Tighter is a YA modern-day retelling of the classic ghost story The Turn of the Screw, reimagined by Adele Griffin.
Seventeen-year-old Jamie has had a rough time of it lately. Her back injury has gotten her attached to pills and she's still trying to get over a painful rejection. The idea of accepting the position of a summer au pair on the New England island of Little Bly is to get away from it all and get over it.
But what she didn't know was that horror preceded her.
The last au pair, Jessie, and her boyfriend died last year in a shocking, tragic accident. And when Jamie realizes that the islanders' stares aren't just about a new girl in town - but more the shock of how much Jamie looks like Jessie - she is even more disturbed.
In the midst of caring for young Isa, her charge, Jamie struggles with leaving. The thing is, she finds herself becoming more and more consumed with the need to learn more about Jessie's death and why she seems to be seeing their ghosts.
Her connection to the couple is so intense - why? What really happened last summer?
Right away author Adele Griffin makes Jamie's state of mind uncertain, dark, and wavering on addict as she relies on stolen pills to get her through. Putting her in the odd circumstance of getting paid to live in a gorgeous mansion without any real adult supervision besides the housekeeper is also strangely fantasy-like - and it seems like there are secrets about both our protagonist's past and the house's that are not being revealed yet.
Before chapter four even arrives the creepiness begins to, well, creep up on you! There is definitely something weird and eerie goin' on!
Tighter sucked me in and enveloped me in its haunting tone and subtle questions of sanity. Each character is slightly off, slightly disturbing - even young Isa and our main character. There is a suspense and palpable feeling of being watched - a bit frightening, yes.
Later on, I did find myself skimming a little bit - mainly because it seemed like the course of the novel was getting a tad lazy - it wasn't as riveting for a while. But then BAM!!!
Holy crap, does Tighter have a BIG shock!!!!!
I was sold with the amazing twist at the end that shows us just how well Adele Griffin plotted Tighter! So, really this book is a fascinating, bizarre, slightly confusing, but definitely darkly alluring novel! Tighter left me hanging, wanting more answers, but leaves a most definite impression and bit of a, "Huh? Wha? Did that just really happen?" feeling.
Might be worth a second read to figure out all the implications of the curveball - and most definitely worth you giving Tighter a shot!