Nothing is as it seems in this darkly romantic tale of infatuation and possession, inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.
Becca was the perfect girlfriend: smart, gorgeous, and loved by everyone at New England’s premier boarding school, Thorn Abbey. But Becca’s dead. And her boyfriend, Max, can’t get over his loss.
Then Tess transfers to Thorn Abbey. She’s shy, insecure, and ordinary—everything that Becca wasn’t. And despite her roommate’s warnings, she falls for brooding Max.
Now Max finally has a reason to move on. Except it won’t be easy. Because Becca may be gone, but she’s not quite ready to let him go…
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
“Tess, this is Devon McCain. She’ll be your roommate. Devon, this is Tess Szekeres. She’s a sophomore.”
The house counselor, Mrs. Frith, moves aside as she makes the introductions and waves me into my new room. I enter, hesitating in the doorway as two enormous emerald eyes size me up.
“Hi, Tess! Welcome to Thorn Abbey!” Devon steps forward and gives me a quick, fierce hug. She is tall, maybe five ten, and reminds me of an Amazon warrior. Her long, silky black hair looks striking against her crisp white blouse and plaid school jumper.
“I’ll leave you to unpack and get settled,” Mrs. Frith says to me. “Devon is a junior. From Boston. She’s been here since ninth grade, so she can fill you in on anything you need to know.”
“Yeah, like all the best places on campus to get high and make out,” Devon says merrily.
My cheeks grow hot as I wait for Mrs. Frith to start yelling or give Devon a detention or something. But instead, she laughs. “Good one, Devon. Don’t forget the Welcome Tea at four, in the downstairs parlors. See you girls then.”
“Lipton’s and stale scones. Can’t wait.” Devon closes the door after Mrs. Frith and turns to me with a dazzling smile. She has perfect teeth—braces, obviously—and I instinctively clamp my mouth shut. “I thought she’d never leave. Come on, show me the clothes you brought. I saved you the good closet.”
“Um, thanks. I didn’t bring . . . that is, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to . . .”
My voice drifts as I picture my wardrobe, Old Navy circa 2010, folded neatly in my one suitcase. I glance around the room, which is so much bigger than my own at home. Devon, who must have arrived on the early side of check-in, has already taken possession of her half. She’s hung framed posters on the yellow-rose wallpaper: a Vogue cover from the sixties, an ad for a German production of the opera Aida, and photos of Billie Holiday and Amy Winehouse. Her desk is cluttered with makeup, tampons, an iPod, a white laptop, and what look like birth control pills. There is a purple silk quilt on her bed that looks impossibly glamorous.
Devon plops down on the quilt and kicks off her ballerina flats. She grabs a bottle of nail polish from her nightstand and starts painting her toenails. The way she is sitting, I can just make out a tattoo on her left thigh—a flower?—and a sliver of her black lace panties. I look away.
“Soooo. What is that, Greek?” she asks me.
“Your name. Sounds Greek.”
“Actually, it’s Hungarian. My family’s a mix of Hungarian, Swedish, Chinese, Dutch, and a few other things.”
“Wow. Mine are, like, straight Irish American. My dad’s ancestors were potato farmers from Galway. My nana on my mom’s side was an opera singer from Dublin. I’m boring, compared to you.”
“I don’t think so.” I can’t imagine Devon ever being boring.
“Where did you transfer from?”
“You mean, what school? Avery Park.”
“Never heard of it. Oh my God, is that one of those hippie prep schools where you grow organic vegetables and worship Gaia the earth goddess?”
“No, it’s just a regular high school. Like a normal public school. It’s in Avery Park, New York, near Albany.”
“Oh?” Devon raises one eyebrow. “Well, you’re going to love it here. Private school is soooo much better than public school.”
“I know. That’s why my mom made me apply, because my classes weren’t challenging enough and because—”
Devon shakes her head. “No, you idiot, not the classes! I meant the other stuff. You can get away with anything in private school.”
I stare at her. I’m not sure what to say.
“You have a lot to learn, Young Apprentice,” Devon says, smiling her dazzling smile again “Unpack your crap. Then I’ll take you on the unofficial tour.”
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Thorn Abbey by Nancy Ohlin Publisher: Simon Pulse Publication Date: May 7, 2013 Rating: 3 stars Source: ARC from ARCyling Summary (from Goodreads): Nothing is as it seems in this darkly romantic tale of infatuation and possession, inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca. Becca was the perfect girlfriend: smart, gorgeous, and loved by everyone at New England’s premier boarding school, Thorn Abbey. But Becca's dead. And her boyfriend, Max, can’t get over his loss. Then Tess transfers to Thorn Abbey. She’s shy, insecure, and ordinary—everything that Becca wasn't And despite her roommate’s warnings, she falls for brooding Max. Now Max finally has a reason to move on. Except it won’t be easy. Because Becca may be gone, but she’s not quite ready to let him go… What I Liked: I'm kind of meh about this one. I was totally sucked in by the cover and the dark synopsis, and the fact that this book was inspired by something else! I haven't read Rebecca, but I love books based on older stories or legends or myths or fairy tales. The premise of this book seemed amazing! And there were things that impressed me! For example, throughout the entire book, I was mystified by the whole "Becca" thing. Who is Becca, really? What is going on? What does Devon have to do with the mess? How does everything fit together? Ohlin kept me interested the entire book - in terms of the plot and the mystery. The romance between Max and Tess was, well, I'm split on how I feel about the romance, but I liked the romance. Max and Tess were good together. Tess was infatuated with Max, and Max seemed to like Tess, especially after everything with Becca. I definitely think there was a dark and creepy feel to the book. Sometimes, the synopsis leads you to believe that the book will be gothic and dark and horror-like, and then the book isn't. Ohlin did an excellent job of setting the scene at Thorn Abbey. It adds to the weirdness that is Becca and her death and her ghost/haunting. I really liked how interesting the story is, behind Becca's death, and overall, the romance in the book, and the setting. For those elements, this book was worth the read. I am happy to have had the chance to read and review this book! What I Did Not Like: However... I'm giving this book three stars. there were some things that I didn't like. For one, I kind of didn't like Tess overall. Like, she practically went INSANE at the sight of Max. Full-on infatuation. The first few scenes with her and Max are... painful. She's so awkward and weird around him, like she can't stop staring and drooling and jaw-dropping. He's JUST a GUY. Yes, he might be hot. But he's a guy. Tess completely loses her head over him... and it's not pretty. I was dying to throttle her sometimes. Dying to throttle her. LOL! Anyway. I also hated how Tess rolled with what Devon told her about anything. She let Devon talk her into the costume, which sent Max over the edge. She let Devon talk her into wearing some ridiculous getup when Tess was going to meet Max's parents... that didn't go well. You're not a ho. Don't dress like one. Poof! So, I had problems with Tess. I also had problems with the supernatural aspect in general. It's totally not explained. I'm not sure if it's explained in Rebecca or not, but I feel like I wasn't clued in. And the ending - WOAH! How did that happen?! The ending, in general, was okay. I'm not too weirded out, but I wanted more. Would I Recommend It: Meh. Not really. I was dying to read this one in the months leading up to May. Now that I've read it, I realize I could have waited a long time before reading this one. Or not at all. I'm glad I read it, but now that I have read it, I really didn't have to go crazy for it. Rating: 3 stars. Meh. I was interested, and then it ended, and I was like, meh.