Sunday, May 22, 2011

Book Review: The Other Side of Dark by Sarah Smith

A book I'd would not have normally read, but did and really liked it!

Published by Antheneum Books For Young Readers in 2010/320 pages
For 7th grade and up, or for ages 12 and up
*I disagree about the reader age given by publisher, of course my own opinion, but I feel this book is more adequate for high school age readers.

Link for the book @ publisher:
Hardcover $16.99

Link for the book @ Amazon:
Hardcover $11.89
Paperback $7.99
Kindle $9.99

Teenage Katie Mullens has an amazing gift, she sees ghosts. Not the ghostly visions that we see in the movies. But full human apparitions of those dearly departed souls. Her gift began after her mother died tragically about a year ago. Katie lives with her step-dad. Katie has few friends, she's known at her school as crazy Kate. Katie is also an artist, she is rarely without her sketch pad and pencil. At a park Katie meets a new boy named George, George has down-syndrome.
Law is a bi-racial teenage boy that has gone to school with Katie for a long time. He secretly had a crush on her several years ago. His parents are educated career oriented professionals, they have high aspirations for his future. Law's parents frown on his friendship with a girl that is not the right color, nor the right economic bracket for their son. Law's father in his booming voice expresses distaste for Law's procrastination over a speech Law must give. Law just wants to study history of architecture, but he knows his father will not approve.
Katie and Law live in a town with a strong history of events that are painful for all, slavery. The Pinebank estate built in the 1800's is set for demolition. It was built by a man that was not only a slave holder but the wealthiest man of that era. Katie and Law will make a discovery that will upend their town and in the process develop a relationship.

I love history!
I love books that tell me a tale of true history and then create interesting characters that have quirky characteristics. I especially love it when the author weaves in characters not usually in books, such as the down-syndrome character named George. George is a sweet, lovable, steadfast character. He is someone we all want to rescue and this kept my interest through out the book.
Katie is quirky in her gift of seeing ghosts, yet I was never afraid of what she saw. I was never frightened, nor was there carnage or messiness in these apparitions. This gift was described more in sarcasm, or comedy. At times she wanted it to just go away so she could be normal. I believe that may refer to what all teenagers want, to fit in to be normal.
Both Katie and Law are characters that strive at all times to do the right thing. I admired them.
I was swept away by the story and once the historical content came in to be I became even more enamored.

There is only 1 thing that I disliked about this book. There are many 4 letter curse words. I'm not referring to Hell and Damn, but other more degrading wasteful talk. I'm sure the author added them because she feels that most youth speak this way. I'm an adult and don't. Don't need to, I can fully express myself without using those words. I'm aware that many feel that these words are not a big deal, they are just another word.
I wanted to let my readers know because there are a few of us out there that believe cursing is a big deal. And they may not want there child, even if they are a teenager, reading this book. Which is a shame because there were elements of this book that I really liked.

Blissful Reading!

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