Friday, June 14, 2013

Review: The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington

The Dead and Buried
by Kim Harrington
Published: January 1, 2013
Publisher: Scholastic Point
Available: Amazon

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?


The Dead and Buried is a well written, well paced ghost story. There is no gore, but the spooks are definitely there. I've always been a bit freaked out about the idea of ghost and seances, and you will never convince me to try a Ouija board. Not that I believe in that. 

Harrington does a good job of developing Jade into a 3-dimensional character. While I thought she was a bit of a brat at first, she managed to redeem herself and I realized that when I was a teen, I would have acted in a similar way. She's a bit shallow, but at the same time refuses to back down in the face of peer pressure and befriends the school oddball. Harrington doesn't get preachy with the anti-bully undertone and that's what made me like this book even more. She gets her point across and does it without seeming like it was forced or driven by an agenda. This was the same with the issues of blended families. Jade obviously has some pent up emotions form her mother's death and her father's remarriage that she needs to deal with. At first it all seemed one sided, and that is where I felt Jade's brattiness took over. Then bits and pieces of her stepmother fell into place and it was easy to see that some of the issues were hers.

Secondary characters are written just as well and each hint at the deth of their lives beyond the pages that they appear on. While it's hard to see any of them as a killer, it is also hard not to question their guilt. None of them are truly innocent of the things that Kayla (ghost girl) was doing, and each had their own motives for wanting her gone. I thought that the morbid curiosity of the other students was spot on. It's like a giant group of rubber neckers who have nowhere else to go. They all want to be friends with Jade simply for the fact that she lives in the dead girl's house.

There were few surprises in The Dead and Buried, but that did little to curb my enjoyment. This is a ghost story that works well and isn't trying to be something it isn't. If they made this into a movie it would be exactly the kind I would want to see.

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