Siblings Ivan and Hilly have always been emotionally connected. They are home-schooled, but Hilly decides to volunteer for the public high school’s literary magazine. When a friend from the high school commits suicide, Hilly is forced into therapy. She becomes more withdrawn the more her psychologist and brother fight for control of her mind. Dr. Roland uses whatever means possible to try to use Hilly’s private writings for his own book, and Ivan is manipulated by the therapist to turn against Hilly. The novel is told in alternating voices, but the story really seems to be controlled by Ivan. While there is some lack of clarity in the writing, it seems to make the character’s voices even more realistic. The stream of consciousness voices are rhythmic, becoming almost poetic. There is certainly an underlying negativity, a heavy sadness that portrays a loneliness, a lack of understanding of people and the world, and a fear of the unknown. Even the very little bit of hope at the conclusion is described with the line: “Hell has a door.” However, this is a story that will surely resonate with teenagers who have felt despair and confusion, as well as those who have at any time kept their own thoughts and writings secret from others.
Call number: YA KOJA (Teen Room)