Review: The Raising by Laura Kasischke

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Original edition (March 15, 2011)
  • ISBN-10: 0062004786
  • Source: Publisher
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    One year earlier, a tragic car accident takes the life of Nicole, a beautiful, straight-A sorority student at a midwestern university.  Her boyfriend, Craig, the driver of the car, is held responsible for her death. The accident is witnessed by Shelly, a staff member at the local college.  She calls 911 and reports that both Craig & Nicole are alive, and talking.  However, the local newspaper reports that Nicole was found dead, in a pool of blood, burned beyond recognition. Shelly’s upset that her account of the accident has gone ignored and despite many attempts, the newspaper fails to print the truth.

    Now a year later,Craig has now returned to school and finds it impossible to get over Nicole’s death. Fellow students claim that Craig was intoxicated & fled the scene, leaving Nicole’s dead body. Nicole’s sorority sisters can’t get over this & venemently hate that Craig has “gotten off” so lightly. He hasn’t, however.  Already a cynical young man, Craig is truly tortured by what happened to his first love.

    Craig’s roomate, Perry, holds his own guilt.  He grew up in the same town as Nicole & introduced her to Craig.  He feels that Craig is suffering from amnesia after the accident & can’t recall what happened that fateful night. He also believes that Nicole (and another former student) haunt the halls of  Godwin Honors Hall; he and a few others have admitted to seeing someone resembling Nicole around campus.  A few have even claimed to have been intimate with her.

    Perry divulges this information to Mira Polson, a sociology professor who teaches a freshman class on death and dying. Mira then becomes obsessed with Nicole’s death, and soon discoveres a whole host of other deaths on campus. She reveals a whole host of secrets involving campus politics and peer pressure.

    The Raising is a dark, almost gothic, tale. A very strong character-driven novel, it is told by the viewpoints of several main characters.  The reader learns a great deal about Nicole through the characters’ retelling of her life. The timeline switches from past to present, giving a vivid view of what transpired before and after the horrible accident. 

    I was drawn into the story within the first several pages.  I’m known to enjoy a good supernatural tale; while reading even I got goosebumps. While the book is nearly 400 pages, I flew through it in a matter of hours.  I was drawn to the characters, the “mystery.” I appreciated the underlying storyline of how our culture deals with death and dying.  Each of the characters, while not victims of the accident directly, are forever affected by what happened that night.

    This isn’t, obviously, a light read.  The characters are each attempting to recover from the death of Nicole, no matter how they were involved/affected by the accident.  However, if you are looking for a haunting, suspenseful read, The Raising is the book for you! Highly recommended!

    Thank you to TLC Book Tours for providing me the opportunity to review this book. Please check out the remaining tours on this stop:

    Wednesday, April 6th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
    Thursday, April 7th: Wordsmithonia
    Friday, April 8th: Proud Book Nerd