The Twisted Window

( 53 )

Overview

What does he want with her?

Tracy Lloyd can feel handsome Brad Johnson watching her.  He's not a student at her school. He doesn't even live in Winfield. But Brad has plans for Tracy...

Tracy, a high school junior, becomes embroiled in the problems of a strange boy, who asks her assistance in "snatching" his half-sister from her father who has allegedly kidnapped her.

...
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The Twisted Window

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Overview

What does he want with her?

Tracy Lloyd can feel handsome Brad Johnson watching her.  He's not a student at her school. He doesn't even live in Winfield. But Brad has plans for Tracy...

Tracy, a high school junior, becomes embroiled in the problems of a strange boy, who asks her assistance in "snatching" his half-sister from her father who has allegedly kidnapped her.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When Brad tells Tracy that his little sister Mindy has been kidnapped by his stepfather, she promises to help him locate the child. Tracy is moved by Brad's story and defiant of the aunt and uncle she has lived with ever since her mother was stabbed to death. They find the toddler Brad is searching for, and Tracy arranges to baby-sit for Mindy, then turn her over to Brad. But the situation turns dangerous when Brad shows up with a gun, and Tracy realizes that the story he told was far from the truth. Duncan, a master of the YA suspense novel with such books as Locked in Time and The Third Eye, has created another gripping psychological tale with an absolutely unpredictable but thoroughly believable twist at the end. Ages 12-up. June
Children's Literature - Amie Rose Rotruck
Tracy has trouble adjusting to a new town, a new school, and a new family after her mother's death. When she meets Brad, she is both drawn to and suspicious of him. After finding out he lied about being a student at her school, she finds that he befriended her for a reason. Brad is tracking his stepfather, who stole Brad's younger sister. Brad needs Tracy to help him get his sister away from his stepfather. Tracy agrees but soon finds herself in over her head. On the run with Brad, she begins to realize that nothing, especially Brad, is what it initially seemed. At the same time, Tracy needs to come to peace with her mother's death and her absent father. This thriller falls a bit flat, as Brad is made to seem far more sinister than he really is. Still, it is an entertaining read if you are in the mood for suspense.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-9 Tracy believes that she's doing the right thing when she helps Brad kidnap his little sister after she had been stolen by his stepfather. But things are not as they seem. Brad and Tracy have taken the wrong child, whom Brad mistakenly believes is his sister Mindy. Too late, Tracy realizes she's trapped in the car with a boy who may be crazy, and whose actions have led to a search warrant for their arrest. Duncan skillfully draws readers into this twisting and suspenseful plot. She captures perfectly the gullibility of adolescence; Tracy's well-meaning intentions make the resulting consequences of her actions all the more horrifying. As in I Know What You Did Last Summer Little, 1973, this book relies on realism, rather than the supernatural, to terrify. One minor complaintalthough Brad and his friend Jamie both gain some insight into themselves by the end of the book, it is not clear that Tracy ever does. There is no evidence of her acknowledging her aunt and uncle's love for her or the consequences of her own actions. In spite of this, Duncan offers a well-written thriller that's sure to be popular. Cathryn A. Camper, Minneapolis Public Library
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440201847
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/28/1988
  • Series: Laurel-Leaf Suspense Series
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 468,940
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Lexile: 950L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 4.86 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 0.68 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Brad pulled up across the street from the school and hung there with the engine idling, watching a group of younger boys laughing and shoving each other around on the steps of the building. Had there ever been a time when he had been that carefree? As if in answer, a picture flashed into his mind of himself as a ten-year-old, roughhousing with his friend, Jamie, during recess. Taller and stronger than Brad was back in their preteens, it had been Jamie who had taught him to stand up for himself so he wouldn't get picked on. Over the years he'd had some wonderful times with Jamie, but he had never been part of a group the way these boys were.

The kids on the steps eventually began drifting over to the bicycle rack. Brad put the car into gear. There was nothing more he could do until evening, he told himself, so he might as well drive back to the motel and watch some television.

Pulling away from the curb, he shifted into second. That was when he saw her, a little more than half a block ahead of him on the far side of the street. He recognized her instantly, even from the back, by the set of her shoulders and her graceful, long-strided walk. Although he had seen her for the first time only the day before, already she seemed incredibly familiar.

He glanced at his watch and then back at the girl on the sidewalk. It was late for her to be leaving school. He wondered what could have held her there this long. The sight of her at a time when he had not been looking for her made him feel like the recipient of an undeserved present. Without making a conscious decision to follow her, he kept the car in second gear and inched it along, letting the distance widen between them so that if for some reason she turned to look back, she would not notice he was tailing her. She walked two blocks along Third Street and then turned onto Rosemont. When, a few moments later, Brad, too, came opposite the corner, he was startled to find that she had vanished.

Not vanished, he corrected himself. Nobody just vanishes. Maybe she had entered one of the houses on the west side of the street. That didn't seem reasonable, though, since the Stevensons' address had been listed in the phone book as being on South Cotton. A second possibility occurred to him; perhaps she had crossed the street and gone into the park. A gravel path ran diagonally in from the corner, but a row of trees and a screen of flowering bushes cut off his view of the interior, so he could not tell whether or not she had entered.

Once again, acting strictly on impulse, Brad stopped the car, turned off the motor, and got out. He crossed Rosemont and walked down the path until he came to the inner edge of the clump of trees. Standing in a pocket of shadow formed by the leafy branches, he was surprised at the extent of his relief at seeing Tracy some twenty yards ahead of him.

He struggled against the temptation to call out her name. For a moment he actually contemplated doing so. He had intended a slower approach—first a casual phone call, then perhaps a movie date, and, if those went well, the initiation of an in-depth talk during which he would explain to her what had to be done. Much as he hated the idea of wasting time in such a manner, he had been afraid that if he moved too quickly she might refuse him. He had thought he would start the ball rolling by phoning her that evening. Now he found himself wondering if the elaborate preparation was necessary.

While he was trying to decide whether to take advantage of this unexpected opportunity or to stick with his original, more carefully conceived plan, Tracy broke into a run. The suddenness of her flight took Brad by such surprise that he froze where he was and then moved hastily back into the protective covering of the bushes. What in the world had happened? he asked himself. He was not aware of having made a sound. She had not glanced over her shoulder, so there seemed to be no way she could have known he was there. Somehow, though, she had sensed it, and that realization had been enough to send her skittering away like a frightened rabbit.

Brad silently cursed himself for his own stupidity. How could he have been idiotic enough to have let this happen! Now she was all worked up, and by this evening when he made his phone call, she would probably have developed a full-blown case of the jitters. There was no telling what the result of that might be. She might not even be willing to come to the phone.

The one thing he did know for certain was that it was imperative that he get out of her range of vision before she reached the edge of the hedgerow and decided to turn around to look behind her.

Hurrying back along the path to the street, he quickly got into his car and turned the key in the ignition, cringing as the afternoon quiet was broken by the roar of the engine springing to life. There was no way Tracy could have missed hearing that racket, he thought grimly, and it was bound to reinforce her suspicion that she had been followed. He knew her too slightly to be able to predict her reaction. She might panic further at this indication that someone had indeed been spying on her, or she might throw caution to the winds and rush back to investigate.

Either way, he knew he had to get out of the area. Brad threw the car into gear and clamped his foot down hard on the accelerator, glancing apprehensively into the rearview mirror as he did so. He could see no sign of Tracy, but that did not necessarily mean that she would not come popping out from behind the trees at any moment.

With that thought in mind, he drove the first few blocks of Rosemont as though it were the Indianapolis Speedway. Then, reminding himself that the last thing he needed was to get arrested, he slowed to comply with the residential speed limit and drove carefully back to the Trade Winds Motel. Parking in his designated space, he got out of the car, fumbled in his pocket for the key, and let himself into unit twenty-three.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 53 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(29)

4 Star

(13)

3 Star

(8)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(0)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 53 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 30, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    3 1/2 stars. Once I realised that this book was first published

    3 1/2 stars.

    Once I realised that this book was first published in 1988, everything fell into place. It just had that sort of feel about it. It's hard to explain quite why, but it lacked the subtelties of some modern Young Adult novels. This was not one that I felt crossed over for adult reading as many YA books do now. Although this version has been updated to allow for modern technology, such as mobile phones, they didn't seem to be an integral part of the characters' lives as they would be today. Also, Brad's use of a gun to get what he wanted, seemed a bit excessive.

    Tracy Lloyd is thirteen and has recently lost her actress mother who was murdered. Her father spends much of his time away on film sets and has sent Tracy to live with her aunt and uncle. This has necessitiated a change of town and schools and she has become a bit of a loner.
    Brad Johnson has come from another state. He spots her from a distance and feels drawn to her. He needs help to locate his baby sister who he suspects may be with his step-father in Winfield.
    Although Tracy has avoided contact with other boys, she goes against her better judgment and decides to help Brad. She is angry with her father for sending her away and sympathises with Brad in his anger against his step-father.
    There follow several twists and turns, some more believable than others. Not everything is as it initially seems.
    The ending was quite well done but did leave some issues unresolved.

    I loved the author's biography at the end, with photographs of her as she grew up and of her growing family. This was a lovely touch.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Blast from the Past

    Man, was this a blast from the past! I grew up in the 80's and Lois Duncan was a regular on the library shelves. Seemed like every where you looked, there was a new Lois Duncan mystery novel just waiting to be checked out.

    Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy this book as much as I did when I was younger. The first time I read it, it opened my eyes to what reading could be. It could be suspenseful, mysterious, surprising and you could fall in love with characters ... you could bond with them. But as an adult, the book just fell short for me. I didn't feel that same connection with the main character that I did all those many, many, MANY years ago. Maybe I'm just jaded now from the hundreds ... dare I say more like close to 1,000 or over?!? ... of books that I have read since first picking up The Twisted Window. Either way, I just couldn't connect this time.

    It's a well written book, no huge grammatical errors or lulls in the story. Everything ran smoothly, it just was a bit boring to me. That's it ... no shock and awe. I wanted the shock and awe. I wanted to be taken by surprise or gasp in horror as I flipped the pages. Now, before you say it's because I remembered the book, I didn't. Heck, I didn't remember anything about this book but that I blew through 3 copies when I was younger.

    Not much else to say ... the ending was a bit ... anticlimactic for me. It felt like things were just coming to a head and then fizzled out for me. Probably would be a good read for the young kids - around 11 or 12 ... they probably wouldn't be able to predict what was going to happen next and get a little more out of the book than I did.

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  • Posted July 11, 2013

    There¿s a trend in YA fiction about unhealthy relationships and

    There’s a trend in YA fiction about unhealthy relationships and the characters are blind to how abnormal the attraction is between a girl and a boy.  When we’re first introduce to Tracy and the guy watching her, THE TWISTED WINDOW seems to follow that trend.  Then the book switches to his point of view and he exhibits all signs of a sociopath.

    Run.  Tracy.  Run.

    Tracy doesn’t run, but she does have some hesitation about getting to know him.  He seems to know too much about her. He shows up at her house unannounced, follows her in the street, and obsesses over getting her to do what he wants.  He convinces her and us in his POV that he’s not a completely bad guy.

    But soon enough, I wanted to scream at her and tell her over and over again to get away from him.  There are clues everywhere, minuet yet chilling, that what Tracy thinks is happening is something entirely different.

    The book twists, turns, and drives the plot into places so cleverly hidden that you don’t know what’s going on until it happens.  With unreliable narration, complex characters that have their own lives off-screen, and parents that actively influence the plot and both Tracy and Brad’s decisions, this is one mystery both you and Tracy will figure out too late.  I’m not a fan of mysteries, but I am a fan of Lois Duncan now. (4 1/2 stars)
     
    (I received a copy of this book from the publisher/Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.)

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  • Posted June 12, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Intense!

    Lois Duncan delivers a great Young Adult thriller with just the right amount of creepy-woo-woo factor, from the very start when a new boy at school “chooses” a special girl for reasons unknown. So far, I’m there in the story, ready to go! But from that point, as Brad reveals his “mission” to Tracy Lloyd, a teen dissatisfied with her current life, the two of them jump headfirst into danger and intrigue as Tracy decided to help Brad get his baby sister back from the man who took her. But what has Tracy really gotten herself into? Are things as they seem? <b>The Twisted Window</b> is a raw picture of how distorted lives can become in the blink of an eye.
    Sometimes, a thriller written for a younger audience fails to dig deep enough into the story to really give the reader a satisfying feel at the end of the book. I loved the idea and the main thrust, but the delivery was just shy of keeping me in a vise grip until the end. The action seemed to skip a little in the fleshing out department with too many gaps and too much rushing blinding into the jaws of danger by Tracy.

    A review copy was provided by NetGalley and Open Road Media in exchange for my honest review of this re-released YA Thriller.

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  • Posted June 10, 2013

    The twisted window by Lois Duncan Faced with a challenge¿. This

    The twisted window by Lois Duncan
    Faced with a challenge…. This is an interesting book you are left with more questions than answers as you see the lives of these two young teenage children. Brad is lost in a new town, looking for help with his plan. He has lost his kid sister, in his grief he believes that she has been kidnapped by her father, his stepfather. He does not know how to solve the problem on his own. He found her in a local high school, with his good looks, and charm. He was able to approach her, and ask her for help. But will she be willing to help him, or is there something she does not know of the story. Tracy is lost, abandoned and alone she has been shipped off to her aunt’s house after her mother’s murder. Her father is far away and seems to have little interest. She wants to rebel against the world, and change her life. Jamie is Brad’s best friend. She knows everything about him, does she have the ability to learn what he is thinking and save him from himself. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    :) Lois Duncan!! :)

    I loved this book!!! Amazing plot and awesome twist ending. I love Lois Duncan her books are amazing and she always has amazing plots and endings :)

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  • Posted March 3, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Overall I give it a 3.4 out of 5 Plot (3/5): When I first read

    Overall I give it a 3.4 out of 5

    Plot (3/5):

    When I first read the summary, as I was browsing NetGalley, it seemed pretty interesting. I mean obviously right? I did request it. And it wasn't horrible. I made it through and it kept my attention enough. But it wasn't exactly great either. I think the idea behind the story was pretty good, it just could have been executed much better. It wasn't until after I had finished and was pulling stuff up to get ready to post this review, did I see on Goodreads that this was originally published back in 1987...it explains a lot.

    Characters (2/5):

    Though there were some likable aspects to them, in a lot of ways these characters were so unrealistic. Even if we consider them from a point of it being 15 years ago.

    First of all Brad is just a nut job. I won't get into it because you really can't without revealing plot twists and such. Just trust me...the boy needs an extended vacation in a room with padded walls. I mean, yeah, he's got things that have happened in his life to lead him to the point of coo-coo, but seriously someone should have intervened a while ago. And Tracy? She's not exactly a golden girl either. The whole &quot;then one day&quot; that Brad confides in Tracy is like hardly 24 hours after semi-stalking her. And the girl just agrees to go along with helping him?? Really??? But that's not the worst thing. She runs off with him, knowing he has a gun and only knowing him for like a week tops and even then they'd talked 3 times during that period. I swear I felt like I was reading a manual on how to get yourself chopped up into a million pieces instead of a YA suspense novel. Sheesh!

    Originality (5/5):

    I will give it respect for being original. Like I said the idea is good, just poorly executed.

    Ending (4/5):

    There's a pretty good twisting &quot;whoa, no way!&quot; type of moment at the end so I can't get into much detail. It did end, somewhat, leaving things a bit unanswered. It could have gone on at least one more chapter maybe to let you know what happened to everyone. Or even an epilogue maybe. But in the grand scheme of things it wasn't really that vital to the book I suppose. It's just one of those &quot;it would've been nice&quot; things.

    Overall Satisfaction (3/5):

    There was a lot of awkward dialogue and at times it was really stiff and formal. Teenagers, at least American teenagers don't normally go around saying &quot;mustn't&quot; and it was used at one point. Along with the fact that these days contractions are used a lot more often; won't, didn't, can't etc. Knowing now though that this book is really 15 years old, I guess maybe that could explain a some of the stiffness and formality. Maybe, maybe not. But that wasn't the only thing that lessened my enjoyment, I just really had a hard time believing things would have happened the way they did. Am I sorry I read it? No, not really. It had its moments and it was an okay read. However it didn't wow me by far and I wouldn't sit through it again. I guess I'll leave you with take your chances.
    (less)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2012

    Anon.

    It was very predictable, but overall good...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2012

    A Five Star Read!!

    You will like this book if you love suspense and unexpected endings! I have to say this is my favorite out of all Lois Duncan's books

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  • Posted July 13, 2012

    Awesome!!

    Awesome!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    Wonderful Read

    Duncan is an absolutely amazing writer, and that is proven with the Twisted Window. This book is brilliant, a must read.

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  • Posted September 7, 2011

    5

    love this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2011

    BRAD SCARES ME!!!!

    BRAD IS A FRICKIN PHYSCO!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2010

    pretty good!!!!!!

    Its pretty good, I found it intresting and partially thrilling. Everybody who reads this should take my advice and read it, I mean you might like itn and if you don't so what its a win-win situation I mean your not losing something your gaining something. There were times when I got lost or confused but I still liked it. I mean once I started reading I couldn't stop!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2008

    An Awesome Book Twisted With Mystery

    This book is about a girl named Tracy Lloyd who meets a boy named Brad who says his sister was kidnapped by his stepfather. Then after they actaully snatch away the little girl Tracy finds out the whole truth. This book was great with a really good ending. You should defintelly read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2008

    An Outstanding, Crazy, Twisted Book

    This book was wonderful, it was unlike anything I had read before. It was defianately a twisted book but I totally reccomend reading it!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2008

    Good

    This was a good book. It really proves to always expect the unexpecting. When I read some of the reviews that it was just ok I got worried. Thought'Should I not read this?' Then I decided I should give it a chance. And I liked it. Remember everyone has different opinons(sp?) so don't rely on us reviewers-but we are usful. I enjoyed this, others don't. I say just give it a chance. Sort of like that one weird thing your mom cooks and you never try it. Taste it! You may LOVE it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2007

    book lover

    I am a huge fan of her books, but was really disappointed with this on. It just didn't seem like it could live up to her other works. It was okay, but not something I would recommend others to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2007

    It was Okay

    The book was a good read but not really and someone said they didnt know Brad had curly hair. It was in the first sentence of the whole book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2007

    Great Book!

    I love all of Lois Duncan's books! This one was really good. I liked the twists and turns in the book. It keeps yyou guessing! However, it got a little slow in some parts, but it was still great. i wouldn't classify it as a thriller, but I would DEFINITELY say it was a good book!

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