Picture the Dead

Picture the Dead

2.2 5
by Adele Griffin
     
 

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A ghost will find his way home.

ADELE GRIFFIN is the critically acclaimed author of numerous young adult novels, including My Almost Epic Summer, The Other Shepards, and National Book Award Finalists Where I Want to Be and Sons of Liberty. She lives in New York City.

LISA BROWN is the

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Overview

A ghost will find his way home.

ADELE GRIFFIN is the critically acclaimed author of numerous young adult novels, including My Almost Epic Summer, The Other Shepards, and National Book Award Finalists Where I Want to Be and Sons of Liberty. She lives in New York City.

LISA BROWN is the bestselling author and illustrator of How to Be and Sometimes and the very popular Baby Be of Use board book series from McSweeney's. She also publishes a bimonthly illustrated book review in the San Francisco Chronicle. She lives in California with her husband, author Lemony Snicket, and their son.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this smartly restrained ghost story, orphan Jennie has already lost her twin brother to the Civil War, but when her brooding cousin, Quinn, returns wounded to their Massachusetts home, she learns that Will--Quinn's brother and Jennie's fiancé--is also dead. Displaced and treated like a servant by her miserly aunt, Jennie succumbs to Quinn's romantic advances, in spite of a ghostly recurring sensation that she is being choked, and her sense that something's amiss with Will's death. Integrated letters, scrawled notes, and Brown's (How to Be) digital portraits (based on daguerreotypes) provide foreshadowing, while contributing to the unease that gnaws at Jennie's stark yet beautiful narration. Through her association with a spirit photographer, Mr. Geist, Jennie presumes that Will is jealous over her engagement to Quinn, but Griffin's (the Vampire Island series) house of mirrors unveils secrets more sinister. Despite the powerful conclusion, it's moments of quiet perception that should most resonate, as when Mr. Geist distinguishes between memory and haunting: "For if memory is the wave that buoys our grief, haunting is the undertow that drags us to its troubled source." Ages 12–up. (May)
Shelf Awareness
"Adele Griffin here combines the supernatural elements she explored in The Other Shepherds and the war themes of Sons of Liberty to chilling and riveting effect... Griffin smoothly weaves together the growing popularity of the Spiritualist movement... with breakthroughs in photography... Lisa Brown's drawings, which evoke the period and also act as faux facsimiles of Jennie's scrapbook, elevate the suspense and contribute to this gripping novel's Daphne Du Maurier-like aura."
- ShelfAwareness

— Jennifer Brown

Booklist
"Evocative black-and-white drawings... Griffin's vivid writing will draw readers into Jennie's first-person narrative of love, doubt, and mystery... The tale goes beyond [Jennie's] particular ghosts and shows how broadly the country was haunted: survivors by the loss of loved ones and soldiers by wretched memories. A Civil War ghost story with gothic overtones."
- Booklist

— Carolyn Phelan

The New York Times
Brown's striking portraits, drawings displayed throughout as though in a photo album, animate this artful Civil War-era novel. Jennie, 16 years old and an orphan, is left without prospects when Will, her fiancé, dies on the battlefield: his mother is her reluctant guardian, and makes it clear she is no longer welcome in the house. With the aid of a spirit photographer, Jennie attempts to get to the bottom of a mystery: How exactly did Will die, and why does she keep having such horrible dreams? The story is engrossing and the period details an added pleasure.
— Julie Just
From the Publisher
"PICTURE THE DEAD is filled with interesting historical detail and excellent illustrations that heighten the suspense, and readers will enjoy traveling through time in this Civil War caper. " - Teen Reads

"Picture the Dead makes an important contribution to Civil War novels and would be an excellent purchase any reader who enjoys a good mystery and ghost story." - Bibliophilic Book Blog

" Punctuated with family photos, handwritten letters, and other mementos from Jennie's scrapbook, Picture the Dead is a classic ghost story for teenage and adult readers alike." - Sacramento Book Review

"But the story and setting were engrossing, and that's all I can ask for as a reader. " - Beth Hull

"This book is those wonderful reads that can actually steal you away from reality and plunk you directly in the passenger seat next to the main character." - Kiss the Book

"Definitely an interesting read—give it a try if you're up for something cool and different!" - Good Books Lately

"The story is filled with twists and turns that kept me constantly guessing and gripping the edge of my seat in anticipation." - Small Review

"Griffin's lauguage is the right amount of beauty and questioning darkness. And 100% lovely. " - Happy Nappy Bookseller

"One thing I really enjoyed about this story was how well the mystery developed. I honestly thought I had the ending figured out, but there was so much more to it than I expected. " - The Ninja Librarian

"It did a great job of capturing the gruesome, unsettling, and extremely creepy, setting of America towards the end of the Civil War. " - Plymouth Library"I couldn't put this book down and I am sure that a student wouldn't be able to either. " - Kiss the Book

Kirkus
"A tale of lost love, family betrayal and visits from the spirit world, also included is an engaging thread involving a spirit medium who employs photography in his fraudulent craft. Each of the short chapters is paired with Brown's darkly inked, realistic drawings that mimic the look of photographs, newspaper articles and letters written in the elaborate cursive style of the era."
VOYA - Rachel Wadham
When her twin, Toby, is killed in battle, Jennie Lovell finds comfort in the whisperings that come from his spirit and in the fact that her fiance, Will, may still return from the ravages of the Civil War. Then Will's younger brother, Quinn, returns seriously wounded, with news of Will's death, and Jennie's hope for a future with Will is lost. Haunted by her grief, Jennie begins to get spectral messages from Will that reveal there is more to the story of his death than Quinn is divulging. Lead by Will and supported by a spiritualist photographer, Jennie uncovers the truth behind Quinn's dangerous web of lies. With unremarkable characters and a simple plot, this book would have little to recommend except for the extraordinary way it combines social and physical history to make the perfect setting. Drawing on the popular Victorian pastime of keeping scrapbooks, each chapter is preceded by reproductions from Jennie's personal book that not only support the text but also reveal intriguing clues to the mystery. Drawing on the spiritualist movement that grew in popularity at this time adds the ambiance of the period and makes this a less overt ghost story. With social history woven into the physical realities of the Civil War, including its effect on the soldiers and the families they left behind, this novel creates a uniquely holistic view of the time period that is often lacking in other works of historical fiction. Reviewer: Rachel Wadham
School Library Journal
Gr 6�10—This highly unusual book is a combination of historical fiction, a ghost story, and a scrapbook. Jennie Lovell's twin brother, Toby, and her fiancé, Will, have been killed in the Civil War, the latter under mysterious circumstances. Will's brother returns home a battered, bitter young man with secrets that Jennie is determined to uncover. She is under the guardianship of her aunt and uncle, Will and Quinn's parents, and they threaten to turn her out. She is mesmerized by a photographer who claims to be able to capture images from the spirit world, and she uses this relationship to explore the signs she believes Will is sending her, warnings that she must decipher carefully. In the end, it isn't clear if the ghost of Jennie's fiancé is real or a figment of her imagination, which makes the story all the more eerie. What is suspect, and frightening, is Quinn's sudden interest in Jennie. The inclusion of family portraits, invitations, newspaper clippings, and letters from her scrapbook make the reading experience rich with texture. Serious readers of historical fiction will be pleased to discover a book with a unique perspective on such a well-represented period of American history as well as a good story with suspense and a determined heroine.—Nora G. Murphy, Los Angeles Academy Middle School
Kirkus Reviews
A brooding mystery set during the Civil War, this gripping ghost story of a young woman trapped by the confines of her gender and social standing is not altogether successful in its format. Blending straightforward first-person narration and illustrations fashioned to look like a scrapbook, much of the novel's impact is drawn from its protagonist Jennie's beautifully crafted plaintive voice. A tale of lost love, family betrayal and visits from the spirit world, also included is an engaging thread involving a spirit medium who employs photography in his fraudulent craft. Each of the short chapters is paired with Brown's darkly inked, realistic drawings that mimic the look of photographs, newspaper articles and letters written in the elaborate cursive style of the era. Alas, the repetition of some of the images is too unsubtle in foreshadowing the story's conclusion. Also, though carefully rendered, the illustrations often interrupt rather than enhance the flow of the work and may seem out of place for older teen readers, who would otherwise be a natural audience for this appealingly gothic work. (Historical fiction. 12 & up)
Julie Just
Brown's striking portraits, drawings displayed throughout as though in a photo album, animate this artful Civil War-era novel…The story is engrossing and the period details an added pleasure.
—The New York Times

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402237126
Publisher:
Sourcebooks, Incorporated
Publication date:
05/01/2010
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.30(d)
Lexile:
800L (what's this?)
Age Range:
11 - 17 Years

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