February 24, 2011

I HEART Lois Duncan Guest Review: Twisted Window

Today I have a guest review from Cheryl Mahoney, who blogs at Tales of the Marvelous.

Title: Twisted Window
Author: Lois Duncan

Here is Her Review
It’s challenging to give a description of The Twisted Window by Lois Duncan, because anything I say feels like I’m giving things away.  Duncan is a master at the careful reveal, the drawn-out suspense, and the sudden twist.  I don’t think that skill is ever more evident than in this book, which is one reason I wanted to review it for Jill’s Lois Duncan month.  In keeping with its name, it’s riddled with twists and unexpected turns in the story, and you can never be sure that what you think is happening is really what’s going on.

To give you a little hint of the plot: it begins when Tracy realizes that a boy is staring at her across the high school cafeteria.  He introduces himself as Brad, a new student, but she quickly comes to suspect that he’s not what he seems to be.  Brad reveals that he’s come to town looking for a girl, and he wants Tracy to help him find her. 

And that’s really all I can bear to tell you!  Except that, in true Duncan fashion, the stakes keep rising higher and higher, the tension rises right along with those stakes, and the countless twists will keep you guessing until the last chapter.

Duncan has some of the most masterful twists I’ve ever seen.  I’d love to give you an example, but I hate to give any of them away.  So let me give you a similar twist: say a character was introduced but not described.  Something she says leads you to assume she’s middle-aged.  Five chapters later, a new detail reveals that she’s really only twenty.  That doesn’t happen, but similar things do.  Duncan never lies to the reader—she just very carefully leads you off in the wrong direction.  I reread the book for this review, so I could see the twists coming and fully appreciate how neatly she set them all up—and the book’s still good even when you know what’s coming.

One thing I found strange the first time I read The Twisted Window was how little the window actually comes into it.  There is a window, one which has a warp in the glass, but it’s a small piece of the book.  On this read, and thinking about it from an older perspective, I think I was taking the title too literally.  It’s not a glass window that’s twisted—it’s the window the reader has into the world, and the window the characters are looking at life through.  And believe me, those two metaphorical windows…are twisted.  In an appropriate for young adult readers sort of way, I mean.  :)

A brilliant page-turner of a book.  Highly recommended.

Don't forget to enter the I HEART Lois Duncan Month giveaway.  Go HERE to find out how!

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