Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: February 1st, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Source: Physical copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
A ghost will find his way home.
Jennie Lovell’s life is the very picture of love and loss. First she is orphaned and forced to live at the mercy of her stingy, indifferent relatives. Then her fiancé falls on the battlefield, leaving her heartbroken and alone. Jennie struggles to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, but is haunted by a mysterious figure that refuses to let her bury the past.
I cannot rave enough about the writing in Picture the Dead. It was awesome. It was moody, atmospheric, and I really appreciated the tone. It set the scene for a very spooky book. Not scary, just creepy. This was the kind of book you read at night in front of a roaring fire–if you have one. I didn’t, but I wish I did.
I loved the plot as well, even if it was kind of predictable. It was one of those books where I figured out how it was going to end pretty quickly. At about the halfway point, I had it nailed. This has been happening to me a lot lately, so I’m either getting smarter, or I’m just reading the wrong books. I still enjoyed it, but I was looking for something more. I like to be surprised. I finished reading because I wanted to see how the author arrived at the solution I knew was coming, and it happened pretty much the way I thought it would.
As for the illustrations, they were great except for the letters and small fonts which I could not read. I do not wear glasses. I don’t need to. And I still couldn’t read them. Were we not supposed to be able to? Very strange. The drawings were pretty cool though. Definitely not something you see in most books.
I found the characters a bit flat. I liked them, but I didn’t love them. I found myself wanting to care more than I did. This was a fairly short book, and that may have had something to do with it. I didn’t have enough time to get to know the characters. It’s an issue I have with some middle-grade books since sometimes they are on the shorter side. This was not a middle-grade novel, but sometimes I felt like it was.
I did love the setting though. The Pritchett house was creepy, and the aunt herself really kind of frightened me. She was a bit of a monster. The spirit photographer, Geist, was also a bit on the macabre side. But I really liked him. I wish he had been in the book more. I feel like I never really got to know him enough.
I liked Picture the Dead enough to recommend it, and if you like good ghost stories that are spooky but not scary, I think you should give it a shot. It’s a book you can read in a few hours, so it’s a great one if you would like to spend an evening reading.
“I wasn’t forced to love Will.” A nervous laugh catches and dies in my throat.
“No. Not overtly.” Quinn looks uncomfortable. “Ah, I’m being an ass. When all I wanted to comment on was your sweetness, Jennie. You give so freely of your time and good humor. I wondered if Will and I ever realized how much we depended on it.”
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