Monday, August 26, 2013

Review of Thin Space by Jody Casella

Casella, Jody.  Thin Space.  Simon and Schuster, 2013.

Marsh Windsor loses his twin brother, Austin, in a car accident in which he is the driver.  He feels extreme remorse and guilt over what has happened and wishes he had been the one to die, instead.  After getting out of the hospital, Marsh begins to hunt for a “thin space”—a type of doorway where living people can enter the world of the dead and where the dead can return.  Mrs. Hansel, his neighbor, told him that she had a thin space in her house before she died.  Marsh’s goal is to find a thin space, go through, and change places with his dead brother.

Marsh has been looking for a thin space by going barefoot because that is the only way to pass through.  He has given up all his activities at school and is getting in a lot of fights.  His school counselor, Mrs. Golden, who also lives on his street, has taken an interest in him and his altered personality.

When a new family moves into Mrs. Hansel’s vacant house, Marsh feels like this is his ticket to get in and look for the thin space.  Maddie, his new neighbor, tries to help him by doing research on thin spaces because she would like to see her late father again.

The pair eventually find a thin space right when they are about to give up.  However, Mrs. Golden has already found the space and has crossed over to see her dead husband.

Thin Space, the author’s debut novel, starts out as realistic fiction and ends up being a paranormal story.  The novel is extremely character-driven.  The guilt and grief that Marsh feels for the part he played in his brother’s death is so thick that they practically ooze off the page.  He is insanely obsessed with finding a way to reach his brother in order to avenge his death.

Marsh’s new neighbor, Maddie, is a strong female character.  Although she seems vulnerable, she is more than able to take care of herself.  She urges Marsh to keep up his search, even as he is wavering.

There is a huge twist that happens at the end of the story that I did not see coming.  As I look back, all the signs were there, but I missed every one of them!   Additionally, the last line of the book is genius!  I highly recommend this novel for high school and public libraries.  I give it five out of five fleur de lis!