THE DEAD AND BURIED
Paranormal Young Adult
Available January 1st
Received from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
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 quick and entertaining read, one that’s just creepy enough to encourage daytime reading for those of us who are easily unnerved and just romantic enough to have a few breathy sighs escaping our lips as we flip the pages. While the murder mystery aspect is fairly easy to solve once we look past the abundance of very obvious and very motivated choices, ultimately the discovery of the culprit is not really the sole point of the story. Yes, we want to know who is responsible for Kayla’s death, but more interesting than a simple identity reveal is both Kayla’s presence in Jade’s new house as well as her absence in her circle of friends, a telling contrast that slowly rips the mask of perfection off a young woman to reveal the true face beneath.
Jade is a delightful depiction of normalcy; intelligent, compassionate, and honest but, within those desirable attributes, are shades of gray that make her feel utterly and appealing real. She’s clearly smart, however she’s susceptible to a touch of ego, often convincing herself that she's doing the right thing and has absolutely no other choice but to follow the path she’s on when, if she just took a few moments to look past herself and put a little trust in someone else, she would clearly see a fork in her road. Though we sometimes want to shake our heads at her, she’s often quick to remedy the minor mistakes she makes, allowing us to easily forgive them knowing how easy it is to get caught up in a moment and then think better of a decision after the fact.
The romance is sweet, present enough to satisfy our desire for a little warmth to battle the bitter cold of Kayla’s spectral presence and the truth of her cruelty without overwhelming the other aspects of the story. There are two boys vying for Jade’s affection, however, Jade’s clear preference for one and her utter lack of romantic interest in the other prevents the Jade, Kane, and Donovan dynamic from wedging itself into a tidy triangle shape. Donovan is the clear choice from almost the beginning, and despite a bit of inadvertent game playing with Kane that’s a touch bothersome as Jade tries to integrate herself into Kayla’s circle of friends in order to do a bit of amateur sleuthing, the time spent with Jade leaves a lingering smile on our faces.
Ms. Harrington never fails to entertain with her stories, and The Dead and Buried is yet another strong addition to her resume. Her characters are likable and easy to relate to, radiating a sense of ordinariness despite the extraordinary situations they often find themselves in, and we can’t help but look forward to whatever she’ll write next knowing a new set of fun characters and an engrossing story will surely be waiting for us.