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23 October 2010

(ARC) Book Review: The Other Side of Dark

The Other Side of Dark
The Other Side of Dark by Sarah Smith

Publication Date: 2 November 2010

I received an ARC of this book from Star Book Tours.

Since losing both of her parents, fifteen-year-old Katie can see and talk to ghosts, which makes her a loner until fellow student Law sees her drawing of a historic house and together they seek a treasure rumored to be hidden there by illegal slave-traders.

Law Walker knew Katie Mullens before she was crazy. Before her mother died. Law knows Katie’s crazy now, but she’s always been talented. And she keeps filling sketch pads even though her drawings have gone a little crazy as well—dark, bloody. What Law doesn’t know is that these drawings are real. Or were real. Katie draws what she sees—and Katie sees dead people. People who have died—recently, and not so recently—in accidents, from suicide, even a boy who was trapped in a house that burned down more than 100 years ago. And it’s this boy who makes Law want to get to know Katie all over again. So what if his dad doesn’t want him dating a white girl? So what if people think Katie is dangerous? The ghost boy is hiding a secret that Law needs to know—and it’s much bigger, much more shocking than anyone ever expected.

My Review
The Other Side of Dark is a ghost story that incorporates romance and history to create an intriguing novel.

Loved: The conclusion of The Other Side of Dark was a stunner and I loved how Smith brought this about. The book started off slow and some of the language was hard to understand. I resisted the urge to put the book down halfway through and I'm glad I did. The ending was totally worth it!

Liked: The historical aspect of the story. As an African American myself, it is nice to read a book that isn't afraid to "go there" in recounting the horrifying acts committed against slaves. Even though this book is fiction, I felt it gave a realistic view of the slave experience and portrayed to readers the terrible conditions that slaves had to endure.

Disliked: Katie's father. His character came off as too supercilious and sanctimonious to me. I found it interesting that he married a white woman and then proceeded to completely oppose her viewpoints and ideals. He was all about black and white (literally) and couldn't see any gray area. I think his character could have been dialed back (just a little) and still have been interesting and made the same contribution to the story.

Overall: I think Sarah Smith has written a good story, however it is dark and some parts are very disturbing. I would recommend this book to older, more mature teens. I loved the blend of history and the present, as well as the supernatural ghost story.

My Rating is 4 stars

Description and picture courtesy of Goodreads.


Ashley said...

I just finished this book and I found it very interesting. I wasn't expecting the race issues to be so central to the story, so when they showed up, I was a little hesitant. But, I thought the author handled them very well, being informative and making it clear it's an issue without quite beating you over the head with it.

I agree with you about Law's dad. (You said Katie, but I'm assuming you meant Law...) He was a little too much, and consistently felt bad for Law having to be raised by him...!

Great review!

Tara W said...

This book is on my TBB list. The story line sounds intriguing. Thanks for the great review.

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