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Review: The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington

Monday, March 11, 2013
3 Stars: A Good Read
Hardback: 304 Pages
Publication: January 1, 2013 by Scholastic Point

Jade loves the house she's just moved into with her family. She doesn't even mind being the new girl at the high school: It's a fresh start, and there's that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. . . . But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade's little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade's jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn't.

Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house is haunted. Haunted by a ghost who's seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade's school — until her untimely death last year. It's up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets. But is one of them a murderer?

There's something about creepy stories with supernatural elements that draws me to them. While I'd be terrified to the point of heart failure if I really met a ghost, I like reading about them and thinking about how the characters handle their dealings with the supernatural and whether or not what they did was for the best.

I'm not overly fond of high school dramas, and this book has the clichéd mean girls circle. I picked this up, however, because I was intrigued by how the ghost factor would play in this setting. In a high school where the popular pick on the social outcasts and play off one another, there are many with the motive to take out the mean girl who has it all. If you really think about it, it is easy to figure out who the culprit is in the end; however, it's the getting there that's the fun part, and I enjoyed unraveling the mystery behind the crime through entries from Kayla's diary and Jade's investigation.

I love the eccentric cast of characters. While the characters are pretty stereotypical, they have their individual appeal that make them real and likable for all their faults. Faye is Kayla's closest friend and continues to keep strong faith in Kayla after Kayla's death. Kane is that popular jock who also has a strong emotions (and takes AP classes). His sister Ellie is quiet and deeply cares for her brother. Donovan is the brooding artist who once dated the most popular girl in the school; there are some sweet moments between him and Jade. Most eccentric of all are Mr. Tucker and Alexa, the former being the creepy old man across the street and the latter being the smartest girl in school with a love for numbers. Alexa is a delight with her stoicism, and I wish that we got to see more of her, especially since she's the one that Jade initially confides in. It seems as though she disappears when Jade becomes closer to Donovan.

One could say that if there are going to be stereotypes, go for it all the way. Even Jade's family can't escape, being a dysfunctional family with a stepmom who refuses to listen to Jade, always assuming the worst of her, and her blood-related dad taking the stepmom's side. Jade's narrative is also littered with clichéd phrases and does more telling than showing us the scenes and her thoughts, which lends to the feeling of narrative distance, making it hard to relate to her on an emotinoal level. For example, although I know that Jade is terrified of Kayla, I didn't feel scared along with her. At first, the abundance of stereotypes seems overdone, and I feel though I never got to really know the characters. Nevertheless, everything comes together in the end and, while there are some rough patches where things wrap up too nicely or something could have been elaborated on a little more, the conclusion is solid and gives a feeling of completion.

In a way, this book reminds me of New Girl by Paige Harrison with the new girl being compared to the old girl and finding herself caught between two guys who'd also been interested in the old girl. The classic novel Rebecca also plays a role in both books. However, whereas New Girl definitely targeted upper YA readers, this book feels as though it is meant for tween readers, both for reading level and content. (New Girl had sexual scenes and went more into the party life while this one keeps it clean.) I recommend this for younger readers and for those looking for a lighter supernatural read.

A copy was provided by the publisher for review purposes

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6 comments on "Review: The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington"
  1. I knew but had forgotten that New Girl had a Rebecca homage-as that is a beloved read of mine, I should really check out New Girl.

    I did really appreciate the cleanness of this novel although I forgot to mention that in my review. Honestly my high school life was pretty squeaky clean and that's what I tend to prefer to read about.

    1. Same here. I had a clean high school life. It's good when authors aren't afraid to get real and gritty, but reality isn't always gritty. I always love to find a good clean read.

  2. Well, I have New Girl on my shelf but I have not read it yet
    Although it looks delightful.
    GREAT review!
    Your reader,

  3. Thanks for sharing about this. I may pick it up because I've really enjoyed Kim's other series.

  4. I enjoyed this one too. And I will have to check out New Girl. Great review. :D

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

    1. Thanks, Jenea. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed this book. I also love New Girl and hope that you love it as much as I do! :)


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