The Window, by Amelia Brunskill, is the story of a girl named Jess whose twin, Anna, died tragically by falling out of her bedroom window in the middle of the night. Jess knew that she and Anna had drifted apart – they weren’t in any of the same classes, they had different friends, and Anna made absolutely sure that they were never wearing the same outfit – but she could not understand what her sister could be doing that involved sneaking in or out of her bedroom window.
Compelled to learn the truth and completely unsatisfied by the information given to her by her parents and authorities, Jess begins digging for the truth – uncovering more secrets than intended along the way. When Jess finally learns the truth, she realizes that her sister was almost a complete stranger to her before her death, and that some secrets need to be brought to light in order to make things right.
This book threw me for a loop. Honestly, I thought I had it all figured out after a few chapters. But I was surprised (the gut-punch kind) when things finally pulled together and the truth was revealed. Although it took me a couple of days to really get into the plot, I felt the desperation of Jess’s search pull me through the rest of the book. I couldn’t put it down. Like Jess, I needed to know what really happened to Anna.
I think one of the most unique things about this book is that Jess, the protagonist and narrator, is neuro-atypical. The book never comes right out and says it, but she has tendencies and thought patterns that make me believe that Brunskill’s intention was that Jess is on the autism spectrum. This is something that isn’t typically seen in suspenseful MG/YA novels, and I have to give Brunskill major House points for that.
There was very little that I didn’t like about this book. I think the one thing that stands out is that Anna’s final poem is never really explained. I won’t go too much into it, because spoilers, but it makes me wonder if what happened in the poem is the reason Jess is the way she is. It could explain a lot and lend an explanation to her atypical state.
All in all, this was a fabulous read. The characters were realistic, relatable teenagers. The parent dynamics, the teacher dynamic, every aspect of this book was carefully thought out and written in a way that lets a reader relate to at least one aspect. From bullying to the dangers of teenage sexting to autism to secrets – this book has a little bit of everything in the absolute best way.
The Window is Brunskill’s debut novel, and I cannot wait to see what else she’s got up her sleeve.
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for review.