The Window
The Window
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Annotation: After her twin sister Anna falls to her death while sneaking out her bedroom window, high school sophomore Jess tries to learn everything she can about the sister she thought she knew and soon discovers that her twin kept many dark secrets.
Catalog Number: #6558502
Format: Paperback
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Random House
Copyright Date: 2019
Edition Date: 2019
Pages: 339 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: 1-524-72032-1
ISBN 13: 978-1-524-72032-2
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2017013534
Dimensions: 21 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
Anna and Jess were identical twins, but they were polar opposites: bubbly Anna ran track and had an active social life, while quiet, harder-edged Jess mostly kept to herself. Still, though, the sisters were best friends, and there were no secrets between them so Jess believed, until Anna died falling out of her bedroom window. Jess becomes obsessively entangled in the mystery of her sister's death, desperate to discover who Anna was sneaking out to see that night. But the more Jess digs, the more she learns just how dangerous Anna's secrets were, and the danger she herself may now be in. Jess' first-person narration is occasionally interrupted by beyond-the-grave asides from Anna, which offer tantalizing clues. Somewhat flat secondary characters stall the suspense, and the story clings a bit too closely to Jess' search B plot wouldn't have been amiss here. Still, short chapters move this debut briskly along, and it will hook those interested in a mystery that's as much a psychological examination of one girl's grief as it is a thriller.
Horn Book
Quiet and gruff Jess suspects her ebullient twin sister Anna's deadly fall from her bedroom window was no accident. Undertaking her own investigation, Jess enters her sister's world and discovers their small Montana town is full of people with secrets, including the person Jess thought she knew best. A suspenseful murder mystery and an examination of complex grief, Brunskill's debut will grip readers.
Kirkus Reviews
Even death can't break the bond of identical twins. In this debut novel, Jess sets out to uncover who was responsible for her sister's fatal fall.Jess knew that she was the one her parents worried about, the one her classmates found odd, the one who was private and didn't like to be touched. When her identical twin, Anna, is found lying dead beneath her window, everyone is quick to identify her fall as an unfortunate accident. Jess, who knew Anna better than anyone, suspects foul play, and she uses her observational skills to seek the truth. The task isn't easy when everyone in small-town Birdton, Montana, has their secrets—even Anna. In the process of getting to know her sister's friends, frenemies, and love interests, the perpetually misunderstood Jess develops her own bonds and begins to forge her own identity. All of the characters but one are white, and this becomes a key plot point in the story. Entries from Anna's diary interspersed with Jess' methodical first-person narration heighten the tension and fill in gaps, while plenty of red herrings keep readers guessing throughout Jess' investigation. Perhaps her biggest discovery, however, is that of Anna's love for her.A solid, quiet murder mystery for thoughtful readers. (Mystery. 14-18)
Publishers Weekly
Fifteen-year-old Jess Cutter grieves the loss of her twin sister, Anna, in Brunskill-s thoughtful debut. After Anna falls to her death while sneaking out of her second-story bedroom window, Jess realizes that her sister was keeping secrets, and she wonders how much she really knew about her sibling and closest friend. Jess was always the more difficult twin-blunt, argumentative-and she investigates Anna-s secret life in a forceful manner, awkwardly talking to Anna-s friends, joining the track team in Anna-s place, and following Anna-s English teacher home and surveilling him because of rumors about their -special- relationship. Tracing Anna-s footsteps forces Jess outside of her comfort zone and into some sketchy parts of their small Montana town as she uncovers secrets held by Anna and others. Jess is a well-developed and empathetic character who opens up to friendship, life, and the possibility of romance over the course of her investigation. It-s a heartfelt depiction of the grieving process and a thought-provoking exploration of secret lives kept hidden. Ages 12-up. Agent: Bridget Smith, Dunham Literary. (Apr.)

School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up In many ways, Jess Cutter is the opposite of her identical twin sister Anna. Jess lacks Anna's social ease and effortless athleticism, preferring to keep to herself and focus on academics. Yet the sisters have always shared a deep mutual understanding in spite of their differences. Then Anna dies after falling from her bedroom window in the middle of the night, and Jess is certain there is more to the story than the policeand her parentsare willing to see. To uncover the truth, Jess begins investigating on her own,and quickly discovers that Anna was keeping secrets from her. The debut author creates a compelling and suspenseful narrative from the first page; the short chapters and fast pace will appeal to thriller fans. Brunskill adeptly depicts the messy process of grief, with a particularly sensitive portrayal of how Jess's relationship with her parents is altered. Unfortunately, these accomplishments are marred by several problematic elements. As Jess's independent investigation progresses, her behavior quickly crosses the line into unhealthy and obsessive. She never receives appropriate help or clear guidance from an adult to handle this situation, and her encounters with mental health professionals are characterized in a very negative way. There are also hints that Jess's parents and others don't believe her suspicions about Anna's death because her past struggles with mental illness have made her unstable. VERDICT This fast-paced suspense novel is unfortunately marred by its problematic handling of mental health topics; a secondary purchase. Kelsy Peterson, Forest Hill College, Melbourne, Australia
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Horn Book
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal
Reading Level: 7.0
Interest Level: 7-12
Lexile: HL720L

I was inspecting my socks when they called my name.

It was first-­period gym class, and I'd just realized that my socks were entirely wrong. They were long and pulled up straight to midcalf, while those of every other girl in the room were short, barely visible above their sneakers.

There were obviously unwritten sock protocols. They probably weren't even new--­most likely I was only catching up three months into my sophomore year. Good at school, bad at life. That could be my slogan. Anna might get a kick out of that, even if she'd pretend to disagree.


Mrs. Hayes, the school counselor, was standing inside the door of the gym, her hands locked in front of her, her back rigid. The gym teacher, Ms. Turner, stood beside her. Ms. Turner looked strange. It took a second before I realized why--­her face lacked its trademark scowl. Its absence worried me, but what worried me more was that she appeared to be indicating that I should leave class and go with Mrs. Hayes.

"Jess, please come with me," Mrs. Hayes said.

I got up slowly, to see if Ms. Turner would object. She did not.

Mrs. hayes and I left the gym together and walked through the long, cool hallways. The pea-­green lockers and yellow linoleum floors contributed to the schoolwide symphony of poor color choices. I felt a little nauseous.

Mrs. Hayes kept glancing at me as we walked, as though she suspected I might suddenly make a break for it.

It seemed like she should say something to me, something reassuring, but she said nothing, not even where we were going. I tried to think what this might be about, tried to remember if my parents had mentioned any recent health problems in either set of my grandparents. I didn't think they had, not beyond the usual. Anna would know, though; Anna paid attention.

We turned a corner and I saw Principal Stevens standing outside her office, looking toward us. As usual, everything about her seemed intentional: her fitted gray blazer, her crisp white shirt, her dark hair, which fell in a straight, glossy bob. She motioned us inside.

My dad sat in her office, slumped in a chair. When he saw me, he jerked upright, as if he'd been pulled by invisible strings. His face was taut and his mouth vibrated at the edges.

"What's going on?" I asked. "What happened?"

"Jess," he said, staring at me. "You should sit down."

I shook my head. "No," I said. "I want to stand."

He closed his eyes. "Jess. Please sit."

There was a gravity to what he said, a gravity that pulled me into a chair.

"There was an accident, we think, and . . ." His voice faltered and then he started again.

"I'm so sorry. . . ."

More words followed, a stream of them. They didn't make any sense.

I heard his words individually. Anna. Fell. Bad. Sorry. They didn't--­couldn't--­connect with each other. It was as if they were part of a riddle I couldn't decipher. Fell, bad, Anna, sorry. Sorry, Anna, fell, bad.





Eventually, they slotted together. And I knew he was wrong. He was wrong because it couldn't be true. I would have known. I would have known from the moment I woke up, from the second it happened.

"You're wrong," I said, rising from my chair.

He began to stand up. "Jess . . ."

"No," I said, as calmly as I could. "You're wrong. I'd know if anything happened to her. She'll be in class right now. You'll see."

He opened his mouth again, but I didn't hear what he had to say.

the cool air of the hallway felt good on my skin. The office had been way too warm. The thermostat must have been broken or set incorrectly. Such overheating was careless, environmentally irresponsible. It couldn't be good for the principal either, or for the crispness of her shirts.

A hum started in my brain: Anna, bad, fell--­

No, everything was fine. We would laugh about this later, and everything would be fine. Completely fine.

Anna would be in history right now. I'd go there and she'd be at her desk. I walked faster, trying to outpace the hum in my brain.

I was almost running by the time I reached the classroom. I looked through the window in the door, knowing it had all been some bizarre mistake, knowing I'd see her there, sitting with one hand cupped under her chin, staring at the trees outside.

I searched for her among the sea of faces in the room.

I went through them all. Once, twice. Three times.

She wasn't there.

There was only an empty desk.


There had been no mistake. It was true, true after all.

Anna, my sister, my twin, was dead.


Excerpted from The Window by Amelia Brunskill
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

"A gripping tale of suspense, secrets, and the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood." —Karen M. McManus, New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying

If you loved The Third Twin and One of Us Is Lying and binge-watched Thirteen Reasons Why, get ready for a heart-wrenching psychological thriller about a girl who knows her twin sister better than anyone . . . or does she? Taut and atmospheric, The Window will keep you guessing until the end.

Secrets have a way of getting out. . . .

Anna is everything her identical twin is not. Outgoing and athletic, she is the opposite of quiet introvert Jess. The same on the outside, yet so completely different inside—it's hard to believe the girls are sisters, let alone twins. But they are. And they tell each other everything.

Or so Jess thought.

After Anna falls to her death while sneaking out her bedroom window, Jess's life begins to unravel. Everyone says it was an accident, but to Jess, that doesn't add up. Where was Anna going? Who was she meeting? And how long had Anna been lying to her?

Jess is compelled to learn everything she can about the sister she thought she knew. At first it's a way to stay busy and find closure . . . but Jess soon discovers that her twin kept a lot of secrets. And as she digs deeper, she learns that the answers she's looking for may be truths that no one wants her to uncover.

Because Anna wasn't the only one with secrets.

"Layered and compelling, The Window is a fast-paced mystery anchored by a bold and intriguing protagonist, and you won’t want to put it down until you’ve uncovered every last one of its secrets!" —Caleb Roehrig, author of Last Seen Leaving
"Lyrical and haunting, with plenty of twists that kept me reading long into the night.” —Kara Thomas, author of The Darkest Corners

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