The Dead and Buried
Kim Harrington gives readers a truly creepy ghost story that will appeal to fans of Lois Duncan and Mary Downing Hahn.
When I was in junior high, I was addicted to the novels of Lois Duncan, Mary Downing Hahn and other masters of the paranormal and downright spooky. I loved the blending of conventional high school romance and family themes with (even) darker and more sinister overtones. Kim Harrington, whose earlier novels include CLARITY and PERCEPTION, now gives readers her creepiest novel yet, a ghost story more than a little reminiscent of Lois Duncan and Co...and just as liable to give readers nightmares as those novels I read decades ago.
"Even though the ghost story is obviously fantastical, there are enough realistic elements to make the story feel grounded and true-to-life --- and the supernatural elements that much scarier as a result. Harrington gradually amps up the suspense to a level that will keep readers checking over their shoulder as they enjoy the deliciously creepy ride."
For as long as she can remember, Jade has longed to move from her tiny, rundown Western Massachusetts town (with its even tinier and dingier school) to a Boston suburb, the kind of place she used to see in "teen movies where everyone lived in big, nice houses and threw amazing parties and prom was this Event held somewhere fancy like a hotel." And, just as she's about to start her senior year, Jade gets her wish when her dad and stepmom move Jade and her five-year-old
stepbrother Colby to Boston's most exclusive suburb.
Jade's nervous to start her senior year at a new school, even if it is just like the ones in the movies; the weird vibe at home has her on edge, too. Colby mentions seeing a "pretend girl" who "glimmers" in his room, and soon Jade also notices some of her own belongings mysteriously moved around in her room. What's more, the kids at school point and whisper when they learn what house Jade and her family have moved into --- it turns out that it belonged to former high school Queen Bee Kayla Sloane, who died under suspicious circumstances not that long ago. Several of the people at school --- possibly including the boy she's into --- seem to know more than they're letting on about what
happened to Kayla. Why did she die? And why won't she leave Jade and her family alone? Jade must try to figure out the answers to these questions or risk losing everything she's gained.
Just like Lois Duncan before her, Kim Harrington excels at balancing the supernatural elements of THE DEAD AND BURIED with more "typical" high school concerns such as popularity, achievement, and family dynamics. Even though the ghost story is obviously fantastical, there are enough realistic elements to make the story feel grounded and true-to-life --- and the supernatural elements that much scarier as a result. Harrington gradually amps up the suspense to a level that will keep readers checking over their shoulder as they enjoy the deliciously creepy ride.
Reviewed by Norah Piehl on January 30, 2013