Publication Date: 1 May 2010
Genre: Middle Grade/ YA/ Historical Mystery/ Supernatural
A ghost will find his way home.
Jennie Lovell's life is the very picture of love and loss. First she is orphaned and forced to live at the mercy of her stingy, indifferent relatives. Then her fiancé falls on the battlefield, leaving her heartbroken and alone. Jennie struggles to pick up the pieces of her shattered life, but is haunted by a mysterious figure that refuses to let her bury the past.
When Jennie forms an unlikely alliance with a spirit photographer, she begins to uncover secrets about the man she thought she loved. With her sanity on edge and her life in the balance, can Jennie expose the chilling truth before someone-or something-stops her?
Against the brutal, vivid backdrop of the American Civil War, Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown have created a spellbinding mystery where the living cannot always be trusted and death is not always the end.
Honestly, I did not expect to like Picture the Dead as much as I did. This, for me, was one of those books that sits on your shelf for years and you just keep telling yourself that you will get to it someday. In my normal reading style, I probably would never have ended up reading it, but recently I have been in a major reading slump and have had to rethink the way I choose what to read. To try and break myself out of said slump, I have been reading books with little commitment on my part. Ie. books that are standalone or duologies, books that are short, and books that seem like easier reads. Because if this I decided to give Picture the Dead a try, and I am very glad I did.
One of the most unusual parts of the book were the illustrations that accompany the text. They are presented in the format of the protagonist's scrapbook. I have seen mixed reviews of the illustration style (examples given below), but I personally enjoyed it; they were unique and quirky though I will admit they do not really fit the time frame the book was set in. For me, the illustrations not only helped to break up the book but added some suspense. I was often excited to see what the illustration for each chapter and how it would tie into the story. The only real drawback I found to the illustrations was that some of the handwriting in the letters were hard to read, but that being said it is not completely necessary to read the letters to understand what is going on in the book they are more companion pieces.
The book itself is written in a style that both younger and older readers can enjoy. Because of this, I think that this book would be a good introduction to reading for younger individuals. I can see younger readers really enjoying this story not only for the plot but for the quirky illustrations that accompany the book. In total, the presentation of this book was very unique and intriguing and could be suitable for a wide variety of individuals.