The Window by Amelia Brunskill (2018)
YA Fiction | Mystery
“Anna is everything her identical twin is not. Outgoing and athletic, she is the opposite of quiet introvert Jess. The same on the outside, yet so completely different inside–it’s hard to believe the girls are sisters, let alone twins. But they are. And they tell each other everything.
Or so Jess thought.
After Anna falls to her death while sneaking out her bedroom window, Jess’s life begins to unravel. Everyone says it was an accident, but to Jess, that doesn’t add up. Where was Anna going? Who was she meeting? And how long had Anna been lying to her?
Jess is compelled to learn everything she can about the sister she thought she knew. At first it’s a way to stay busy and find closure . . . but Jess soon discovers that her twin kept a lot of secrets. And as she digs deeper, she learns that the answers she’s looking for may be truths that no one wants her to uncover.
Because Anna wasn’t the only one with secrets.”
pooled ink Review:
This was a book I definitely enjoyed reading. I read it so quick and it just had this vibe that was mysterious, a bit creepy, but mostly the soft tread of insanity beneath the mask of normal, and it was done well enough that I had moments where I even wondered if Anna’s death really was anything more than a simple accident.
I loved Anna’s almost diary-like entries at the ends of most chapters. They gave the tiniest of clues into what happened that night and they essentially worked like catnip always making me want to come back for more. They were just enough to tease, just enough to raise your hopes that she’ll give up a name.
As a whole I actually really enjoyed the mystery plot of this book. It definitely kept me guessing from start to finish which I loved because for me it’s often too easy to guess endings with books (too much time to think and riddle out the clues, maybe? Compared to fast-paced shiny TV anyway lol).
Where my rating for this book took a hit is in two places: believability and the main character.
As far as believability goes there were quite a few moments where I didn’t quite buy it…but that being said I was so swept up in the story that it was easy to just suspend my disbelief and enjoy the story. And besides the details I didn’t totally buy were super minor (like noticing a tiny button from several feet away in the grass or finding a phone that was dumped in the mucky water of a quarry). Most of what irked me was Jess, the main character.
First let me actually start with Anna. For as lovely and warm and smiley as Anna apparently was she did some very stupid things towards the end. Like painfully stupid. I mean, she wasn’t dumb, she wasn’t falling apart, she just wanted to have some fun and explore having an individual identity (something a lot of twins I’m sure struggle with), and yet the way she goes about this is so blatantly stupid. She even mentions how it’s dumb but does she stop? No of course she doesn’t.
Then we have Jess, Anna’s twin sister and the main character of this book. Since it’s told in first person we have the pleasure of reading all of Jess’ thoughts. Now, first of all I’m not sure what Jess’ deal is. They mention how she doesn’t like being touched, is more reserved, doesn’t pay attention/notice people around her, and she went to a bunch of doctors/psychologists/etc. as a kid. I don’t know what her deal is but I do know that she annoyed me a lot. There were moments where I understood her, how she’s trying to deal with not only the death of her twin but the blow of discovering piece by piece that Anna had begun to change and keep secrets from her. But then Jess would create stories and assumptions in her head for every little possible clue, she wouldn’t tell her parents or the police about evidence disproving their theory of an innocent accident because it was just too many words or simply just wouldn’t even think to, and she would do freaking insane things (like full on stalking for months)! I get that maybe she had some sort of mental condition (or maybe she didn’t? NEVER EXPLAINED. Also how does that work genetically with identical twins?) but she drove me batty lol. She made so many mistakes in her “investigation” that she’d know were stupid if only she read/watched more mysteries. Especially any mysteries with teenagers because they always make the same stupid decisions.
Honestly I really enjoyed this book but there were moments where Jess had me so frustrated that I just wanted to skip to the end, read the answer, and be done with it. But I didn’t because, well, I really enjoyed everything else in the book. I think this could’ve been a 4 star read for me at least but ugh something about Jess drove me up a wall and would disengage me from the story. Not always, most of it I really enjoyed and got on with, but yeah there were just moments of Jess’ insanity where I was frustrated.
Anyway, if you’re on the hunt for a good mystery with lots of twists and obscure clues then definitely give this one a try! Definitely in the top of YA mysteries that I’ve read I think.
The Window is an eerie but engaging journey as Jess investigates the death of her twin. Whether accidental or not there is far more to this tragedy than anyone is willing to admit and each clue, each truth, comes out slow and taunting until you’ll be ready to scream alongside Jess for someone to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Riveting, lulling, queasy, desperate, and fabulous, this mystery is one to keep an eye on.
Purchase Here: The Window
Meet Amelia Brunskill!
Amelia Brunskill was born in Melbourne, Australia, but she grew up mostly in Washington state where she picked a lot of blackberries, read a lot of books, and failed to properly appreciate the epic beauty of the mountains and the Pacific ocean.
She earned her bachelors degrees in psychology and art from the University of Washington and her master in information studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She now lives in Chicago, where she eats as much Thai food as possible and works as a librarian.