The protagonist in “Thornhill, by Pam Smy, is an orphan living in the Thornhill Institute. Mary must deal with both inner and outer conflicts. She has no friends, nor hope of getting adopted, and is too afraid to sleep at night because she is bullied on a daily basis.

Mary is an introvert and tends to keep to herself in her room. She writes diary entries and creates dolls. Her narrative is told in 1982.

Years later, in present time, 2017, Ella, a new girl, moves in next door to the institute. Ella views the abandoned, mysterious Thornhill from the top floor of her home quite vividly. Ella is pretty much abandoned by her working father so she makes a plan to befriend the intriguing Mary and to unravel secrets in Thornhill’s past.

Ella’s story is illustrated, and shows the captivating story that potentially leads to a friendship. “Thornhill” is exquisitely suspenseful and will hook readers as it details Mary’s haunting past, and the life of the lonesome girl next door, Ella. One is orphaned and bullied, and one is abandoned.

This modern gothic tale brings light the neglect these girls face in their lives, while both of them tackle different challenges.