Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Girl Behind the Glass by Jane Kelley

   Hannah and Anna Zimmer aren't just twin sisters - they're also best friends.  Nothing could ever come between them...until they moved into the creepy old house on Hemlock Road.  Their older sister, Selena, is too preoccupied with boys and clothes to really notice, but the twins understand that the house has a story - a story that is desperate to be told, and even more desperate to be heard.

   Anna quickly makes new friends at their new school, but Hannah is more intrigued by the presence in the house than anything else, and for the first time in their lives, the girls begin to argue and drift apart.  The house is splitting their family apart, and Hanna wants to find out what, or who is behind it all.

   For a children' book, The Girl Behind the Glass is actually pretty spooky!  I think I even had goosebumps a couple of times.  But it's also more than just a spooky ghost story - it's a book about family dynamics and relationships.  Hannah and Anna may only be 11 years old, but they're very intelligent and perceptive.  They sometimes even have the ability to read each others' thoughts.  But the presence in the house on Hemlock road is jealous and angry, and all this bad energy drives a wedge between the sisters.  In a way, though, this turns out to be a good thing.  While the girls were practically indistinguishable from each other at first, they are eventually able to develop their own identities.  The spirit in the house is dangerous, but it also helps Hannah and Anna realize that it's ok to disagree.  They can still be close - as sisters and friends.

   While I enjoyed The Girl Behind the Glass and was intrigued by the twins' dynamics, I think the book could use a little more character development, especially in regards to Selena.  For some reason, the girls absolutely despise their older sister, but we never really know why - other than the fact that she's ditzy and obnoxious.  Her story is never completely resolved.  The girls learn to forgive each other despite their differences, but no effort is made to rectify their relationship with Selena.  It sends a bit of a mixed message.  But other than that, I really liked the way Jane Kelley arranged the story.  The book is narrated by the ghost in the house, but we only learn the truth as it is reveled to Hannah.  This quiet, watchful ghost sees and hears everything in the house, which sets up a pretty creepy vibe for the reader.  Overall, The Girl Behind the Glass is a suspenseful, entertaining read about family growing pains and the value of forgiveness.

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