The Other Side of Dark

Author: Sarah Smith
Pages: 320
Publisher: Atheneum
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Summary (from Goodreads)Since losing both of her parents, fifteen-year-old Katie can see and talk to ghosts, which makes her a loner until fellow student Law sees her drawing of a historic house and together they seek a treasure rumored to be hidden there by illegal slave-traders. 

Law Walker knew Katie Mullens before she was crazy. Before her mother died. Law knows Katie’s crazy now, but she’s always been talented. And she keeps filling sketch pads even though her drawings have gone a little crazy as well—dark, bloody. What Law doesn’t know is that these drawings are real. Or were real. Katie draws what she sees—and Katie sees dead people. People who have died—recently, and not so recently—in accidents, from suicide, even a boy who was trapped in a house that burned down more than 100 years ago. And it’s this boy who makes Law want to get to know Katie all over again. So what if his dad doesn’t want him dating a white girl? So what if people think Katie is dangerous? The ghost boy is hiding a secret that Law needs to know—and it’s much bigger, much more shocking than anyone ever expected.


My Summary: Ever since her mom died a year ago, Katie's been seeing ghosts... and not just any ghosts either - ghosts that died violently. She sees the ghosts of people who were murdered, people who've committed suicide... all of it. 

Katie thinks she's crazy - she thinks these 'hallucinations' are all a product of the grief she's feeling, never taking them seriously. She draws every single ghost she sees, though, keeping them all in a sketchbook. Each sketch is more disturbing than the last, usually showing the way the person died. Katie knows she's crazy, but the sketches are the only way to keep the ghosts from taking over her entire life...

Until the day she meets a ghost boy in the park and bumps into Law Walker. She's surprised he wants anything to do with her, the 'crazy girl', but the two form an unlikely friendship. When Katie tells Law about the boy in the park who died in the house he's trying to save from being bulldozed, he investigates and discovers that Katie really has been seeing ghosts - and that she may be the key to saving the house and the treasure inside.

My Thoughts: I'm so glad I decided to read this book! It was just what I needed - the perfect mix of history, paranormal elements, and romance. All three components of the book wove together perfectly, making it one of those books that I just couldn't put down without finding out what happened next.

Seriously. I finished it in less than 8 hours, and it's not a very short book! 

And I'd like to give props to Sarah Smith for the honest way she handled the topics of slavery and racism and the sometimes crushing pressure parents put on their kids - I felt so bad for Law, trying to deal with his father's unrealistic expectations while also trying to grow up and figure out where he belongs because of his mixed heritage. 

Final Thoughts: If you've always been a bit of an American History geek like me, you'll definitely want to pick this one up! It ties together elements of history, racism, and romance beautifully, and I really enjoyed it. May not be suitable for reader under 14, though!


  1. im such a coeard and this book sounds creepy.... but you know what? you got me with the history aspect! I love me some history! Is this book already published? This is the first review I read for it and it sounds GREAT :) thanks for posting!

  2. Great review, makes me want to get this book, and I'm not sure I normally would have picked it up.

  3. Love a great mystery and the set-up for this book sounds awesome. Good review! I like the cautions you include (e.g., age appropriateness).


tell me what you think!