Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: Emily's Dress and Other Missing Things by Kathryn Burak

Published: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Format: Hardcover
My rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

Emily's Dress and Other Missing Things is a true delight and it provided me with one of the most memorable and unique reading experiences I have ever had! This book is in a category all on it's own. Kathryn Burak has a beautiful writing style that is very poetic and flows so well. I had no idea what to expect when I started reading this book but I was pleasantly surprised to encounter a story that combines mystery, a budding romance, Emily Dickinson, sadness, friendship, loss, adventure and emotional recovery.

Claire is the protagonist and she is very multilayered. She's been through quite a bit and her history really helps the reader understand what makes her the way she is. She's lost more than one person in her life and that had a definite impact on her. She's very different, but not in a bad way. It's really sort of hard to explain, but I found her to be quite refreshing in her sincerity and uniqueness. I'm not going to reveal much, but I will say that Claire's ties to Emily Dickinson feel very real and touching. You have to read this book to really be able to bask in the beauty of it.

I really enjoyed some of the other characters in this book as well, like Tate. Tate is a student teacher for one of Claire's classes and through a series of uncanny events, these two end up forming a close bond. There were a lot of funny situations involving these two, as well as some emotional ones. I adore Tate: he's one of the few people in Claire's life that really connects with her and understands her. Claire's best friend, Tess, is another noteworthy character. She's the kind of friend that accepts you no matter what and I really liked her!

One of my favorite things about this book is the poetry: it is so wonderful and significant. Claire's character writes poetry and due to the personal nature of her poems, I really felt like this further invited me into her world as a reader and allowed me to connect with her on another level. Some of Emily Dickinson's poetry is also discussed and mentioned, which really made me want to sit down and explore her writing further.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a tremendously good story filled with amazing characters and an exciting plot that will move you in several ways!


  1. Have just added it to my Goodreads list, sounds great. Great review, Shanon :)

    1. Thank you! I'm glad you added it to your list, it's definitely worth a read! =)

  2. I think poetry should have a comeback. I thinks that's why Ellen Hopkins appealed to me, it's not classic poetry but the verses are very pretty.

    1. I totally agree, Braine! Poetry needs some more attention. =D


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