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Tighter Paperback – June 12, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2011:
"Griffin interweaves subtle commentary about social class, drug abuse and mental illness into this marvelous homage while winding the suspense knob all the way to 11...A contemporary reboot that does the original proud."

Publishers Weekly, March 21, 2011:
"Sure to please fans of gothic romance, Griffin's tale adds new psychological dimensions to James's classic novella [The Turn of the Screw]...Eerily intriguing from first page to last."

The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, May 2011:
"[Will] gratify those seeking a full-on contemporary gothic (or a dynamite curricular pairing with The Turn of the Screw, to which the title may possibly be a reference), and the rest will simply enjoy a summer of adventure, gentle romance, and near-lethal disturbance."

School Library Journal, June 2011:
"Full of mystery, spectral encounters, and disorienting lapses in time, this is a ghost story that melds seamlessly with one of a mental breakdown...An engaging thriller with wide appeal."

A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy ( blog), June 21, 2011:
"Because Tighter spooked me. Because the twists and turns kept me guessing — and surprised me even when I guessed them. Because the ending made me see the book in an entirely different light, making me reread it immediately. This is one of my Favorite Books Read in 2011."

Small Review, January 28, 2011:
"Adele is a National Book Award finalist and it is easy to see why. Tightly plotted, well paced, and beautifully written, Tighter pulled me in from the very beginning and, days after having finished, it still hasn’t let me go...I highly recommend it to readers looking for a good ghost story, a contemporary read, a classic retelling, or a creepy Gothic tale. This is the first book I have read by Adele Griffin, but it won’t be the last."

From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

ADELE GRIFFIN is the acclaimed author of many books for young readers, including Sons of Liberty and Where I Want to Be, both National Book Award finalists. She is also the author of Picture the Dead, The Julian Game, and the Witch Twins and Vampire Island middle-grade series. Adele lives with her husband and young daughter in Brooklyn, New York.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 760L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Ember; Reprint edition (June 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375859330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375859335
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,006,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Watch for THE OODLETHUNKS, a middle grade series illustrated by Mike Wu, January 2016

THE UNFINISHED LIFE OF ADDISON STONE is out in paperback summer 2016

You can find me on twitter at @adelegriffin or on the web at

I update my author page on facebook a few times a week, too--

Drop me a note and I promise to answer ...

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Kaye Oldner on November 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What I didn't realize about Adele Griffin's YA novel "Tighter" is that her story is a retelling of a classic tale "Turn of the Screw" by Henry James. Having never read the classic, my only expectation was garnished from reading the description Amazon provided, which sounded like a ghost story. It was, I guess, for the most part, but with a very different ending.

Jamie Atkinson became addicted to pills, partly over a back injury and partly because she's trying to forget being dumped by someone she fell in love with. Her mother could see this decent into depression and helped secure her daughter a job for the summer as an au pair. When Jamie arrived in the New England island of Little Bly, she quickly became aware of how much she resembled her predecessor and soon discovers the tragic story there.

The beginning, at least for me, was a slow process. Midway through, Jamie's tale did pick up and I found myself curious how the book would end. What really happened to the girl (Jamie's predecessor) and her boyfriend? Also, how did seeing two ghosts (from Jamie's past) have to do with the current ghost she was seeing?

Although the ending made sense, I found the story to be somewhat disjointed and forced at times. I'm glad I finished the book, but I'm not sure I'd recommend this one to a friend. I didn't love or hate the book. Guess I fell somewhere in between.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Books Obsession on May 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Jamie, seventeen years old, is sent to Little Bly, Rhode Island, to work as an au pair over the summer. Jamie is a little messed up, popping random pills for her back injury more than necessary. She arrives at the enormous mansion where she'll be babysitting eleven-year-old Isa. It isn't long before Jamie notices the odd stares and whispers from the island locals, and she soon learns about what happened to Isa's au pair, Jessie, last summer. She died in a plane crash with her boyfriend. The weirdest part of it all is that Jamie looks almost exactly like Jessie. Soon, Jamie begins seeing a young couple that no one else seems to see. Could it be the ghosts of Jessie and her boyfriend?

This book was unlike anything I have ever read before. I started it hoping for just an enjoyable, quick thriller to entertain me... and wow, could I have been more wrong? I don't want to spoil a single thing about this book, so my review might be a little vague. First of all, Adele's novel is based on the short story The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. I've never read it before and don't even know what it's about, so I won't be able to compare the two. This book had literally everything: suspense, romance, adventure, paranormal, and more. I'll start off with Jamie's character. If there's one thing I love, it's a complex and memorable protagonist, and Jamie was the very definition of just that. She had attitude and sarcasm like most teenagers, she was curious and brave, and was the very kind of character that we usually hate to read about. But strangely, I think she was perfect for the role in the book and absolutely loved getting inside her mind. Which brings me to my next point: Jamie is so messed up.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 3, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Seventeen-year-old Jamie Atkinson is struggling with some major personal demons as she sets out to spend the summer as an au pair on the island of Little Bly. She is addicted to pill popping: antihistamines, muscle relaxers, sleeping pills, anything to ease the pain of an old track injury and, more importantly, numb out her mind. Jamie is plagued by memories of a romantic relationship she had with her chemistry teacher that ended in rejection. She's also being haunted by visions of two of her relatives who committed suicide. Her mother thinks that taking a job on the small New England island will help Jamie, so she travels to Skylark, Little Bly's largest mansion to care for eleven-year-old Isa while her father is in Hong Kong. Also living in Skylark are Connie, the middle-aged housekeeper, and Milo, Isa's older brother. Jamie and Isa become fast friends, but soon Jamie discovers a secret about Skylark's past: Isa's previous au pair, Jessie, was killed in a tragic accident with her boyfriend, Peter, the summer before. It seems that Jamie bears a startling resemblance to Jessie, so much so that the ghost of Peter might be haunting Skylark attempting to reach out to her.

Tighter delivers a ghost story far more psychological than most young adult novels dare to travel, resulting in a thoughtful and unique read. It is clear from the first page that the "heroine", Jamie, is more than a little off-kilter. Not only is she addicted to popping pills stolen from her parents medicine cabinet, but she is plagued by horrifying ghostly visions of two relatives who committed suicide. She is also coping with an inappropriate romantic relationship she had with her chemistry teacher, one that ended with her being rejected.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tabitha VINE VOICE on July 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I love stories like this, where there's an amazing twist at the end. Especially when the story has been well researched, meticulously plotted, and executed to perfection.

Tighter was definitely well researched, and the story was vividly created. The explanation of the ghosts was interesting and believable, as is Jamie's reactions to them.

The story was also meticulously plotted, but the execution left me feeling kind of lukewarm. It didn't feel like it had been seamlessly put together. At least, not the way I've seen in other stories, where amazing clues are subtly planted throughout the story, and then click into place the second the twist is revealed. It's like the entire book has been sitting under a veil, and, once you know what to look for, you can see the clues shining right through that veil.

The clues in Tighter were there, but they weren't in the right places. As a result, it felt like the story was progressing as if nothing else was going on, with no foreshadowing. When the big twist was revealed, my reaction wasn't "Oh wow, I didn't see that coming, but it totally fits!" Instead, it was "What? But that doesn't make any sense." I then proceeded to flip back through the story to look for inconsistencies. To the author's credit, I didn't find any. However, I didn't find any clues from a reliable source, either. The story just goes along with the status quo until everything is turned upside down. I wish the foreshadowing had been done better.

It's easy to fool someone you don't know. If I've never seen the sky and a stranger tells me it's green, then I have no reason to doubt him. But if he leaves me a sliver of inconsistency, then I can eventually figure it out.
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