Thursday, December 27, 2012
Just Finished Reading ... The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington
by Kim Harrington
To be published by Scholastic Point
on January 1, 2013
Source: ARC swap with another blogger
My summary: Jade just moved from a small town to a fancy surburban neighborhood with her father, stepmother and younger brother. But when she walks into her new school, all she gets are stares and whispers. Donovan, the cute-yet-broody guy who is supposed to be her student tour guide, suddenly bolts. Jade learns that she's living in the murder house, the place where popular girl Kayla Sloane mysteriously died, and that Donovan is Jade's (presumably) grieving boyfriend. Things get even weirder when Jade's little brother tells her that he's seen the ghost of a girl in his room. Jade makes a deal with Kayla's ghost -- if she can solve Kayla's murder, Kayla will leave Jade's family in peace. But Donovan, the guy Jade's crushing on, is the prime suspect in Kayla's murder.
My take: There have been so many great, edgy YA ghost stories lately -- books like the Anna Dressed in Blood series by Kendare Blake, Velveteen by Daniel Marks, Break my Heart 1000 Times by Daniel Waters. If you love ghost stories as much as I do, you can check out my reviews of those books by clicking the links.
I've read and enjoyed Kim Harrington's Clarity series about a psychic teen sleuth, so I was excited to read The Dead and Buried. (This book is not part of the Clarity series, and I think it's a standalone.) Like Clarity, The Dead and the Buried definitely falls on the tamer side of YA ghost stories, a book that could be enjoyed by readers who are middle school age on up. (If you're looking for more great tween ghost books, you should also check out the fantastic Gilda Joyce Psychic Investigator series by Jennifer Allison.)
As you may know, I'm also a huge fan of Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier, so I was excited that The Dead and Buried also gives a nod to this classic tale of romantic suspense. Kayla, like Rebecca, was beautiful and manipulative. Jade, like the heroine of Rebecca, is living in Kayla's house. The Dead and Buried isn't a strict retelling, like New Girl by Paige Harbison, but the similarities are there and the book emphasizes them by also having Jade's class read Rebecca in school.
Jade's jewelry designer mother died when she was nine, and Jade is thus obsessed with gemstones and their properties. She's also a really nice character -- good to her much younger half-brother, kind to Alexa, the nerdy school overachiever, even so "let's all be friends" that she finds herself in a sort-of love triangle with two guys: Donovan, the broody ex-boyfriend of the dead Kayla, and Kane, a hunky jock who's trying to win a competitive scholarship. Though there are a number of suspects in Kayla's murder, I did not guess the person responsible, and was hoping for a killer more in the mwah-ha-ha vein. But The Dead and Buried did have a couple of good spooky moments that included a Ouija board scene and a creepy ghost-possession scene.
All in all, I found The Dead and Buried a fun and entertaining read. I would have absolutely loved it as a young teen -- it reminded me a lot of those fantastic Lois Duncan books that I used to read and re-read when I was younger. I think The Dead and Buried will appeal to fans of Rebecca and to readers who like their ghost stories mildly spooky without being truly scary.