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Tighter    by Adele Griffin order for
by Adele Griffin
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2011 (2011)

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* * *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

The summer after her junior year in high school, Jamie is asked to be an au pair for eleven-year-old Isa on Isa's family island estate. Jamie's school year ended with a disastrous relationship with her teacher, leaving her depressed and lonely. To cope, she self-medicates on pills stolen from her parents' medicine cabinet.

Jamie's mother talks her into taking the job as a glorified babysitter. Isa is practically an orphan. Her mother died of leukemia and her dad is more often absent on business trips than he is at home. Jamie lives on the estate and has access to everything the small island has to offer.

Isa mentions Jessie, her babysitter from last year, almost immediately. Jessie and her boyfriend, Peter, died in an airplane crash and according to Isa, Jamie looks just like Jessie. Even in death, Isa is still fascinated by Jessie and her boyfriend. Jamie begins to realize that Jessie was too self-centered to be a good role model to Isa, and her boyfriend was too destructive.

In spite of the sleeping pills she uses, Jamie's nights are filled with nightmare visits from two relatives who committed suicide. Her days are spent glimpsing the tantalizing games played by the ghosts of Jessie and Peter. She is sure Isa and her brother are in danger, but no one else will admit to believing Jessie and Peter are still around.

This twisted tale is an up-to-date version of the Henry James' classic, The Turn of the Screw. If you're looking for creepy, scary summer reading, look no further than this eerie ghost story.

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