Title: Through Her Eyes
Author: Jennifer Archer
Publication Date: April 5, 2011
Sixteen-year-old Tansy Piper moves with her grandfather and her mother, a horror writer, to the setting of her mother's next book--a secluded house outside of a tiny, desolate West Texas town. Lonely and upset over the move, Tansy escapes into her photography and the dark, seductive poems she finds hidden in the cellar, both of which lure her into the mind and world of a mysterious, troubled young man who died sixty years earlier.
Hauntingly vivid and thoroughly original, Through Her Eyes is a blend of many elements. Here, a historical setting is interwoven with an authentic contemporary one, with the interchanging between the two different times. The paranormal aspect of the novel comes naturally with the gritty, well-established setting. Both elements pull together to forge an eerie, sometimes rustic feel to the book. The classic small town atmosphere dominates both culturally and atmospherically.
Through Her Eyes would be incomplete without its characters. Tansy is a flawed character that questions her mom's decisions in the novel. She hides behind her camera at times, but her vulnerability and her thoughtfulness is apparent in the way she treats her grandfather. She resonates with the reader extremely well because the different sides of her personality parallel to the different aspects of a person at a pertinent level. Just like Tansy, Bethyl Ann is also an outsider. She exudes a more original personality than the rest of the characters. Although she's younger, her mature mentality and her endearing quirks will definitely charm readers. The relationships formed in Through Her Eyes are definitely intense and well-built. The parallelisms between Tansy's relationship with Tate and with Henry manifest at the very beginning; both love interests intrigue her right away.
Through Her Eyes starts out at a snail's pace; a lot of time is spent on long, sometimes dragging descriptions of the town. Archer's writing is fluid but some parts are unnecessary and only prolong the novel's anti-climactic stage. Regardless, the overall atmosphere in Through Her Eyes is solid with a disconnected semblance, deftly and effectively portraying an outsider's narration.
Although slow at the beginning, Through Her Eyes picks up the pace to an arresting climax. Rapt with mystery, and a haunting romance, Jennifer Archer's debut is definitely a fresh and imaginative novel with adept characters, an unpredictable storyline, and writing that captures the essence of a small town.
The Bottom Line: An unconventional debut.
My reaction/enjoyment: 8/10
Total Score: 84/100 (B+)