Thornhill by Pam Smy


Parallel plotlines, one told in text and one in art, inform each other as a young girl unravels the mystery of a ghost next door.Mary is an orphan at the Thornhill Institute for Children at the very moment that it's closing down for good. But when a bully goes too far, Mary's revenge will have a lasting effect on the bully, on Mary, and on Thornhill itself.Years later, Ella moves to a new town where she has a perfect view of the dilapidated, aban...

Details Thornhill

Release DateAug 29th, 2017
PublisherRoaring Brook Press
GenreSequential Art, Graphic Novels, Young Adult, Horror, Paranormal, Ghosts, Childrens

Reviews Thornhill

  • Mischenko
    To see the full review, please visit’ve been pondering about what to say about this book for days. It took me awhile to see how I felt about the book and I ended up reading it twice. I could feel myself frowning the entire way all the way to the end.There are two different storylines parallel to each other. The prose is the story of Mary in 1982, while the haunting, interlaced, black and white illustrat...
  • Sean Barrs the Bookdragon
    Perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman's Coraline, this story is haunting, mysterious and touching. Mary is a unique child; she's introverted and very talented, spending most of her time by herself creating her fantasies through making puppets. She is being severely bullied, but her bully has gone further than most. She torments her, haunts her steps and takes every opportunity to make Mary's life a living hell. Too scared to sleep, too uncomfortable to...
  • karen
    an oddly liminal book: somewhere in-between novel and graphic novel, somewhere in-between YA and middle grade, somewhere in-between me liking it and me being indifferent towards it. as a designed physical object, it’s impressive. it’s solid and heavy and fits nicely in the hand, the cover is subtly embossed and the cover image is seductively spooky. all good things. it’s also a breeze of a read, as half of the story is sequential art and th...
  • Hannah Greendale
    Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend. Thornhill blends a wordless graphic novel with a narrative written in prose to convey a story that tackles dark issues but offers no scares whatsoever.
  • April (Aprilius Maximus)
    Creeeeeeeepy. Loved the mix of illustrations and diary entries!
  • Nat
    “We are the voiceless ones.”Parallel stories set in different times, one told in prose and one in pictures, converge as a girl unravels the mystery of the abandoned Thornhill Institute next door.1982: Mary is a lonely orphan at the Thornhill Institute For Children at the very moment that it's shutting its doors. When her few friends are all adopted or re-homed and she’s left to face a volatile bully alone, her revenge will have a lasting ef...
  • Simon
    So while this book isn't really aimed at my age group I still thought Thornhill was pretty blooming brilliant and deliciously spooky. As someone who loves a big old creepy building this tale of two young girls, one in 1982 one in 2017, one in a care home for children the other living in a house that backs on to its now abandoned self, is properly chilling especially with its twist at the end. I really enjoyed it. So will many people of all ages. ...
  • Erin
    Hurt People, Hurt Other People. Thornhill was not scary to me as an adult but it probably would be to the kids in age demographic it was written for. Thornhill is two stories, the first story is about a sad bullied orphan living in badly run orphanage in 1982. The second story takes place in the present is about a lonely young girl who's father is too busy working and being a non entity to take care of his daughter and (I assume)her mother died, ...
  • Figgy
    You guys... I have shivers.This book is beautiful, inside and out, and I don't quite know what to say just yet. But... wow.Maybe not the most unique storyline ever for someone who's been on this planet for thirty years, but it deals with bullying, and loss, and loneliness, and the writing is simple and raw. One story (Mary's) is told completely in words in the form of her diary entries, and the other (Ella's) is told entirely in pictures.Review t...
  • Emm²
    This and other ghostlike reviews on my blog.Thornhill, in which the past and present are webbed together in faded cruelties and a loneliness that runs deep to the heart.A beautiful, but more tragic than terrifying sort of ghost story where atmos clings like the mist behind the rain.The past is told in the form of a diary, the present in the form of images - a girl, Ella, moves into a house in 2017 with a view of the ruins of an orphanage across t...
  • Richard Denney
    5 STARS!!!!That was awesome and spooky as hell! I loved that the book was half pictures/graphic novel and half diary entries, it made it a super quick read and also unputdownable. I didn't want to stop reading because I needed to know what the hell was going on and I loved that. This is a sad story, but it also has this haunted house element that is super creepy and atmospheric. The illustrations were brilliant and reminded me a lot of Brian Selz...
  • Rachel Reads Ravenously
    This was a book I happened to pick up when I saw it was new at the library. I find children's books geared for older readers but still illustrated intrigue me, so I started it right away. And while I liked the majority of the graphics, the actual people didn't look great.This story is told in half and half, a flashback to the 80's in diary form, and the other in illustrations and no words in the present. The present is a girl kind of abandoned by...
  • Jen
    Bad guy wins. Utterly depressing. Don't bother. Stopped at page 332 to skip to the end and it was complete rubbish. I was bullied MERCILESSLY in middle school, so I wanted the bullied Mary to get back at her tormentor. Yeah, SO didn't happen. Then Ella "joined" her. Nice. Real nice. 1, I wish I could go lower to show my utter hatred for the story in this book, stars. If you are a sociopathic bully, you may enjoy this book. I can't imagine anyone ...
  • Lauren
    Well that was SUPER creepy! I loved it!I bought Thornhill after I saw it on one of my favourite booktube channels :) and the person who read it raved about it so I thought I would give it a go...and I was richly rewarded with an intriguing, atmospheric and very haunting read. The story is divided into diary extracts and stunning illustrations which I really enjoyed and thought worked wonderfully in this graphic novel medium. We follow a girl call...
  • ♥ Sandi ❣
    Enjoyable graphic - all done in pen and ink. Tells two stories at once. One in pictures alone and one in words. Both stories are about young girls and loneliness. One about bullying and one about catching the past. It amazes me what an author can do with a graphic novel - especially one of few words. So much can be said in pictures - a whole story, a whole lifetime. Although over 500 pages this enchanting novel can be read in about an hours time....
  • Trevor
    Told in both a wordless graphic novel & prose, THORNHILL is a story I couldn't wait to be done with. Combining the past (1982) with the present, THORNHILL revolves around Mary, a quiet girl living at the orphanage waiting to be adopted. Unfortunately, having selective mutism along with her hobby of puppet-making, makes her misunderstood, leading her to be one of the last girls at the home. Besides Mary, there's "her"- a nasty bully who brings so ...
  • Ivonne Rovira
    It would be entirely too easy to say too much about Thornhill, the first novel Pan Smy has both written and illustrated. But this is a novel best approached cold, as I did.Mary Baines, a 13-year-old girl so traumatized that she has virtually stopped speaking, at Thornhill Institute for Children, a gothic pile that is slated to be closed. The orphans have been gradually placed, but trembling, mute Mary has found no foster home — nor has the beau...
  • Blair
    This book is intended for readers much younger than me, but ghost story graphic novels are in such short supply, I couldn't resist it regardless.The scene-setting part of the story, set in 1982, is told through the diary entries of a young girl in a care home, Thornhill. Mary is mute, and she prefers to spend most of her time alone in her room, making and playing with her beloved dolls. Her oddness makes her a target for bullies, and one girl in ...
  • Luu
    Fakt zaujímavá jednohubka, ktorú prečítate za menej ako hodinu. Príbeh sa odohráva v dvoch líniách: v roku 1982 si sirota Mary píše denník, ako ju v sirotinci šikanujú. V roku 2016 sa do budovy vedľa bývalého sirotinca prisťahuje Ella, ktorej otec je večne v práci a ona sa cíti osamelá. To na tom nie je to zaujímavé - zaujímavé na tom je, že Ellina línia je celá v obrázkoch:Práve tie obrázky robia dosť klasicky pr...
  • Erik Fazekas
    Asi by mali v kníhkupectvách založiť novú sekciu: “detské knihy pre dospelých” akože oficiálne. Toto jedna z nich. A je mega!
  • Mathew
    Pam Smy is very good at world building. As a Senior Lecturer in Illustration at the Cambridge School of Art at Anglia Ruskin University, exploring that balance between character and place is something I expect she understands incredibly well. So when I state that Thornhill is a masterclass in narrative drawing, I feel I’m standing on solid ground. Mary and Ella, two young girls who live a stone’s throw away from each other yet thirty-five yea...
  • Lauren Green
    Easily just become one of my favourites!I got about a quarter of the way through this book and then I just couldn't put it down. This graphic novel, with the use of pictures and diary entries in the book, allowed two parallel stories, from different time periods to be told alongside one another until their journies finally crossed.This story is about a lonely orphan girl named Mary and all she wants is a friend, however, it's not an easy task for...
  • Konstantin
    4.5 zvezdice
  • Kate
    I feel like this book was written for child-Kate. Orphans, creepiness, gothic boarding school/institute/asylum vibe, secret garden, sad lonely children. It's hitting so many sweet spots. Plus the illustrations! Fantastic. But I'm not sure who I'll give this's kind of intense. I'll be keeping my eyes open for a little weirdo who likes to pretend they've been abandoned and scratches the days off on a brick wall like a prisoner.
  • Sheila
    4 creeped-out stars.I'm tagging this as a graphic novel, but that's not quite right--it's a story written as a diary, with added illustrations (the illustrations are important to the plot, though). It's dark and gothic, exploring bullying, loneliness, and anger. The illustrations are a delight and really add to the melancholy of the story. This is a quick, sad read, and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys dark tales.
  • Tom Garrett
    Truth be told I have had this book sat on my bedside table for what must have been a month and I promise that isn’t just due to laziness; I’ve wanted to find the perfect time to read it in as big a chunk as possible. This perfect time finally came as I found myself home alone in bed with most the lights turned off. Now, I was warned by a friend that Thornhill was a freaky, chilling story that wasn’t for the faint of heart but I had down-pla...
  • Barbara
    This beautifully illustrated haunting novels intersperses pages of illustrations with pages of text. An abandoned children's home, a lonely girl, and a secret garden. All the elements for a gothic tales that is set in 1982 and the present time. Themes of bullying and loneliness as well as children society forgets and abandon are themes that make this more suited for teens.The format is in the form of a hefty hardcover book with a raised design on...
  • Lata
    3.5 stars. Well, that was depressing. The story takes place both in 1982 and in 2017. The 1982 sections are all diary entries of Mary Baines, an orphan, who is utterly miserable in the Thornhill with several other girls. She's bullied mercilessly by one of the girls, and only one adult notices at all. The 2017 sections are entirely wordless illustrations, and show Ella discovering and exploring Thornhill. Ella's left to her own devices most of th...