Apr 5, 2011

Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer

Through Her Eyes by Jennifer Archer
April 5th, 2011 by HarperTeen

From the Publisher:
The last place Tansy Piper wants to be is stuck in Cedar Canyon, Texas, in the middle of nowhere, with a bunch of small-town kids. But when her mother decides to move to the desolate West Texas town, Tansy has no choice but to go along. Once there, Tansy is immediately drawn to the turret of their rickety old house, a place she soon learns has a disturbing history. But it's the strange artifacts she finds in the cellar—a pocket watch, a journal of poetry, and a tiny crystal—that have the most chilling impact on her.

Tansy soon finds that through the lens of her camera, she can become part of a surreal black-and-white world where her life is intertwined with that of mysterious, troubled Henry, who lived in the same house and died decades earlier. It seems their lives are linked by fate and the artifacts she found, but as Tansy begins spending more and more time in the past, her present world starts to fade away. Tansy must untangle herself from Henry's dangerous reality—before she loses touch with her own life forever.

Wow, did I ever identify with Tansy! I moved all over the place as a kid and each every time it was more and more difficult. Tansy has moved house to house while her mother writes one hit novel after another. Now that she is in high school, friends aren't as easy to come by. In BFE Cedar Canyon, Texas, no one seems to be in the market for a new friend. In fact, everyone seems to enjoy making Tansy's life a little more miserable every day. It also doesn't help that she supposedly lives in the house that belonged to a young man that committed suicide and now it is haunted. She thought she found a friend in a boy named Tate, but at school, he avoids her like the plague. The only thing that keeps her company is an old journal, pocket watch, and crystal pendant she found in an old box under the turret stairs of her home. (totally had to look up that word so here is pic of one - the round part of the house) Tansy isn't quite sure where the artifacts came from, but she instantly feels a connection with them.

When she isn't reading poetry from the journal, Tansy photographs everything around her. The town, it's close minded people, and the Texas landscape. One afternoon, Tansy looks through her camera and sees two young gentleman in the yard. Not very unusual except for the fact that the image is black and white, and she instantly recognizes one of the young men to be her grandfather. He grew up in this small town, and although she thinks this is impossible...she knows it to be him. Could his return be what is behind his silence? Soon, she recognized the other boy in the image to be the boy who wrote in the journal. Henry is what her Grandfather Daniel calls him and she knows him the boy who committed suicide years ago, but he looks an awful lot like the boy, Tate, that goes out of his way to ignore her at school. Tansy is unnerved by what she sees. After awhile, the camera isn't the only thing that transports Tansy back to when her father was young. Photos and the crystal pendant seem to have the same effect, but now she is physically present as someone else, as a young woman named Isabelle. *This is where it starts getting veryyyyy interesting!

Tansy is a smart girl. She tries to find an explanation why she is having these visions and transformations. Why is she in Isabelle's body? Why is she getting sucked into their world? And most importantly, why does she have real feelings for a boy that is old enough to be her grandfather? Literally. She is realistic and thinks maybe she has a mental disorder. It is nice when girls are portrayed as rational, sensible people. Tansy does't walk around in a fog made of dumb. She isn't naive to the fact that some of the things that are happening are scientifically impossible. Even so, she can't help but want, and even need, to be back with Henry. The boy that is so intense that he scares Isabelle, scares her.

This book has a dynamic group of characters. We have the silent type, the bitchy cheerleader, the *13-year-old genius that skipped two grades* outcast, the misunderstood jock, the controlling boyfriend, the faithful friend, and the independent *who gives a damn* girl. I like them all, and I think they each add something special to the story. The relationship that Tansy has with her grandfather is beautiful. I enjoyed reading the  special moments those two shared. Tansy/Isabelle's relationship with Henry was unnerving at times. I was a little uncomfortable by Henry's antics and his possessive ways. Henry's controlling behavior only made me love Tansy's grandfather, Daniel, even more. As a young man, Daniel was a pure gentleman with only the best intentions. He was a true friend even though Henry tested that every chance he got.

The mystery in this story - what is happening and why - is a little unpredictable. My brain always tries look for clues and jump to the end when the big twist hits, but I can honestly say that I didn't get everything right. That's a good thing...  The beginning of the story begins with a small chapter from Henry in the present day. I would have loved to see him come back in the end and share something with us. His presence in the beginning is haunting, and  when I read it for the second time, I see that I missed some clues. The story is compelling and we want to keep the pages moving so Tansy can make her way back to Henry and find out why in Sam Hill she gets swept away in a story that should have died with Henry all those years ago.

4 Stars