Katie Mullens is known as the weird kid. Dead dad. Dead mom. Loner. Maybe crazy. Always drawing in her sketch pad, and she talks to herself—or at least that’s what it looks like. But Katie is talking to real people…they’re just dead. Law Walker is drawn to Katie when he sees the sketch she’s made of a historic home—the way it looked before it burned. Law soon discovers that Katie’s sight goes beyond death, and what she sees reveals the strange, twisted history of a famous Boston family’s connection to the illegal post-emancipation slave trade.
Past, present. Living, dead. Black, white. This is a powerhouse debut about ugly histories, unlikely romances, and seeing people—alive and otherwise—for who they really are.
What good is being able to see and speak to the dead if it doesn't help solve a mystery surrounding them? Fifteen-year-old Katie Mullens can interact with ghosts, including that of her father, though not of her more recently deceased mother. Law Walker is the mixed-race son of activists an academic father who's a prominent advocate for slavery reparations ("Even in pajamas, standing at the top of the stairs and saying, Susan, I have lost my toothbrush,' his voice quivers with the weight of four hundred years of injustice") and a mother struggling to save a historic Boston building. Forging a friendship as outsiders their classmates have written off Katie as crazy, and Law is a self-described geek trying to escape his domineering father's shadow Katie and Law dive into a thickening tangle involving slavery, a treasure, and an old cabal that has modern-day repercussions for living and dead alike. Alternating between the teenagers' distinct and searching first-person narratives, and combining real history with quests for identity both personal and national, adult author Smith's YA debut is much more than just a ghost story. Ages 12 up.
The Other Side Of Dark
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