Picture The Dead by Adele Griffin
Illustrations by Lisa Brown
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (May 1, 2010)
First I'd like to send a HUGE THANK YOU to Paul over at Source Books for sending this little gem my way!
Here's the blurb from Source Books:
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.
When Jennie forms an unlikely alliance with a spirit photographer, she begins to uncover secrets about the man she thought she loved. With her sanity on edge and her life in the balance, can Jennie expose the chilling truth before someone—or something—stops her?
Against the brutal, vivid backdrop of the American Civil War, Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown have created a spellbinding mystery where the living cannot always be trusted and death is not always the end.
This is one of those rare books that right from the first page you can tell that the writing is something outstanding. First of all I am a sucker for anything set in this time period... SWOON! And even though this is technically a YA novel, I am telling you anyone can read and enjoy it. It is very cleverly written with a ton of mysterious undertones going on. Adele Griffin successfully captures what life was like for a young lady in the 1800's, whose life has been tragically altered by the death of her fiance while at war. The struggle to understand the mysterious photographer and his eerie pictures, and not to mention the things that may or may not go bump in the night. I personally do believe in ghosts and ghostly encounters, having experienced something myself in an old haunted theatre while shooting Jesse James 5 years ago, but even before then I was always very open to the possibility. The whole subject matter had me turning pages frantically as did the mystery to "What is Will trying to tell her?" and "What's the deal with Will's brother?"
The thing I like best about it was that it really kept you guessing right until the very end. It was more of a ghost/mystery story, really, with a bit of a love triangle of sorts thrown in for good measure. FANTASTIC!
Like I said, the writing was fantastic and kudos to Lisa Brown for her extremely cool illustrations, which were actually composed using actual photographs from this time period.
The only slightly negative thing that I will note was that the illustrations at the beginning of most chapters were actually a clue to the what immediately followed, and therefore often times gave away the piece of the puzzle that was to be solved in that chapter. I looked carefully at each illustration, knowing that it was a clue, and then read the chapter only to find that I had already figured it out and therefore there was a bit of a let down. I want to figure out the mystery WITH the character, not before they do, you follow?
ANYway, all in all a delightful read that you could easily finish in a couple of days.
NOW on to your chance to WIN!!!!!! Source books is offering up 25 copies of this book will be given to lucky readers who comment on the Teen Fire website! So click here to read up on how you can get yourself a copy of this awesome read!