Book Review: Picture the Dead

Title/Author:  Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown

Genre:  Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Published:  May 1st, 2010 by Sourcebooks Fire

Hardcover, 262 pages

How I Got This Book:  Checked it out from the library

Why I Picked It Up?:  Adele Griffin was unknown to me before I saw the YALLfest author list, but when I checked her out her works sounded really intriguing! So I made sure to read at least one of her novels in prep for YALLFest!

Book Jacket Blurb:  “A ghost will find his way home. But I am not a ghost. And this house is not my home.

After losing her parents and her brother, falling in love with Will was Jennie Lovell’s last opportunity for happiness.  But then she lost him too…

As Jennie tries to mend the pieces of her broken life, she feels an eerie presence from something otherworldly…something that won’t let her leave the past behind.

Acclaimed author Adele Griffin and bestselling illustrator Lisa Brown have created a spellbinding mystery where the living cannot always be trusted, and death is not always the end.”

My Review of this Work:

I like the fact that my YALLFest author adventures has allowed me to discover some new YA authors.  Adele Griffin is an author I had not heard of before the author list came out, but when I started looking up works by these authors, I decided that I really wanted to read something by Ms. Griffin.  So when I saw Picture the Dead sitting on the shelf at my library and saw the eerie-looking cover, I knew this was the one I was going to start with!

Picture the Dead is set during the Civil War.  Our narrator, Jennie, has lost her entire family and is now living with her Aunt and Uncle in the city awaiting the return of her fiance, Will.  When her cousin, Quinn, returns injured and without Will, Jennie realizes that her life will never be the same again.  When Jennie realizes that maybe Will isn’t completely gone, she embarks on a haunting search for the truth of Will’s death.

What really makes this novel unique was the incorporation of Jennie’s scrapbook, which was her most treasured possession.  Rather than just talking about it, at the end of every chapter we got to see a couple of her pages with letters, photos, and other important clues and mementos that she had collected over the years.  Having this visual really allowed me to connect with Jennie and the mystery she is trying to piece together.  This is literally an instance of “Showing, not telling” in a novel, and it really worked well for this story.

I really like Jennie as a character.  She is a young woman who shows her vulnerability but also shows true strength.  After losing everyone she cares about, she is broken but not defeated.  She doesn’t give up, but instead she tries to find the truths to some fishy circumstances.  She is what makes this story so likeable for me.

This is not a mind-blowing read, but it is a solid read, especially if you are looking for something short, Halloweeny, and ghostly by an author that you may not know.  Adele Griffin is a good story teller, and I will definitely be looking in to some of her other works.  Picture the Dead is an interesting story with integrated visuals that made this a solid, likeable read for me.

My Bookshelf Rating:

A Middle Shelf Book!

This was an unexpected read for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It wasn’t anything that mind-blowing, but still the story was original.  Adele Griffin incorporates a scrapbook of pictures and notes and memories that we can actually see.  It really puts you in Jennie’s world, and as a reader you are walking with her through her mysterious, paranormal encounters.  Picture the Dead is a great read for the Halloween spirit.  A short, enjoyable read.

Love and Honey Nut Cheerios,


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