The Other Side of Dark (Paperback)
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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.
About the Author
Sarah Smith has a BA and PhD in English Literature from Harvard University. She is the author of a three-novel mystery series set in turn of the century Boston and Paris. This is her YA debut. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts. Visit her online at sarahsmith.com.
The Other Side of Dark.
Smith, Sarah (Author)
Nov 2010. 320 p. Atheneum, hardcover, $16.99. (9781442402805).
Crazy Katie sees and draws ghosts of real people who were killed in horrid circumstances. Law Walker,
the son of a black Harvard professor and white landscape architect, dreams of becoming an architectural historian. His father believes in reparations; his mother, historical preservation. All the characters collide in the planned demolition of Pinebank, a historic house central to Frederick Law Olmstead’s Emerald Necklace park system in Boston. As Law begins to realize that Katie’s visions hold the key to saving Pinebank, he falls for her, despite her oddities. Well-known adult author Smith, who confesses to have loved ghost stories since childhood, has written an intricate YA debut that weaves complicated racial issues into a romantic, mysterious novel based on a controversial event in recent Boston history. Both adult and teenage characters are likable and authentically complex. Katie’s visions of slavery and Law’s father’s address to the Boston City Council make for challenging reading that will prompt readers to reconsider the burden of history we all carry, regardless of race or origin.
— Frances Bradburn, BOOKLIST, October 15, 2010
The Other Side of Dark
Sarah Smith, S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4424-0280-5
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. (Nov.)
--Publishers Weekly, 10/18/2010