By Pam Smy

New York: Roaring Book Press, 2017.

Genre: Graphic Novel/Thriller      Grades: 6 and Up    Pages: 520


This was an unbelievable book!  When I opened my Junior Library Guild box this week –I found this intriguing black and white book with the title of Thornhill—I opened the book to find it similar to Brian Selznick’s Wonderstruck—two stories being told; one in text and one in black and white pictures. The story of Mary Baines takes place in 1982 and thirty five years later in 2017 the story of Ella Clarke.  Both girls have lost parents, both girls struggling to find themselves and both looking for someone to care about them.

33163379Ella moves into her new house next to the old Thornhill Orphanage in March of 2017 and looks out her window at the boarded up orphanage.  There she thinks she sees a girl in the window.

Mary Baines lived at the orphanage in 1982 where she had been waiting for adoption but her forever family never comes. Perhaps because she mute—selective mutism. She is also a loner—only comes out of her room for school.  But Mary holds some very deep and dark secrets of being abused by a girl in her school.  This bully does unspeakable things that will keep you turning the pages of this thriller right up to the time when Mary and Ella’s lives intersect!  A great thriller!


The Girl I Used to Be


By April Henry

New York: Henry Holt & Company, 2016.

Genre: Mystery/Thriller   Grades: 6 and up   Pages: 227

Best-selling author April Henry never disappoints!  Opening chapter has Olivia running for her life—knowing if she slows down and is caught, she will be killed—just like her mother. Only her mother was murdered fourteen years ago and Olivia would not have been in her current situation if she had not decided to find out what really happened that day when they all went into the woods looking for a Christmas tree to cut down. Olivia was three at the time and was with both her mother and her father but the killer dropped her off at Walmart before leaving Medford. All these years Olivia was sure it was her no good father but when she returns to Medford the entire city becomes full of suspects. Henry has written another great who-dun-it, that is a page-turner to the end!  Middle school students will love this thriller!