Copyright 1999, Atheneum
168 pages, YA fantasy
Judith Sparrow is fifteen when she is orphaned and sent to live with her uncle and older cousin. She is welcomed into the household, with one exception: she musn’t bring anything green into the house. Apparently the color upsets the family. Judith slowly learns the home’s ghastly past, and as a series of strange and upsetting events occur, she wonder whether her one small violation to the rule — bringing in a green picture frame that her mother had given her — could have worse consequences than she could imagine.
You can probably see that I’ve pretty much only been reading ghostly tales, reader; I’m getting ready for Halloween. Some ghost stories are more edgy than others and I’d say for that, Jade Green is about a 4/5. It didn’t make me scream out loud, but maybe I didn’t make a good test of that~ I wasn’t reading at night.
Judith, the main character, seemed a little dry to me. She wasn’t mourning her parents or particularly anxious about moving into the new house. Her only realistic human emotion was fear later in the novel. Also on the negative side, the plot was awfully predictable. I won’t detail its predictability here, for the sake of not giving out spoilers, but if you’ve ever read it, you’ll most likely know what I mean. I may not be correct in calling Jade Green a novel, because it doesn’t quite fit the bill in terms of length. It could have used a few more plot complications.
Naylor did a good job of showing us the setting without saying, “It was in the south US in the early 1900s.” She worked in a bit of mystery, always a good thing. The story was indeed imaginative when it came to the ghost part of it, no traditional Hamlet-like apparitions here! Characters were well described physically, though perhaps a little too much. Overall, suitably spooky for the season.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars.