Saturday, January 8, 2011

Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer

Title: Through Her Eyes
Author: Jennifer Archer
Pages: 240
Publisher: HarperTeen
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.
While her mother is running away from her past, Tansy moves with her; always moving, always running away. Because of all the moves, Tansy doesn't have any friends and it leaves her lonely and isolated. When they move to a West Texas town, she finds mysterious poems in a journal that belonged to Henry, the 'ghost' that haunts their house. As she finds sanctuary in her photography and in Henry's writing, she is pulled into his seductive world and can't let go. Will she let his past consume her future?

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.

Originality: 9/10
Ending: 7/10
Characters: 9/10
Plot: 8/10
My reaction/enjoyment: 8/10
Theme: 8/10
Imagery: 8/10
Setting: 5/5
Voice: 4/5
Style: 4/5
Tone: 4/5
Cover: 10/10
Total Score: 84/100 (B+)


Anonymous,  January 8, 2011 at 10:44 PM  

Sounds awesome! Great review Reggie! :)

Alex Bennett from Electrifying Reviews January 9, 2011 at 12:40 AM  

I agree with a lot of what you said! I'm thinking this is a book I'll be re-reading in the future.

A Canadian Girl January 9, 2011 at 4:27 AM  

Sounds like a great debut. I'm looking forward to reading it!

Book Butterfly (Kim) January 9, 2011 at 10:39 AM  

I'm really looking forward to reading it. I'm thinking about pre-ordering it. It sounds so unique from a lot of the books out on the market. Thanks for a fantastic review!

Cindy January 10, 2011 at 6:53 AM  

This sounds good! Great review :)

Gaby G January 10, 2011 at 11:42 PM  

Don't sound like a book for me, but thanks for the review

Aleetha January 11, 2011 at 12:55 AM  

Nice cover. But it's tricky enough. I thought it was just a plain story. But I was wrong.Again, dont judge the book by its cover.

It's nice to find out that the story is not predictable

I am going to put it on my TBR.
Thanks for the review

Emma Michaels January 12, 2011 at 11:11 AM  

An unconventional debut. Sounds like something I might love!

Emma Michaels

Jennifer Archer January 18, 2011 at 12:11 PM  

I appreciate your honest and thorough review! Thanks so much. So glad you enjoyed the book.


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