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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Review: The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington

A haunted house, a buried mystery, and a very angry ghost make this one unforgettable thriller.

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?

Kim Harrington's The Dead and Buried, like her previous novels, is a quick, satisfying read that thoroughly engages the reader and leaves them wanting more. Even though I should know better by now, I'm always surprised by how quickly I become invested in Harrington's characters and how sad I am to see their stories end, even when the mystery is solved and the novel is neatly wrapped up.

This newest offering from Harrington features Jade, the new girl in town who has, unknowingly, moved into the house of the girl who was once the queen bee at her new high school... before she died a mysterious death at the top of Jade's stairs. Soon, odd things are happening in the house and Jade's little brother tells her he keeps seeing a girl in his room. Just as in real life, queen be Kayla Sloan isn't so nice. She threatens Jade that she'll hurt her little brother if Jade doesn't figure out who killed her.

I loved that there were some really creepy scenes in The Dead and Buried. There are a couple times that Kayla possesses Jade's little brother and, I won't lie, I wasn't entirely upset that I had been reading during the day rather than on a dark and stormy night. This definitely isn't a horror novel, but I really appreciated that Harrington tried to make the scariness of Jade's situation come through for the reader. I have to say, Jade stayed a lot calmer than I would have if my little brother was creeping around with the spirit of the local mean girl controlling his body. 

The mystery elements of this novel were fun as well. It's entirely possible for the reader to figure out who the murderer is before Jade does if they pay attention to the detail. I much prefer this type of mystery to those in which the narrator or main character controls all the information. I was more invested than I would have been if all the clues were lined up perfectly by Jade.

One of my favorite aspects of Harrington's novels is her romantic plot lines. They are all just so darn sweet. Though, I have to say, there was a little bit of an edge to the romance in The Dead and Buried, since Jade's love interest had a rather complicated past with the dead queen bee... a past that made him potentially dangerous.

Lastly, I really, really liked Jade. She was a very level-headed character, which was nice. I think I would have been annoyed by a super emotional main character in this particular novel. Jade did what she had to, didn't lose her head over her love interest, was devoted to her family (even when they weren't always so supportive), and saved the day. Loved her!

I highly recommend The Dead and the Buried. It's fast-paced mystery with great characters, a dash of creepiness, and lots of fun.

Scholastic, January 2013, Hardcover, ISBN: 9780545333023, 295 pgs.


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