Parallel stories set in different times, one told in prose and one in pictures, converge as a girl unravels the mystery of the abandoned Thornhill Institute next door.
1982: Mary is a lonely orphan at the Thornhill Institute For Children at the very moment that it’s shutting its doors. When her few friends are all adopted or re-homed and she’s left to face a volatile bully alone, her revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary, and on Thornhill itself.
2017: Ella has just moved to a new town where she knows no one. From her room on the top floor of her new home, she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute across the way, where she glimpses a girl in the window. Determined to befriend the girl and solidify the link between them, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill’s shadowy past.
Told in alternating, interwoven plotlines―Mary’s through intimate diary entries and Ella’s in bold, striking art―Pam Smy’s Thornhill is a haunting exploration of human connection, filled with suspense.
This review does contain SPOILERS.
This book is very similar to The Invention of Hugo Cabret. It is written in the same way, because it has pictures and a story. The art work is great! Pam Smy is a very good artist. All the pictures are in black and white but they fit the story and plot.
The story is actually quite sad. It follows two young girls but both are from different times. The written part of the story is Mary’s part. She is from the year 1982. The illustrated part is Ella’s story and she is from 2017. Despite being 35 years apart, both girls’ storys deal with bullying, a lack of a family that loves them, and death.
To be perfectly honest this book is not one I would recommend to young readers, due to the whole ending of the story. (INCLUDES SPOILERS) The ending deals with suicide, but that was not even the worst part. At the end of the books it shows another character moving into Ella’s room. He looks out of the window and sees the two girls. And that is how the book ends. In my mind, it was as if Pam Sym was showing that that character was going to die like the other did or showing that he was the next victim. That, to be perfectly honest, did not sit well with me.
So, due to those reasons, I do not recommend this book to young readers interested in books like The Invention of Hugo Cabret. This story left me feeling depressed, and to be honest, this society does not need any more young children feeling depressed. The idea of the book was interesting but it should have been written as a book intended towards older people, not one that can be found in a young adult section.
Author: Pam Smy
Reading Resolution 57: Read a debut novel.
This review is written in my own words and is my honest opinion.