“The Turning” Francine Prose

ARC (Advance Reading Copy). Published September 25, 2012. HarperTeen (Harper Collins). 246 pp.

While reading this retelling of “The Turn of the Screw,” I was just as creeped out as I was when I saw the movie version “The Innocents” long ago as a young girl. I had never forgotten how scared I’d been when I saw the movie, and “The Turning” brought it all back to me.

In this version of the 1898 novella, high schooler Jack takes a job working for the summer on an island looking after two orphaned children, Miles and Flora, who live with their housekeeper, Linda, in an ancient mansion owned by the Crackstone family. Through a series of letters written to his father and girlfriend Sophie, Jack tells of the strange happenings on the island. Things began innocently enough, but soon Jack was seeing the ghosts of two former lovers, Norris and Lucy, who were haunting the children and causing them to behave very strangely.

Lucy and Norris had been murdered many years ago and were intent on possessing the children’s souls. In his attempt to find out more about the stranglehold Norris had on Miles, and the reasons for the hauntings, Jack gets sucked into the curse that befalls all Crackstones. He should have never gone to that island…

This creepy ghost story will thrill readers ages 12 and up. Just make sure they don’t try reading it before bed, like I did, or they’ll be up for many hours.

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