Monday, May 3, 2010

Review #62: Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin (and info on a Giveaway!)

Title: Picture the Dead
Author: Adele Griffin
Illustrator: Lisa Brown
Publisher: Sourebooks Fire
Genre: Young Adult
Format: Review Copy from Publisher
ISBN: 978-1-402203712-6
Price/Pages: $14.99/app.264
Release Date: May 1, 2010

My Review and Description:

"A Ghost will find his way home"

One of the many haunting lines from Picture the Dead. I am a huge fan of ghost stories and this one fit the bill accordingly.

Set in mid to late 1800s during the Civil War, Picture the Dead is told from the perspective of Jennie Lovell. She is a 16 year old widow of a fallen solider, William Pritchett. She lives in the house of her Aunt and Uncle, also Will's parents. Upon hearing of his death, his brother Quinn arrives home injured and shrunken from war.

A darkness settles over the house as Quinn struggles to find sanity. Jeannie tries to carry on her place in the household under the hateful eye of her Aunt Clara and shifty Uncle Henry. Neither Lady of the House, nor servant, she anticipates being left to the streets.

On a visit to a spiritualist photographer with the whole family, in hopes of seeing their Will one last time, even if only captured in a photograph, Jeannie is struck with a vision and feeling so powerful that she knows at once that is was the spirit of her William.

What continues is Jeannie's quest to figure out why Will is trying to communicate to her from beyond the grave. She finds ultimate betrayal from the ones she has known so dear.

This book was moody and dark, like a rainy day. There was no ounce of sunshine though you never really felt weighed down by it. Though a quick story all in all, I did feel at times it dragged on without much buildup. I was pleased that it picked up towards the end when the truth was revealed.

In between the chapters there are illustrations of characters, letters, advertisements, etc. that are pulled from the story. This touch helped with gaining a clearer picture though some of the letters were hard to read. Because of this the purpose of them seemed unnecessary. Most of the time the info in the letters or illustrations were explained in further detail in the next chapter, so I wasn't at a complete loss. This was my only real issue with the book.

It was still in my mind, a good ghost story.

Rating: 4 stars/ 6 stars
I wish I could give this a higher rating because my hopes for it were truly high! I think it is written quite well, though brief. It seemed like it had great potential to be a real meaty novel but was kept short and sweet with lots of illustrations.
I was a fan of the setting and time period. At the end of the book, the author gives a detailed explanation of spiritualist photography, the Civil War, the prison camps and the Brookline MA setting. Overall, worth reading. Don't let my few negatives dissuade you. I really do think many people will like this overall.

Author Profile:
Adele Griffin graduated from the University of Pennylvannia in 1993 and is the author of numerous young adult novels, including My Almost Epic Summer. Lisa Brown is the author of the Baby Be of Use board books from McSweeney's. She is the wife of author Lemony Snickett.

Thank you to Paul at Sourcebooks Teen Fire for sending me my copy to read and review.

Check out the website below for info on the big Giveaway from Sourcebooks Teen Fire!

Happy Reading and as always, Thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Michelle (Red Headed Book Child) said...

Seriously, Michelle, what's up with the teeny tiny picture of the book? good lord. check out the teen fire website. there's a bigger one there. lol

Tales of Whimsy said...

Great review. I love how you compare it to a rainy day. Great job!

Stacy at The Novel Life said...

this book sounds perfect for a rainy night in georgia! and how cool is that - she's married to Lemony Snickett! Can you imagine their dinner table talk?!?

Priya Parmar said...

wow, sweet valley high--i had forgotten all about that!

i wanted to stop by and give you some awards--awards that i have no idea how to link to! i am sorry! they are at the plum bean project!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Oh yeah... and lol about the tiny book pic... I was so interested in your review I dint notice it until I seen your comment :)

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

This sounds like a good one! Love the new look to your blog too Michelle!

WonderBunny said...

Sounds like an interesting read. I'm not sure if it is a good fit but I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

Awesome review! I've been waiting on this one to come out!

Lisa said...

I was wondering about that picture of the book!

I thought this might be a good read for my reluctant reader but if it drags even a bit, it will lose her interest.

Darlyn said...

Look pretty interesting read =)