Jack Peter is different from other boys his age, not only because he was diagnosed with Asperger’s many years ago. After a frightening near-drowning in the ocean near their Maine dream home, “Jip” has refused to go outside the house, terrified of some cause unknown to his frustrated parents. He’s an “inside boy” now, obsessed with drawing monsters and kept company by Nicholas, the one friend who will still visit him and play his repetitive soldier games. As the brutal northeast winter begins to tighten its grip on the area, the family experiences strange glimpses and sounds that cannot be explained. Jip’s parents argue about what is best for their son, whether he is improving or might need to be “sent away” as he grows stronger and more difficult to control. As Nicholas joins the family over Christmas break, Jip begins to draw furiously and his artwork develops a life of its own, leading them all to a shocking revelation.
Atmospheric and eerie, with subtly ominous undertones that build from the book’s beginning to its wicked twist of an ending, this is a satisfyingly creepy read that combines horror with literary elements. The author’s portrayal of remote Maine in the dead of winter makes for a chilling setting that perfectly complements his tone. This book might appeal to readers looking for a spooky novel without much gore.
Reviewed by cs, 07/17. Other reviews by cs.