Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Teen/YA Review: Thin Space

In the midst of reading several very large adult novels for my book groups, I was looking for a quick and engaging read (a palate cleanser!), and I found it in Thin Space by Jody Casella. This compelling teen/YA novel mixes realistic teen portrayals with a touch of the supernatural, in a short thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed.

Marshall is grieving the loss of his twin in a horrible car accident that happened several months ago. His family and old friends give him a wide berth, figuring he just needs space to mourn and recover, but there is more going on with Marshall than meets the eye. For starters, he goes everywhere barefoot, even as winter begins in western NY.  His parents and teachers think it has something to do with his grieving process, but Marsh has a secret: he is searching for a thin space, a barrier between this world and the next where people can move between the two worlds…and from what he’s read, you can only enter cross over a thin space in bare feet.

The entire novel is told from Marsh’s perspective, so the story of exactly what happened on the day of the accident emerges only gradually. Marsh thinks there could be a thin space in a house on his street, where an elderly neighbor recently died, and he sees his chance to get into the house again and explore when a new girl, Maddie, moves into the house with her mother and brother. Maddie joins Marsh in his supernatural search. Although she has her own reasons for wanting to find a thin space, it is clear that the two of them actually like each other as well. The question is, can any kind of relationship grow here, in the midst of so much pain and with Marsh’s all-encompassing obsession with the dead?

Thin Space has a unique premise and a convoluted plot that slowly becomes clearer as the story evolves. It was just as compelling as I’d hoped, and I finished the novel in a few short days. The characters all felt real, and although the novel has an underlying supernatural premise, most of the book takes place in the real world, reading like good realistic teen/YA fiction. This is one of those novels with so many twists and surprises that when I finished, I wanted to immediately go back and re-read it! Thin Space is Casella’s first novel, and I am definitely looking forward to reading more from her.

243 pages, Simon Pulse

Thin Space


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