book contributed, I think, in a huge way to the discussion of various issues and I really think that, young people especially, should be reading this book.
I also loved the way that this book focused on good things in amongst the bad. The sibling bond that Jess and Anna had was beautiful. Being twins, they had a different kind of special bond, that often left people feeling a little left out, but it was a bond that stuck right up until the very end, and even after Anna's death. They were loyal to each other, as many siblings are (myself and my brother included) and I loved the fact that it showed that, even though you might not always get along with your siblings or see eye to eye with them, they'll always be there for you in the end.
The ending was extremely bittersweet. I don't want to give too much away, but the development and the changes that Jess went through throughout the book, and the point that she had gotten to by the end was both heart warming and heart breaking. I was left ugly sobbing in the corner - that's all I'm saying.
All in all, I loved this book. It was poignant and heart breaking, but also bittersweet right up until the end. It focused on so many different issues and wove them all together pretty seamlessly. I gave this book 5/5 stars
I found The Window hard to put down. Anyone who has ever felt the connection between sisters will love this book! With powerful imagery and realistically flawed characters, the story weaves Jess's point of view with moments of Anna's. It's tragic and beautiful and dark.
*Utterly absorbing read; following Jess as she tries to unearth the mystery surrounding her twin sister Anna’s death is both captivating and moving. My full review is posted for my ‘The Window’ BLOG TOUR post here: http://kamoorephoto.booklikes.com
Well, this was a solid mediocre start to the reading year. Then again, I kind of expected it to be.
In The Window we follow Jess, a 15yo girl who's twin sister has - supposedly - fallen to her death while trying to sneak out of her window. However, Jess can't make sense of the event, and tries to piece together what else could've happened to her sister.
This was a pretty standard YA mystery, in the sense that it relied heavily on misunderstandings and heavy hinting to move the plot along. Some of the conclusions drawn in this were completely nonsensical, however, and almost read like the author forgot how much information her protagonist had at certain times.
Jess herself reads like she might be on the autism spectrum, but it isn't explicitly stated. Instead, she's described by others in terms such as stand-offish, creepy, and intense, and on top of that a wide arrange of adults seemed to be worried about her even before she loses her sister. None of this is ever directly addressed, and reads like it's solely there as a reason to keep Jess isolated and ignorant to the simplest of conclusions.
In the end, I was left with a mystery I correctly solved around the 30% mark, and some bits and pieces here and there that I could appreciate - the side character Sarah being one of them. Nothing made me actively dislike this book, but all-in-all it didn't wow me in any way.
Although this book targets mainly at YA, I love this book. It is honest, it is mature, not the kind of high school dramas as I feared. This book is about a girl, Jess, deal with the death of her twin sister, Anna - partly because she loves her sister, and party there is something suspicious about her death.
As we follow through Jess's perspective, we know how much she love her sister. It is a bit cliche to say that, but you have to read in order to get that intense feeling. The author did a very good job to intertwine the grief that Jess had to cope with and the little bits of clues left for her to uncover. Anna is an unknown variable, and I barely know her, but Jess helps us reconstruct the human image of her, both her personality and her inner world.
Although inside, Jess is chaotic. Her world turns upside down because of her sister's death, but she really repressed her grief and channeled it into something more active, a bit more aggressive: finding the truth about her sister's death. In truth, there is certainly something suspicious. In the end, she pieces all the clues she got, and she identified the person who was responsible.
Besides about dealing with grief, this book also covers a very sensitive topic: how girls are humilated and manipulated at school by boys for purely enjoyment. Girls, women, are still victimized everyday. It is touchy, but it should be mentioned more often.
"I don't want to believe, I thought. But I do want to know."
This fast paced YA mystery is dark and compelling. Brunskill captured my attention almost immediately then continued to draw me in further. As I am with a good mystery I was chasing down rabbit holes and loose ends in my mind trying to anticipate all the twists. There were a few I got but plenty I didn't.
"Occasionally, I'd see it coming. The grief. Not the constant version, which always hummed in the background, like white noise, but the gut-pummeling, breath-stealing kind. Sometimes I could see it rolling in toward me, growing larger, feeding on itself, like a wave hurtling toward the shore. Once the grief was on the horizon, all I could do was wait for the worst of it to pass, wondering all the while if maybe this time it would pull me under long enough that I wouldn't surface."
This YA deals with some tough topics/themes immensely well. There is death, drugging, sexual assault, violence, grief, and more. The language isn't always sophisticated but the thought and care into the themes and overall arc really impressed me. When I reached just over halfway I was so hooked with this that I had to stay up to see how it ended. I'd happily recommend this one to others.
I really enjoyed the premise of this novel but felt that the author took too long on certain elements of it that didn't really pan out. As a result, the end of the novel felt extremely rushed and I don't really feel like much was resolved. If you want a quick mystery this is one such book.