Picture The Dead
By Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Paranormal
Loved it! So you may start seeing me review books with illustrations, being an illustrator by career myself. This book is told in a combo of text, pictures, and letters. Here are some of the lovely illustrations that I took some jank pictures of with my phone:
The illustrations are interspersed before every chapter, meant to represent the main character's scrapbook. There are many chapters, and therefore a lot of illustrations!
The genre I believe is young adult, though the text is a little big as it's more novella length. The story tells of 16 year old Jennie who's fiance Will, also her half-first cousin, has just died in the Civil war (Union side) along with her twin brother. Will's brother Quinn comes home wounded with the news. But something's not right. And as she grows closer to Quinn, Will's ghost begins to get angry...
Won't spoil the ending but I loved it! To me, it was a mix of The Others (the Nicole Kidman move), A Little Princess, and Harriet the Spy (all stories I love). This story felt fresh and I was totally captivated the whole time. I loved how the protagonist was smart. Most YA about females often make them flustered and confused, but Jennie always knew what to do and where to go and acted intelligently. I really appreciate that.
I also really loved Quinn! Great character, dark and brooding and loved the eyepatch <3
The writing style was lovely. She painted a picture of the late 1800s so well, and Jennie, as it's first person POV, used appropriate 19th century words and similes. The scenes were vivid and cinematic and I was even creeped out sometimes imagining these hauntings, when she feels the choking sensations around her neck and the quiet hallways with stuck doors.
A few nitpicks:
1. Calico cats are always genetically female!! *shakes finger*
2. I could have done without the chapter that talks about the photography process in scientific detail, mehhhh (but the chapters are so short it's fine)
3. Some doubling up I noticed, e.g. using the phrase "like a hawk" twice in one chapter, using the word "dubious" at the end of one chapter and then again at the beginning of the next chapter. Just a few occasions, that's all.
But otherwise, totally love love loved it. I randomly picked it up off a shelf at Powell's and I'm so glad I did. I recommend you get it as well! Just know you probably need the physical edition, not an ebook, because of the pictures.
P.S. - There was a character named Wigs in the book. I feel validated in life now.