Title/Author: The Dead and Buried by Kim Harrington.My Thoughts: The Dead and Buried is an easy book to fall into and one I didn't want to put down. First of all the plot. I loved how the death of the victim is recent. It's not an old, buried secret. This gives such a fresh perspective and spin on this kind of tale. Another very interesting aspect is Jade's relationship with her step-mother Marie, and the family dynamic. Jade lost her mother when she was younger and that tragedy echoes the more recent death of golden girl Kayla and also contributes to other plot threads.
Favorite character: Donovan
Synopsis: Jade loves the house she's just moved into with her family. She doesn't even mind being the new girl at the high school: It's a fresh start, and there's that one guy with the dreamy blue eyes. . . . But then things begin happening. Strange, otherworldly things. Jade's little brother claims to see a glimmering girl in his room. Jade's jewelry gets moved around, as if by an invisible hand. Kids at school whisper behind her back like they know something she doesn't.
Soon, Jade must face an impossible fact: that her perfect house is haunted. Haunted by a ghost who's seeking not just vengeance, but the truth. The ghost of a girl who ruled Jade's school — until her untimely death last year. It's up to Jade to put the pieces together before her own life is at stake. As Jade investigates the mystery, she discovers that her new friends in town have more than a few deep, dark secrets. But is one of them a murderer? ~Goodreads.com
The haunting is very creepy and eerie. I love how it builds up through the book until things get dangerous. I also love how Jade tries to talk to her father and Maria about their haunted house. Again, refreshing that she is including her parents and counting on them for help. Unfortunately, this backfires and Jade has to face this alone. However, she is not alone. Kayla's ex-boyfriend Donovan is there to help her.
Speaking of Donovan...I looooved him and I loved the romance. Donovan is a bit guarded, a bit damaged and uber cool. Yes, it may have seemed like insta-love, but I really didn't care. Jade is attracted to him at first sight. That's realistic right? I also loved how she admits she wanted to fix him. Now, I know a lot of people who like to "fix" others, but to me, this went a bit deeper than that. I personally felt that Jade wanted to heal him, more than fix him. I think Donovan is now one of my favorite literary crushes. He's an artist, he's a gamer, he's sensitive. I picture him looking like that tall guy who dances in the Microsoft Touch ad.
There was maybe one time in the book that I felt Jade was a bit too good to be true, but overall I did like her. I feel she is not only smart, but has a certain maturity and confidence as well. She gives people chances but also is aware of their personalities and is careful of who she wants to be friends with. I loved how Donovan saw her as a breath of fresh air and a person who is not afraid of being who she is. We got to see her through someone else's eyes. I also liked her hobby of gemstones and their meanings and the deeper reason of why she collected them. Even though she sort of scoffs at the reality, she still wears them for the properties they give.
The reader also gets bits of inside information about Kayla not only from other people's accounts of her, but through her journal. I have to admit, I found her fascinating. Beautiful, athletic, smart and just plain mean. She revels in her status at school and what she is capable of, but then towards the end there is a glimmer of what may contributed to her shortcomings. We also get to see Donovan through Kayla's eyes which I really liked as well. I think there were times I felt she realized that Donovan was too good for her.
I kind of knew who committed the crime and that was a bummer, but then there's always the thought in the back of your mind that you're wrong and maybe it's another person from the list of suspects. That's all I'll say about that. As for Harrington's writing and pacing, I thought it was clear and fun and moved. There was nothing in the book that confused me and everything was resolved to my satisfaction.
All in all: A very fun thriller. Well written, well paced with excellent characters.