Jade and her family just moved into a large house near a big city. This had been Jade’s dream for a long time, but she was always told it would be much too expensive. She decides not ask why it’s suddenly possible and is so excited even though she’s moving to a new school for her senior year. She looks forward to a fresh start, but the reality is less than she expected. The other students frequently look at her and whisper to each other or suddenly stop talking when she walks into a room. Jade figures it’s because she’s new and chooses to ignore it. She also meets a boy with striking pale blue eyes named Donovan and makes friends with an intense yet accepting overachiever named Alexa. Then weird occurrences happen in her house: her stuff is moved by something unseen, chills and weird sounds come out of nowhere, and her brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade finally accepts that her house is haunted and that she needs to find out who and why is haunting them before the ghost harms her family.
The Dead and Buried is a delightful old fashioned ghost story with a modern twist. This horror trope has been seen countless times. An unsuspecting family movies into a haunted house and gets terrorized by the ghost. The fairly typical haunted house contains possessions, eerie happenings, poltergeist-like events, and drastic temperature changes. All of these occurrences create just the right threatening atmosphere. The modern twist comes in with the ghost. One might expect a dead person in need of help to solve their issues in the living world, but we get a homicidal mean girl named Kayla who will do anything to get her way. We learn more about her and her back story over the course of the book as her diary entries (using numbers instead of people’s names) are interspersed between the chapters, allowing us to slowly put the pieces of the mystery together. Although her mean girl status is cemented from page one, I was a little surprised that she would go so far as to threaten the life of Jade’s adorable little brother Colby to get what she wants. This aspect gave an urgency to solve the mystery and an aura of fear to Jade as she frantically worked to get Kayla to leave her family alone.
Kim Harrington’s writing is awesome as usual and she creates some engaging and realistic characters that I grew to love (or hate) over the course of the book. Jade proved to be very relatable and fun. She misses her mother who died years ago and feels uncomfortable and an outsider in her own family. Her love and knowledge of gemstones is a nice touch and also turns out to be a connection to her mother. Jade is a fun heroine to follow and actually makes informed decisions. Donovan is interesting and not the typical bad boy love interest. He has his typical dark attitude, but it makes more sense because his girlfriend died under mysterious circumstances and everyone very publicly blamed him for it. I found his independence and vulnerability refreshing. I wish I could see more love interests like him in YA fiction.
The Dead and Buried is a well written light horror read with likable characters and plenty of twists and turns. Teen mysteries are usually extremely transparent and predictable, but the revelations at the end of the novel left me speechless! Kim Harrington certainly knows how to craft a dark, unpredictable mystery. I would highly recommend it to fans of her other work and ghost stories.
Elizabeth is a student at Cal State Long Beach. She laughs a lot, loves cats, and lives for music and books. You can read her blog here: http://titania86-fishmuffins.blogspot.com/
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Point Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.