Review: Picture the Dead by Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown

From GoodReads: Jennie’s connection with her twin brother, Toby, grew stronger after he died in 1864. Now Jennie must rely on her ability to communicate with the dead to find out what has happened to her beloved fiance, Will, while he was off at war. The army says he died honorably in battle. His brother confides that he became a violent criminal and died in a prison camp. Jennie begins to doubt that anyone is telling her the truth.

This intriguing combination of historical romance, paranormal thriller, and clever mystery is illustrated by bestselling artist Lisa Brown. The unique visuals originated from real Civil War daguerreotypes that were transformed into eerie mementos for Jennie’s scrapbook.

With the help of a spiritualist photographer, the spirit of her dead fiance, and the clues she discovers and keeps in her scrapbook, Jennie must put together the pieces of this mystery before she loses her home, her fortune, and possibly her life.

What a gem Sourcebooks Fire has in this book! Adele Griffin paints a thriller with words while Lisa Brown fills your head with lovely period costume adaptations. Jennie is a remarkable character and shares traits with some of the most formidable herione’s in literature. Orphaned and relying on creepy mean relatives for support. Penniless and degraded daily she has to seem to take it all in stride. Snubbed by her peers and when her fiance is killed in battle completely ignored by everyone and moved to an attic room. Jennie takes on the role of a spy.

As she moves through the book and finds out a little piece of the mystery at a time you must pace yourself to keep from flying through the pages. There are a lot of subtle nuances here you will miss if you speed read it. The ending is perfect although I didn’t imagine any of it. I missed a lot of clues I believe. I wouldn’t have survived spy school I dare say.

I think the ending will surprise you all I totally didn’t see it coming. If you enjoyed books like Hex Hall, A Graveyard Book, or A Certain Slant of Light you will enjoy Picture the Dead.

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A SPOOKY SPECTACLE: A Snicket, Griffin & Brown LIVE Event

Any of you NorCal bloggers up for going to the event with me? If I do not go I will see you guys online!

On Thursday, May 6th at 7:30pm PST (10:30pm ET) two-time National Book award finalist Adele Griffin and co-writer Lisa Brown (best selling author/illustrator) will be hosting a virtual book launch for their new book, Picture the Dead in conjunction with the wonderful independent bookstore, the San Francisco Booksmith and the also independent author resource Red Room (Sourcebooks, by the way, is also independent!).

Lemony Snicket spokesperson (Daniel Handler) will be reading a statement of introduction to this horrid story! Both the authors and Mr. Snicket himself will be in costume.

SEE IT LIVE AT: by clicking here.


by clicking here.

Any questions for the authors can be posted in the launch discussion forum on the TeenFire website prior to the event. You can also use the TeenFire chat room to discuss the event in real time!

Questions for the authors can be posted in the comments section on Red Room or in the discussion forum on the TeenFire website ( in the days leading up to the event.

Picture the Dead—an illustrated mystery story in the gothic tradition with graphic elements—is taken straight from the pages and photographs of history. This paranormal mystery follows Jenny as she uncovers the mysterious circumstances surrounding her fiancé’s death in a prison camp during the Civil War.

Find out more on

If you want to hear about a new, scary story to read in the dark—and learn about the rich illustrations and wonderful history surrounding the book—you can just log in and watch!

You can use this event to meet other YA addicts across the globe right on our TeenFire Chat Room—7:30pm PT, 10:30pm ET. BE THERE!


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