A Haunting Tale
Tighter by Adele Griffin is loosely inspired by Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw. Trying to recover from a breakup and hooked on prescription drugs, seventeen year old Jamie is hoping for an escape from her troubles when she accepts a summer job on the island of Little Bly. The job is as an au pair for a wealthy man’s eleven year old daughter, Isa. She just wants a nice relaxing summer, but once on the island, Jamie learns of the deaths of the previous babysitter, Jessie and her boyfriend Peter. Not only were the deaths horrific and mysterious, but Jamie resembles Jessie! Soon she starts seeing the ghosts of Jessie and Peter. Jamie becomes obsessed with their mysterious and untimely deaths. Tighter retains the ambiguity present in Turn of the Screw; because of her addiction to prescription drugs, Jamie is never sure what's real and what's imagined. Jamie may be an unreliable narrator and somewhat annoying at times, but her voice is strong, rich and convincing. The other characters are very well developed as well, from the sad Isa, her enabled older brother Milo, the sweet potential boyfriend Sebastian and Connie, the ill-tempered housekeeper with a lisp.
This psychological novel has it all: paranormal activity, adventure, romance and suspense. Tighter is beautifully written, firmly plotted with just enough twists and turns to keep you spooked and captivated 'til its shocking end! It has a Younger Teen sticker in our library system and is recommended for 7th grade and up.