THE GRAVE ARTIST by Paula Lynn Johnson-a review

THE GRAVE ARTIST by Paula Lynn Johnson-a review

THE GRAVE ARTIST (YA) by Paula Lynn Johnson


THE GRAVE ARTIST is the March 2012 release by author Paula Lynn Johnson. A detour from the ordinary YA paranormal storylines, The Grave Artist tells the tale of junior high student Clare Davis and her obsession with drawing Death Skull images. But she soon realizes that her compulsion to draw the skulls is out of her control.


Clare Davis is the child of divorce and is unhappy that she and her mother are no longer able to live like they once lived.   Following the split of her parents and a near death experience at a party, Clare is forced into counseling when the Death Skull images that she continues to draw (she has named Sammies) become too macabre for her mother to understand-even Clare does not know from where the compulsion originates. But a visit to an old cemetery will reveal more to Clare than her own hand-drawn images.


Neil aka Gollum is Clare’s BFF. A fellow art student, Neil’s interest in Clare extends beyond their similar interests.  When Clare’s images begin to interfere with her sleep and her daily routine, the local historical society may hold some answers to the names and faces that begin to haunt. Soon Neil becomes her support and her rock, and guides Clare through her daily excursions hunting for the truth.  But once things become dangerous, Neil wants Clare to pull back from her search.  Clare knows that the only way to stop the compulsions is to get to the bottom of the mystery. 


The local historian reveals that the founding family, the Forsythe’s, had a wide and rather colorful history.  But as Neil and Clare begin to search the local archives, they learn that many of Clare’s images are quite possibly a communication from beyond the grave. Dates, names, faces and facts begin to coincide and match many of Clare’s drawings and dreams.  But it will take another near death experience to set Neil and Clare on a path to discovering the truth about what happened over 200 years ago.


THE GRAVE ARTIST is a fantastic new novel from author Paula Lynn Johnson. The storyline line is fast paced and interesting with some historical references to religious artifacts and symbols.  The heroine is a typical teenager dealing with some of the same issues as many of today’s teens, including divorce and denial. But the author has intertwined the anxieties of a young teen growing up with the paranormal anomalies of what can only be called a haunting.  The Grave Artist is a wonderful novel.

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Reviewed by Sandy


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