Tor, September, 2004.
Hardcover, 251 pages.
Ages Young Adult
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S. E. Hinton is the bestselling author of The Outsiders and other novels for young adults that have been very well-received by both young people and teachers. Now she has turned her talent to writing a novel that bends genres and uses very adult themes. Hawkes Harbor is a combination adventure and horror tale that will intrigue the reader from the mysterious arrival of a young mental patient at the local mental hospital to the sudden and unexpected event that ends the story.
Using a flashback technique very effectively, Ms. Hinton sustains the reader's interest in the story of Jamie Sommers who arrives at the Terrace View Asylum in a state of hysteria in January, 1967. Dr. Phillip McDevitt, the director of the asylum, is puzzled by the young man who appears to become extremely agitated as dusk approaches each evening.
The mystery of Jamie Sommers' mental collapse becomes more fascinating as the story reveals that he has had a very adventurous life as a seaman. Jamie had made friends with an unscrupulous Irish adventurer named Kellen Quinn, who is a father figure to the young man. Their adventures in ports all over the world make up the adventurous part of the story. Then when the pair ends up in Hawkes Harbor, things take on a more sinister tone. Kellen is hoping to pull a scam on a local wealthy woman. Jamie moves into a local boarding house where some children tell him about a hidden treasure in an old estate called Hawkes Hall situated on a remote peninsula. No one ever goes there because the local people feel that the place is tainted with evil. Jamie is drawn to the place, and a frightening and violent event there changes his life forever.
Hawkes Harbor evokes all the ancient mystery and haunting evil of New England. As the story of Jamie Sommers unfolds, strange events become plausible but intriguing. Slowly we are drawn into the dark reality that begins to completely transform Jamie Sommers as a human being. S.E. Hinton's combination of adventure and horror entertains until the last unexpected trauma that provides salvation for not only Jamie but for Kellen Quinn and the strange master of Hawkes Hall.
--Sarah Reaves White
Reprinted with permission from The Internet Writing Journal®.
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