Following hot on the heels of last week’s TBR Friday, I have another contribution for my Mount TBR Reading Challenge 2017 climb! I’ve snuck in a sneakily short read that’s been sitting on my TBR shelf for ages. It wasn’t on my list to get through this year but because it was so quick to read, and I’m behind on my review schedule, I thought I’d knock it over and at least feel like I was making progress toward some kind of reading goal. This week it’s book two in Kate and Sarah Klise’s 43 Old Cemetery Road middle grade series, Over My Dead Body.
Ten Second Synopsis:
Following on from the events of book one of the series, 43 Old Cemetery Road, abandoned child Seymour Hope, cranky writer Ignatius Grumply and ghostly Olive C. Spence are dwelling happily at Spence Mansion, when nasty sort Dick Tater investigates the living arrangements, and throws Seymour in an orphanage and Ignatius in an asylum. Determined to reunite, Olive must put her ghostly skills into action to defy Tater and bring her boys home.
Time on the TBR Shelf:
Three years less a month. Bought in July 2014!!
From the Book Depository. I bought all four of the books in the series at the same time and have since left all but the first languishing on the shelf.
Reason I haven’t read it yet:
It’s a short book so I’ve always had the feeling that I could rip through it any old time. Of course, with its series brethren on the shelf there has always been the lingering sense that I’d have to read them all at the same time. Still, this is no excuse, because I could probably get through all of them in less than two hours total.
- I had completely forgotten that these books are formatted as a series of letters, newspaper articles and illustrations (which means I’ll also be submitting it for the Epistolary Challenge – hooray!). In fact, Olive, the ghost, ONLY communicates through letter writing (and interrupting other people’s written work). The constantly changing fonts and heavy emphasis on illustration is a major strength of the series.
- I had sort of forgotten what had happened in the first book, since it’s been three years since I’d read it, but it was easy enough to pick up again. The book has a little illustrated recap at the start so any readers new to the series will be brought up to speed. It was interesting to see Ignatius being not so grumpy this time around, but Seymour’s parents are even nastier and more conniving here, if that’s possible.
- Once again, Olive is beguiling as the ghost of an elderly mystery writer. I loved how the townsfolk help her out despite claiming not to believe in her existence.
- I still think this series is an absolute winner for early middle grade readers. The story is quick and engaging, the format is brilliantly accessible and the characters are quirky enough to keep the attention.
Less Impressive Bits:
- This story didn’t grab me quite as much as the first book did. The plotline of Dick Tater trying to burn books and cancel Halloween seemed a bit silly really. Luckily, it’s such a quick read that even if the story was a bit underwhelming, the format and the brevity make up for it.
On reflection, was this worth buying?
I’m glad I’ve got the series ready to go, because I want to see if the next book is as good as the first.
Where to now for this tome?
Not sure. I might hang on to all the books til I’ve finished the series, then put them in Suitcase Rummage as a set. Or donate them to the mini-fleshlings’ school library.
And with that, I have reached Pike’s Peak – twelve books – and my Mount TBR Challenge goal for the year. I haven’t officially made the decision to extend my goal yet. I’m going to ponder it a little more. Stay tuned! And you can check out my progress toward this year’s reading challenges here.
Until next time,