The Other Side of Dark
Ghosts, interracial romance, and a secret kept since slavery times...
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 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.
Agatha Award--Best Mystery of the Year (YA)
Massachusetts Book Award--Best YA Book of the Year
§ "Law Walker and Katie Mullens couldn't be more different. He's the son of a wealthy African-American historian and a white architectural historian. She's a talented artist from a poor family who, after the death of her mother, begins to draw what she sees: ghosts and the horrific ways they died. Katie and Law are drawn together by Pinebank, an estate that Law's father wants destroyed because of its ties to the slave trade, his mother wants restored because of its place in Boston history, and that Katie knows is important because of her new friendship with the ghost of a boy who lived there. While the premise may seem like that of many other supernatural romances, there is a depth to this title that others are lacking. Law is torn between his mother, whose passion for architecture he shares, and his strident father, who has built his career on working toward reparations and expects his son to follow in his footsteps. Katie is trying to hang on through her grief. Details of her visions and conversations with the dead will haunt readers, even as they're thinking about how race shapes actions and relationships, and how the past can change the present. Recommended for fans of paranormal romance and historical fiction alike."-School Library Journal --Karen E. Brooks-Reese, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, PA
§ "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. Grades 8-12. "--Booklist, Frances Bradburn