Emily’s Dress & Other Missing Things: Edgar Nominee & Generally Amazing

The beautiful cover of Emily’s Dress & Other Missing Things by Kathryn Burka

Stars
Genre: YA Mystery
Series: No, it’s a beautiful standalone.
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press October 2, 2012
Author: Kathryn Burak

Recommended Read?: Yes, yes, yes. It’s an Edgar Nominee, isn’t that enough reason to want to pick it up?

Goodreads summary:

When Claire’s best friend Richy went missing, he disappeared without a trace. But when Emily Dickinson’s dress goes missing from the Amherst museum, she knows exactly where it is: in her closet.

As Claire and her student teacher, Tate, attempt to figure out what do to about the dress, they begin to uncover the truth behind Richy’s disappearing act. Following a trail of clues across state lines, Claire and Tate attempt to find the person that Claire knows in her gut is responsible for his disappearance.

FIRST IMPRESSION:

I first heard about Emily’s Dress & Other Missing Things when I was reviewing the Edgar 2013 Nominees. The cover drew me in, so I checked out the synopsis on goodreads, when that turned out to be equally as interesting I went out and got it. From the first page I knew I was in the hands of an expert writer. The prose was just so beautiful, from start to finish.

THE PLOT:

If you hadn’t read a summary before you started reading this book, you probably wouldn’t be sure what the plot of the story is for a while (like not until after the first 3 chapters). This book is more character driven than plot, and it works out just fine. The writing is beautiful and Claire is a character almost everyone can relate with or at least sympathize with.

Once it is revealed that Claire has a missing friend — and that famous dress of Emily Dickenson’s goes missing — everything gets way more interesting. The best part about the plot, I think, is that Claire isn’t attempting to solve the crime. She doesn’t think she can do a better job than the cops, she doesn’t want to be a faux-Nancy Drew, all she wants is to find a way to move on: a way to put it behind her, so she isn’t stuck on it forever.

THE CHARACTERS:

I loved every character in this book — which is a true rarity for me. I adored Claire. She was clever, tragic yet strong, and relatable. Her life hadn’t been an easy one and yet she never stops in the book to moan over the hand fate gave her. I’m happy to be in her head the entire time. Plus, she’s fiery and aren’t all great female leads fiery?

Her best friend in the book doesn’t have much of a part, but I adored her. She was a burst of sunshine and the game her and Claire play (is he a dancer or is he human? based off of The Killer’s song Human) is so amusing. She brings needed humour to the book.

I really liked her father, too. He was very professor like (since that was his profession) but it’s clear he’s doing everything he can to hold it all together for his family. He’s a loving father, amusing, and I enjoyed every scene he was in. Even if he was a little dense to the needs of his daughter.

Then there’s Tate, the love interest. No shocker here but … I really adored him. He was a very well developed character and even though I didn’t always know why he did what he did, I yearned for him to be in the story all the time. I was cautious of him at first, since he was a student teacher. It’s true that most girls have a fantasy of hooking up with a teacher’s aid or professor at one point or another, I couldn’t help but think it’s a little early to do that in high school … even if would have jumped at the chance with my AP Government teacher in high school (he was such a handsom man). Still, I liked him a great deal.

Ricky — the missing BFF — was even a developed character. All Claire’s flashbacks to him  really brought him to life. He was cute, precious, and I really hoped Claire could magically find him.

THE ROMANCE:

It’s been a very long time since I was on the  edge of my seat over the romance in a book and yet that was exactly what happened with this book. It’s subtly weaved throughout the story, but I so badly wanted Claire and Tate together. I didn’t know how it could work out — or even if it would — but I wanted it to happen. It kept me turning the pages.

Their relationship was so strange and unique. It was real. There was clear chemistry between them that burst out of the pages. Best of all, it wasn’t insta-love and Claire kept her head. She tried her best to be sensible about the situation, to try to deny any feelings, to keep him away … I won’t tell you if it worked out or not. You need to read this book. Trust me.

CONCLUSION:

It’s so clear the moment I read this book why it’s an Edgar Nominee. I really hope it wins. The prose is beautiful, the plot interesting, the romance intense, and all the poems Burak throws into the story are thought provoking.

Anna Dressed In Blood: Remarkable Read

Rating:

Recommended? Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Do you like a little horror? A little romance? And a whole lot of WTF just happened moments? Go find this book and read it now.

I loved this book. I loved it from the start to the finish. I loved everything about it. I loved Cas. I loved Anna, even when I wasn’t supposed to, and I loved the cover art. I mean, come on, look at it, how can you not want to read it after looking at that? Once I got more than five chapters in, I hopeless. There went my weekend, I couldn’t put it down. I’m dying to read Blake’s next book, Girl of Nightmares. I read about that book at Pub Crawl and instantly wanted to read it but I knew it was the second in a series so, obviously, I had to buy the first.

This story is amazing and completely engaging. It starts in action and ends in action. There’s something going on in every chapter, every second, and it all means something — but, you probably won’t realize it right away. There are characters that you’ll love and character that you’ll hate. But I guarantee it’ll be one or the other. There’s not one that I feel just faintly one way about.

At first, I thought this was going to be like Supernatural. I was a huge fan of that show for a long, long, time. The first five seasons of which was amazing, so I figured I’d like this book. That Cas was going to be a mini Dean Winchester but it’s not really. Or a mini-“Cas” (Castiel), which was all I could think about at first when I learned the MC’s nickname was also Cas. But the story is its own and fantastic. Even though everyone’s read about ghost killers before, right? Well, most people, at least. This was different from the rest. It was unique, and I really did like Cas a lot.

Blake is an amazing writer. She tells a fair share, but that’s just what happens when a story is first person POV. It’s present tense, which is perfect, because it’s full of urgent-action-filled-moments. I didn’t notice a lot of unneeded adverbs or adjectives. And I love her for showing that fiction, particularly YA, can be filled with semi-colons and that there isn’t anything wrong with that.

The best part was that I never knew what was coming. I really didn’t. I thought I did a couple of times but I was always wrong. And the ending… I just can’t wait to read the next book. Which, really sadly, I did not buy yet. Damn that little voice in my head that whispered what if you don’t like it? I should have already bought Girl Of Nightmares. I could’ve returned it if I didn’t like the first one… I guess I’ll just have to go buy it tomorrow. I was planning on reading another series starting tomorrow (I’m sort of on a read-a-thon) but that’ll just have to wait.