Close Your Pretty Eyes by Sally Nicholls
Illustrated by: N/A
Published: 7th November 2013, Marion Lloyd Books
Print Length: 292 pages
Narrated By: N/A
Genre: Thriller, Horror, Ghost Story, Psychological Thriller, Middle Grade Fiction, YA
Where Did I Get It? I borrowed a copy from a friend.
Blurb: A gripping psychological thriller from the author of the bestselling Ways To Live Forever. Eleven-year-old Olivia has been in care since she was five, and is just beginning her sixteenth placement. Her new home is a secluded farmhouse, centuries old, where she slowly bonds with her foster family. But the house holds dark secrets. Olivia discovers that it was once a notorious baby farm, where unwanted children were left to die. She becomes convinced that the place is haunted. She is desperate to save her new family from the ghosts. The danger is real – but does it come from the twisted mind of a very disturbed child? A powerful and thrilling story from one of today’s most exciting young writers.
I think I might be a witch.
My Review: I don’t know where to start with this, other than to say I am still in a bit of a hangover from it, a good two weeks since I finished it and several books later. I keep wanting to pick it back up and read on, even though I finished it already. If that isn’t a good enough reason for you to go find yourself a copy then I don’t know what is!
The characterisation of Olivia, the main character, is incredible. She is not a likeable person and during the course of the book she does some truly horrible things, but despite this you find yourself wishing for the best for her and hoping for a happy ending. She is a complicated character but all her flaws are rooted in the way she was treated in her past by her mother and subsequent foster parents – this all unfolds through the book, cleverly interwoven with the story of current events. You are presented with a lot of history but it never feels like you have been taken out of the story to learn it – it is seamlessly worked through in such a way that you understand Olivia’s feelings and actions even if you can’t agree with them.
I particularly loved the fact that Nicholls chose to use a real person from history as the ghost – the research she had clearly done meant that the danger Olivia felt in the presence of the baby farmer’s spirit was alarmingly real. Even though you were never quite sure if the hauntings were truly happening or if they were merely the workings of a frightened and damaged child’s over-active imagination.
It is this uncertainty that makes the book so chilling – the ghost story about murdered babies is creepy but Olivia’s story of trauma, abuse, mistrust and fear is even more horrifying. And completely believable.
My Rating: 5/5*