Book Review : Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin (Author) & Lisa Brown (Illustrator)

Picture the Dead
Picture the Dead by
Published February 1st 2012 by Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Paperback, 272 pages
Available on Amazon | The Book Depository | Sourcebooks
Jennie feels the tingling presence of something unnatural in the house now that Will is dead.

Her heart aches without him, and she still doesn't know how he really died. It seems that everywhere she turns, someone is hiding yet another clue. As Jennie seeks the truth, she finds herself drawn ever deeper into a series of tricks and lies, secrets and betrayals, and begins to wonder if she had every really known Will at all.

Picture The Dead is a charming gothic ghost story which incorporates elements of suspense, mystery and paranormal. Each chapter is ended with detailed illustrations which reflects the bits and pieces of Jennie's scrapbook. The overall design of the book is very eye-catching and special. However, I don't feel particularly spooked or frightened by the story.

Jennie is a likeable heroine. She has just lost her beloved Will in a battlefield, and her heart aches for him, but be that as it may, she is still a normal girl who craves for love and attention. So when Quinn (Will's brother) expresses his love for her, her heart starts to flutter. She considers of letting go of Will and try focusing her life in a new direction.

However, when strange things begin to happen in the Pritchett household, Jennie fears that Will's spirit is angry and unforgiving. But then, she also discovers various clues in different forms, which arouses her suspicion about things that happen around her.

The author's command of language is rather impressive. Her writing style is distinctive and descriptive, her words significant yet easy to understand, gives the reader a better perceptive of what is happening at an exact moment. The historical background of the story is quite refreshing - it is set during the period of the Civil War in America, when spiritualism is starting to take hold of the society.

I liked how the story turned out in the end. It was really unforeseen that I would heartily applaud the author's way of turning the direction of the novel. Clues are thrown in bit by bit, but I never thought of the possibilities that there is a secret behind Will's death.

Picture The Dead is a quick, enjoyable read, but it is not as creepy and haunting as I'd expected. I'd say this book is more suitable for middle graders, but if you're a teen or adult who likes ghost stories, then by all means pick it up. ;)

Adele Griffin

ADELE GRIFFIN has written a number of novels for middle grade and young adult readers, including the Witch Twins and Vampire Island series, as well as the novels Sons of Liberty and Where I Want to Be, both National Book Award Finalists. She lives with her husband and daughter in Brooklyn, New York.

Visit the Official Website for Picture The Dead for more details.

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