Monday, July 8, 2013

Thin Space by Jody Casella

This is one of those books, the ones that call to you even when you're supposed to be focusing on something else. I downloaded it around 2pm, planning on reading a chapter whenever I needed a break from work. At 10 that same night, I still had a little work left for the day - but I finished the book.

The story revolves around a high school student, Marsh, who is struggling to deal with his twin brother's death in a car accident just three months before. His elderly neighbor, Mrs. Hansel, told him about her plan to create a "thin space" in her house - a place where the veil between this world and the world of the dead would be thinner, and they could talk to those who had passed. But don't be fooled into thinking this is a paranormal story; the supernatural elements are a remarkably small part of the actual story, and while the spiritual aspect was what initially caught my eye, even readers who dislike ghosts and other such things will enjoy this book.

I spent a large part of the book confused about Marsh's "horrible secret". From what I'd read, it didn't seem that horrible, or even particularly something that needed to be kept secret. By the end, though, the plot twisted in such a way that it suddenly made perfect sense - though it left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. It's always hard to end a good story unhappy with the main character. But I will give Casella credit for avoiding the happy-ever-after cliche ending I was afraid we were heading for, and my distaste for the twist is nowhere near strong enough to overpower the strength of the story as a whole.

As a middle school teacher, this is definitely a book I would feel good about recommending to a student. The plot is layered and compelling but not so complicated that less-than-perfect readers would get confused, and the similarly quick-but-managable pace helps maintain interest through the entire book. Thin Space will definitely be going on my suggestions list for next year's library purchases as well as our semester book reports.

Thanks to Beyond Words/Simon & Schuster for providing me a copy of Thin Space via NetGalley!

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