Through Her Eyes* by Jennifer Archer (will be released April 5th, 2011)
Tansy Piper has been uprooted and moved from city to city, from home to home. With no roots to plant of her own, she has called Boston, Seattle, and even sunny California home. But the newest place her novelist mother has brought them will never be Tansy’s home. Cedar Canyon, a small Podunk town located in Texas’ panhandle holds tight to it’s outdated traditions and even tighter to the local gossip and ghost stories. Tansy will never consider this place “home.” But when Tansy finds out the house her mother claims is the perfect setting for her next horror novel – The Screaming Meemies – Tansy finds herself stuck in her own horror story.
Not only is she stuck in the middle of nowhere, but she also has to face being the new girl once again. You’d think she’d be used to it, but being the lonely outsider is something no one, not even Tansy could get used to. What Tansy doesn’t realize is that those are the least of her teenage horrors. It seems that Henry Peterson, the disturbed teen who once lived in the house and who committed suicide by plummeting off a bridge, is trying to send a message to Tansy. A message that doesn’t necessarily involve her, but her Alzheimer ailing grandfather Papa Dan. How is Henry trying to contact Tansy?
Not through apparitions or random haunted house noises. No, it seems that when Tansy looks through her viewfinder she sees a world that once was, a world where Henry was alive and as well as well could be. Startling though, it’s when Tansy looks at the photographs she’s taken though the found crystal pendant she’s suddenly transported to another time – a time when Papa Dan was simply Daniel, a time where Henry Peterson lived and breathed, a time when she’s able to witness everything that happened so long ago through another person’s eyes. For Tansy this is all so intriguing, not scary at all. What really scares her is the idea of staying there … forever.
Debut young adult author Jennifer Archer has firmly planted her feet in the world of young adult fiction with her gripping first novel. Through Her Eyes is an eerily haunting ghost story that readers will not be able to tear themselves away from. Archer has managed to fill her upcoming book with elements most ghost stories seem to lack: fear, anticipation, and building suspense. Full of rich descriptions and depictions of the past and present worlds Tansy straddles, Archer excels at painting a vivid mental image. Like Tansy, readers will lose themselves in a world long past.
What’s appreciable about Through Her Eyes is that it isn’t the typical ghost story, nor does it rely on age-old scare tactics. There’s no ghostly haunting or possessions, but rather uncanny symbols Archer used for personify the ghosts. Through Her Eyes will leave readers with an unsettling fear because it is so realistic, forcing readers to think about what they would believe and/or do if they were in Tansy’s shoes. It’s the reality of losing one’s self and mind to something so unexplainable that will send chills up and down readers spines.
Well crafted and well written Through Her Eyes is evenly paced with chapters that flow smoothly from one to the next. Archer seamlessly breaths life into her characters, giving them defined depth and meaning – even the ghostly characters that fill the pages. Especially Tansy who is portrayed as being realistically honest and believable, a character that exudes an array of emotions. Readers will instantly connect with her and the cast of both living and dead characters that surround her.
* I just have to mention the cover for Through Here Eyes. Even though it’s simple, I feel that it’s so representative of the book as a whole. And just look at those piercing green eyes!