The Grave Artist
Author: Paula Lynn Johnson
Publication Date: March 12th, 2012
Synopsis:16-year-old Clare can't stop drawing the bizarre, winged skulls she calls "Sammies". Her psychiatrist assumes the compulsive drawings are just expressions of Clare's grief over her father abandoning her. But then Clare discovers that her Sammies are exact matches for the Death's Head on the grave of Samantha Forsythe, a teen who reportedly fell to her death over two centuries ago. Before long, Clare's drawings morph into cryptic writings that urge her to uncover the truth behind Samantha's death. Together with Neil -- the friend she might be falling for -- Clare scours the local history for clues. She finds that, although Samantha was engaged to a wealthy landowner, there were whispered rumors of her involvement with a younger, biracial man. Soon, Clare is haunted by disturbing dream images -- a mysterious eye, a broken chain -- that point to someone Samantha called her "Dearest". But who is Dearest? And why does Samantha need Clare to find him so badly? Isolated and carrying hidden scars of her own, Clare fears her obsession with Samantha will threaten her sanity and safety. But it seems she has no choice in the matter . . .
My Thoughts: I picked this e-book for free a little while ago, and I've been reading it on my phone whenever I had down time, like waiting rooms or such. It was really a pretty great read and I'm quite surprised that it was free!
It's also a fairly quick, light, and easy read. There really isn't too many characters to follow, the plot flows quite nicely with fantastic helpings of mystery and healthy splashes of the dark and unknown. I would agree that it could be placed in the horror genre, but it's not a scare the pants off you kind of read. It treads the line between eerie and terrifying quite nicely without keeping us awake at night.
Clare's life has just made some drastic changes. She used to be a spoiled, wealthy girl, getting whatever she wanted and without a care in the world. But when Daddy, the bread winner, finds someone younger and newer than her mother all of that goes away pretty quickly. It would be an understatement to say that Clare didn't handle the changes well. On top of her trying to cope with her new less privileged life, things start getting pretty creepy when she starts drawing these skeleton heads compulsively. She literally has no control over it. When she tries to explore what is going on with her, she finds that the rabbit hole is much deeper than she anticipated. She soon finds herself within a love torn murder mystery with no way out.
I was quite surprised with the ending, it took a twist I did not for see in the slightest and I just love it when a book is capable of shocking me like that. It was overall quite intriguing, but not to the point where I would think about it even when I wasn't reading it and couldn't wait to pick it back up. But at the same time, I was enjoying myself, and the story while I was reading it. I was a little hot and cold with Clare. Her reactions and behavior towards what was happening in her real life and her family were at times childish and blown out of proportions. As well, I found she could be really spiteful and mean towards her mom and sister who were going through the exact same things she was. But outside of the family issues I really liked her. I liked the her that came out when she was searching for answers and facing her fears. In those moments she had a determination and compassion that was admirable.
Overall, it was quite a decent read. Quick and easy, and I would most likely recommend it. Especially to those who like a little history with dashes of mystery and ghosts.