Review | Thornhill by Pam Smy

“All I wanted was a friend.” 5/5 stars!

Attention! This book contains: bullies, orphans, The Secret Garden, loneliness, trashed rooms, ruined homework, lost keys, handmade dolls, care givers, beautiful gardens, bacon sandwiches, thumps, a black raven, a single friend and a silent girl.

Parallel plotlines, one told in text and one in art, inform each other as a young girl unravels the mystery of a ghost next door.
Mary is an orphan at the Thornhill Institute for Children at the very moment that it’s closing down for good. But when a bully goes too far, Mary’s revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary, and on Thornhill itself.

Years later, Ella moves to a new town where she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, abandoned Thornhill Institute. Determined to befriend the mysterious, evasive girl she sees there, Ella resolves to unravel Thornhill’s history and uncover its secrets.

Ella’s story is told through striking, bold art; Mary’s is told through diary entries. Each informs the other until the two eventually intersect to reveal the truth behind Thornhill’s shadowy past, once and for all. Strikingly told and masterfully illustrated, Pam Smy bends genres and expectations alike.

This was absolutely creepy and sad. And I loved it.

I absolutely loved how this book was presented. It was very different from what I’m used to reading without a doubt. I loved the illustrations (beautiful!), I loved how the story was told in a diary format, I loved the creepiness and gothic nature of it all!

But also, the whole story made me very sad. She was just a normal girl trying to survive there, trying to make friends. She just wanted someone to care, someone to understand her.

I don’t know what I was expecting when I picked this up, since I knew nothing about it. But I’m so glad I did. This was creepy and disturbing and chilling and atmospheric and sad and haunting… in the best way possible. This is a unique book, one I will never forget.

(PS: That last illustration though… chills!)

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