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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Disturbing Glimpse Gets Under the Skin. Way Under.

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

You've probably noticed by now that I'm not much for poetry. Same goes for novels-in-verse. It's not that I don't appreciate skillful word usage, it's just that I'll take clarity over creativity any day. So, when I peeked at Carol Lynch Williams' new book and saw stanzas, I just about stuck Glimpse back on the shelf. But, here's the thing about verse novels - they look deceptively simple, so beguilingly easy that even poetry non-lovers like me are willing to take a glance. In this case, that's all it took. I emerged an hour and a half later, my mind reeling with the impact of this powerful, disturbing novel. Poetry-ish or not, it's stunning.

Glimpse is the story of two sisters, 12-year-old Hope and 14-year-old Lizzie. Even though Hope's younger, it's always been her job to take care of her sister, especially since their father's gone and their mother's even more absent. As hard as she's tried to shelter Lizzie, Hope knows she's failed somehow. Lizzie's keeping a secret, something so terrible it's making her crazy. If only Hope can figure out what's tearing her sister apart, she can bring Lizzie home from the mental institution where she sits bleary-eyed day after day after day. Hope's mother warns her to say nothing to Lizzie's doctors. What would she say? She doesn't know anything. Or does she? With each memory Hope dissects, she unravels a little bit more of the shocking truth, the chilling secret that's eating her sister alive.

With no one to trust, Hope must decide what to do with her newfound knowledge. Can she use it to free Lizzie? Or will spilling her secrets just lead to more trouble? Is it too late for Hope to save Lizzie? Is it too late for Hope to save herself?

Like The Chosen One, Glimpse is a tightly-woven, heavily-nuanced story about wily predators who stalk the young, stealing their innocence away forever. While the former is unsettling, the latter takes disturbing to a whole new level. Something about the verse style makes the story even more riveting, more forceful. It's a mesmerizing thriller, to be sure, one that will continue to haunt you long after you put it down. Its format may suggest an easy read, but Glimpse is anything but simple. It's taut, provoking, upsetting, and bound to get under your skin. Way, way under. As much as you may want to, you're not going to be able to forget this one.

(Readalikes: Reminded me of Tomorrow River by Lesley Kagen)

Grade: B+

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG-13 for mild language and sexual content (more disturbing than graphic)

To the FTC, with love: Another library


  1. Agree with that 100%. I read it last week and I'm STILL thinking about it. Great review, and thanks for stopping by my blog!

  2. Ok I really like The Chosen One but I'm going to have to skip this one. I've just read your review and I feel disturbed. Pass for me.

  3. TLL - I know, right? It's tough to get it out of your head.

    Laura - I might not have read GLIMPSE if I had known more about it. It's compelling, but so very disturbing. It's like THE CHOSEN ONE in some ways, but really, the books are quite different.


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