The Other Side of Dark

Sarah Smith

Front Panel

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers


Setting: My book is centered around the main characters hometown, Pinebank.

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Critical Response: "This book is an emotionally powerful story about two teens trying to do something big about something they care about deeply."

- Jone Weltman


This book can be captivating and mysterious, but at the same time it can seem kind of childish.This story is very intriguing. From the very first line the reader starts to get sucked in, “The man is hanging from the stairs again, which means it’s going to be another bad day.” And the vivid detail does not stop there. Smith does not hold back in her descriptions, both bad and good.
Smith also does an awesome job at a history lesson. This may seem weird when describing a book, but it’s true. Nerdy Law is a black boy, and his chapters are filled with info and arguments about slavery. He talks a lot about “reparations,” a lesson passed along from his father, who is also black. (I mention that because his mother is white, which adds another facet to Law’s character; his personal dilemma of not belonging to either race.) -Amanda Seal


Readers Response: I thought that this book was an okay book. It did feel sort of childish to me at times though. The beginning became really interesting towards me, but as the book went on it started getting slow and wasn't as captivating. I recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery and a little bit of romance.

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Conflict: Katie sees dead people and she draws what she sees. Law comes across Katie in the park one day and sees her drawing a house burning and a boy that had passed away in it. Together they learn of the mystery of the house and how there is a treasure in it. They become interested and search for every answer they can find. Through Katie's drawings and through what she sees through her mind, along with Law's knowledge, they work together to find what the Pinebank mystery house has to hide. Throughout the book they come across many complications, like the way of how the things Katie sees affects her, or how Law's parents have restricted him. Or what the consequences may end up being once they get closer to the hidden secrets of Pinebank.


Main Character: Katie is the main character in the book. She sees things that most people wouldn't understand, dead people. She sees her dead father that she has never met, her mother who has recently passed, the boy who belonged to the old Pinebank house. She sees them all. What she sees, she draws. She draws how they died, what their past has held, everything about them. She develops a crush on Law, a boy who has been in her life since grade school but always thought she was too weird to talk to. Once he starts talking to her Katie is afraid to reveal who she really is for fear that he may never talk to her again.

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Biography of 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.


Biography of the Reviewer: My name is Kirston Greene. I was born in Lexington, North Carolina and I go to Central Davidson High School. I love traveling and seeing the different sights and places. I don't play any sports but I do take an interest in writing and photography.