Thursday, January 03, 2013

Review: The Dead And Buried by Kim Harrington

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The Dead And Buried
Kim Harrington
Publication date: January 1st 2013
by Scholastic Point

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 β€” 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?

*A copy was provided by Scholastic for review purposes*

Hauntings! In real life I would die of terror if I came upon a ghost, so naturally, I love reading about them to psyche myself out. And if you think mean girls are awful in life, wait until you meet one in death! The Dead and Buried follows such a story when Jade and her family move into a murder house–or at least that’s what the rumor is.

Even though the culprit becomes obvious pretty early on (I guessed around p.60), being curious of their motive does leave some of the mystery elements undamaged. What’s also great are the regular diary entries that shows us just exactly who this mean girl was, and how everything all ties together. The mystery wasn’t my favourite part of the book, however, which is fortunate in this case, having figured it out so early. This book was a regular high school dramatics novel mixed in with a ghost story. I don’t always enjoy reading about high school social circles, mean girls, and boy trouble, but in this case I found it worked very well. The creepy ghost appearances that become more sinister as the book moves along balances it out perfectly, leaving us fully entertained. Thus, the story itself–straightening out the rumor-filled details–is more interesting than the end result in this case.

At least, unlike some clichΓ© mean girl novels, The Dead and Buried gives us believable characters that are eccentric in nature. Besides Jade who, herself, has a quirky side and does not fall prey to the lure of popularity, the most peculiar character is Jade’s very first friend at her new school: Alexa, the school valedictorian and all around oddball. I found this girl highly amusing with her strange behaviors and nerdy references. It’s unfortunate that she takes a backseat for the last half of the book, though; she gave it so much charisma. Stereotype does not completely escape the book, however. The cookie-cutter take on a dysfunctional family being one of them. The dead mother, the stepmother who demands Jade calls her mom (then, of course, thinks Jade is making the ghost story up to get attention), the father who takes Stepmom’s side, denting his bond with his daughter, all concluded by an epiphany that makes them realize they simply hadn’t accepted their mixed families as one. This part felt a little stale to me, forced even. To give more profundity to the story, maybe. Though all I felt was emotional detachment. This also affected how I didn’t get to fully feel the danger in this novel, which does involve her brother. I understood the predicament she was in, but my heart wasn’t in it.

There is quite a bit of romance mingling with the drama and chills: two boys who are both pining for Jade. One of which she’s using, the other she truly likes. I didn’t approve of how she lead one of them on, at all, just to solve a mystery–but again, my lack of emotional connection towards her motivation surely didn’t help her case. I did find the relationship she had with Donovan very sweet, though. ClichΓ© broken boy aside, his personality is attractive. Especially his lack of dramatics. There were a few times where I was expecting jealousy or controlling behavior that, to my delight and surprise, never surfaced.

Ghost who taunts and haunts to get closure may not be the most original story out there–but the journey is still engaging. I would recommend it with a warning that it will probably be a lighter read than you’re bound to expect based on the synopsis or tagline.

3 Hot Espressos

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.
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30 Responses to “Review: The Dead And Buried by Kim Harrington”

  1. Mary @ BookSwarm

    This sounds really cute! I liked her other books and, even though the mystery isn’t very mysterious, it’s good that the characters are still interesting and the motives are shrouded.

  2. Nick

    A lot of readers have mentioned that the culprit was easy to guess very early on. I think that would suck the fun out for me. I love figuring out who the criminal is only to be surprised at the end! Still, I’m glad to hear that this was an enjoyable read for your, Giselle.
    It’s interesting that the MC uses 1 of the boys in the love triangle. I’ve read this author’s Clarity and the MC in that was definitely using one of the boys to her advantage.
    The friend seems very interesting. I like that she’s quirky and quite nerdy. It’s really too bad about the cliched dysfunctional family. I’m not a huge fan of cliches, but I don’t this one will bother me much.
    Awesome review as always, Giselle! πŸ™‚

    P.S I cannot stop staring at your blog design! It’s just too pretty! <3

  3. Christina

    Hmmm, this doesn’t really seem like one I need to read. I’m not a huge horror fan to begin with, and I usually hate heroines who lead guys on…so yeah. I suspect it would be a decent read for me, but mysteries just are not my piece of cake.

    Also, I read a mystery this week and guessed the murder on around page 60 of 400-some pages. Le sigh.

  4. Aylee

    Okay well, I’m really bummed that the mystery was so easy to solve in this one because I admit that that was my main interest in reading this. But I guess it does sound like there is a whole lot else going for it – good to hear that the high school drama aspect wasn’t too cliched. I don’t know… I might skip this one, but I still really want to read her other novel, Clarity! Thanks for this really helpful review, Giselle!

  5. Amy

    Great review babe!! My review goes up tomorrow. I wish there had been a bit more creepiness to it, but I did really enjoy this one. I wish I didn’t always figure out the mystery early, but at least it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of this book. I actually just read a book that I was wrong!! *gasp* I was shocked. Though, looking back I should have seen it. The signs were all there. Lol!!!

  6. kimbacaffeinate

    Ooo you new header is pretty. This has been on my wishlist, but with the size of my TBR pile *eyes swaying stacks of books* I do not have time for predictable. I am glad it was a good read, but I want a whole lot of creepiness and some twists! Great review!

  7. Sirtsu

    I’d be as you: running for my life to get as far away as possible from a ghost if I ever were to encounter one. They’re creepy as hell! I love the cover for this book! The synopsis sounds awesome, but since you mentioned, as did many other bloggers, that it’s pretty predictable. I’m not a sucker for these kind of novels πŸ™ I love my mystery Agatha Christie style – not knowing until the very end, but suspecting everyone and everything. I don’t think I’d have a problem with the romance aspect of the story in general, but using people for you own agenda, that’s just mean. I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you that well, but three stars isn’t that bad, right? It’s quite okay. Love your review, though!

    OH AND GISELLE, I’M IN LOVE WITH YOUR BlOG DESIGN!!! I didn’t think it’d be possible to top the previous one, but you’ve outdone yourself again. Lovely piece of work, girl!

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination

  8. Alexa Y.

    Ooh, there’s a character with my name in it in this book! That automatically makes me want to check it out, haha. But all in all, it does sound like a fun book! I think I might check it out after all.

  9. Jenni @ Alluring Reads

    I hadn’t heard anything about this one before you sent me the awesome cover mock up and while it does sound like it has some positive things going for you, I think for me the annoyances would far outweigh what I liked about it. The family dynamic sounds like it would probably grate on my nerves too much. Awesome review!

  10. Mel@Thedailyprophecy.

    Bummer that the mystery is easy solve, but it’s good to hear that there is enough story to keep you entertained. I did expect a more frightening story based on the blurb. I like ghost books, but I would be terrified to see one. While I’m not such a fan of such romances, I think I will give this a shot some day.

  11. Shooting Stars Mag

    Thanks for the review! This one didn’t really stick out too much to me anyway, so I think I’ll pass. Bummer the mysteryr wasn’t a larger focus and it was more of a high school novel than the summary lets on. I hate when that happens.


  12. Aneeqah

    Even though there are some stereotypical aspects to this one, like the whole dysfunctional family thing, I like how there are some non-stereotypical aspects to go along with it. I’m especially interested to read about Jade’s quirky best friend! However, a dull mystery seems kind of boring to me, even though you were interested enough to continue reading. I may just read this one for a quicker, fun read and to see how realistically high school is actually portrayed in the novel. πŸ˜‰

    Lovely review as always Giselle! <3

  13. Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

    This really brought back memories of Anna Dressed in Blood at the very start of your review, it’s too bad that it wasn’t as stellar overall. Still, I do love the sound of the high school drama and the sound of the eccentric characters, even though leading a guy on to use him would probably bug me…a lot… XD Still really tempting!!!! Ahhhh, what to do, what to do…

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful review, Giselle!

  14. Jesse Burgoyne

    For some reason all the mention of dead mean girls and high school drama is making me think of The Ghost and the Goth a little bit. It sounds like this book was aiming to be serious, but came out light. Still sounds good, just different than I had originally thought.

    Jesse @ Pretty In Fiction

  15. Paranormal Book Fan

    I was on two minds whether to request a copy of this one or not. I’m kind of getting a bit fed up with ghost stories. Seeing your review now, I’m glad I didn’t. Thanks for an insightful review as always Giselle

  16. Aman

    I was really looking forward to this book, the whole idea of haunted house really appealed to me. I’m still going to give it a try.

  17. Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue

    Great review, Giselle. I think it’s safe to say that your thoughts on this one line up with mine. It was predictable in some ways, but still enjoyable, more a mystery than it was scary. I was spooked out once or twice, and I enjoyed most of the characters. I wasn’t trying to figure out the mystery, but looking back it would have been easy to solve!

  18. The Teen Book Guru

    Oooh this seems so scary and really cool! BTW Giselle, I never noticed the new blog design! OMGOMGOMGOMG Did you design it? It’s gorgeous! πŸ˜€ Anyway, back to the review. I agree, hauntings are just plain scary, but that’s what makes them so fascinating to read about. Wow you guessed who the culprit was 60 pages in?! 0.O That’s crazy, Giselle! You should like, be in Ghostbusters or something! πŸ˜› Great review, G! πŸ™‚

  19. Megan K.

    I saw this on Goodreads, and while it interested me quite a bit, it never really was high on my priority list. Glad you enjoyed this overall, though! True, true, we love the things we had in real life. πŸ˜› Hauntings are creepy, scary, but awesome when done right, so I’m kind of sad to hear that this was not as dark as I would’ve expected it to be. Oh well.

    Awesome review as usual, Giselle, and lovin’ the new blog design! πŸ˜€ (I noticed it but TOTALLY forgot to comment about it. :P)

  20. Soma Rostam

    Well, I have read Kim Harrington’s Clarity series. So I am kinda familiar with her writing. She tends to write not-very-light but not-very-serious reads. With believable characters and cute love interests.
    I loved her other series, so I cannot wait to see what she has in store in The Dead and Buried. Although, I have to say that I liked the old cover much more
    LOVED Your review, Giselle
    Wonderful and honest, as always
    Your reader,

  21. Kat Balcombe

    Ah, manipulative characters are just cannon-fodder for me. I like the idea of the mystery, but if it’s that obvious I’d get bored far too easily. I want intensity!

    Great review, you addressed all my questions πŸ™‚

  22. Cindy

    I haven’t read too many ghost stories, which makes me want to pick this one up before I do read some really good ones. That way I won’t be disappointed. I am glad you enjoyed it, overall. Although I hate when I can’t feel any connection with the main character.

    Thanks for the honest review πŸ™‚