Cover Image: Picture Unavailable

Picture Unavailable

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Member Reviews

⭐⭐⭐⭐.5/5

• nostalgic YA thriller
• supernatural element
• Stranger Things/Stand By Me vibes

The author did an incredible job illustrating Westfield - I really felt like I was there in the town. While this book centers around a group of middle school boys, there are adult POVs so I recommend this to all thriller enthusiasts. At its core, it's about grief and forgiveness. And that ending... so emotional. 😭🥹

🗣️ Thank you to @netgalley and @bluehandlebooks for the opportunity to read and review this book via gifted eARC! All opinions are honest and my own.
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The prologue 😵‍💫😨 
Usually with book that say they're scary I'm like okay let's see, because the descriptions the authors use aren't the best for me. But this prologue... !!!!! 

So, the synopsis says it's good for fans of Stranger Things but I'll say that, even if I agree, this might be also good for fans of "IT". Big time vibes. 

I enjoyed the book. Isn't unnecessarily long which I highly enjoy. I was totally hooked since the prologue and I stayed that way until I finished it. Literally started the book at 8 am and finished at 2 pm on the same day. It's a really easy read, the story goes on really well, the pace is great, loved the spooky vibes, the friendships are just amazing... The way the characters are written is enjoyable because they felt real. You can sit and turnthe pages without feeling it.

My only complaint will be the ending. I don't know how it went from one horror story to something about you being your own light and about forgiveness. I mean yeah I appreciate the message hahaha but... why? Honestly a cliffhanger would have been way better than what actually the author wrote. 

It specify is for middle grade and I kind of agree. Might give nightmares to some tho hahaha but for those kiddos who enjoy a good horror story it's a good one and they get to read about the importance of friendship. My son is 14 and I'd definitely get it for him (he is a horror fan). Now, that said, if you don't truly enjoy horror for adult but want a creepy book then this one would be an amazing option. If your kiddos like horror but you don't want a heavy read, they this one. I'm a bit more of big time horror hahaha so for me this was light BUT I was super invested and truly enjoyed it!!!! The creepy horror vibes were there and it was a good read.
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Well that was an easy, creepy read perfect for the spooky season! Despite having some issues with the writing style, I still thoroughly enjoyed this!

I wouldn’t consider it a middle grade even though the main characters are in middle school because the POV alternates primarily between one of the kids and two adults and with the language shifts, it doesn’t have the tone of a middle grade (at least not ones I’ve read in the past). This is where my issues with the writing style came in to play, and while it didn’t overall effect my enjoyment, I definitely think it’s something the next reader should be aware of going into it. 

While it overall felt a little cheesy, it was still compelling enough to keep me hooked. It was creepy and mysterious and fast paced and such an easy read. I swear I started reading it and then only a few hours later I was over half way done, and then I had it finished in one day!

Unfortunately the last issue I had with it was the end and that’s where a lot of the cheesiness comes into play for me. I greatly appreciate the message it tries to give, especially with it apparently being targeted as a middle grade book, I think the end could’ve been a lot stronger if handled differently. 

I’d recommend this to anyone looking for a quick, easy creepy read for spooky season! But I definitely recommend this if, like me, you’re a fan of Hanson and their song “Yearbook” and if you ever thought that it’d make an awesome book or movie — you’ll finally find out where Johnny went!
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I just finished Picture Unavailable by Andrew J Brandt and here are my thoughts.

Picture unavailable is what sat in the place of the missing child from the grade 6 yearbook. Strange considering he was there on picture day. Even stranger is Johnny's picture is absent from all the pictures in the year back when he was definitely in those. 

Charlie and his gang decide to figure out the mystery of why Johnny had been purged from the yearbook and put it on a podcast. The more charlie digs, the more he realizes that Johnny’s disappearance isn’t isolate and that their teacher, Mr. Cotter knows more than he is letting on.
 
Can Charlie and his friends figure out the mystery before one of them goes missing next?
I do not usually dip into the middle grade/YA pool but this book drew me in and I had to give it a go and boy, am I glad I did. 
First off, the characters, so charming! I really felt like part of the gang! The author really weaved a clever tale that had me experiencing the whole book like I was there. It was fascinating. It had a total stranger things vibe but kept the whole theme very original which I loved.
The town had some really odd things going on and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. It also struck a chord with me that kids often know more than we give them credit for and have such amazing resilience to the world around them that they don’t dismiss things the way we do as adults. 
Loved the setting of the book, really loved all the biking they did and how each of the boys were mild rejects but they didn’t let it stop them doing what had to be done. They were so brave! 
The writing was actually quite brilliant so I know I will seek this author out again. 
If you love a little mystery with your middle grade read then this has to be on your list!
 
5 stars! Pleasantly blown away!
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Shades of Stranger Things and It.  Every six years a child in Westfield, Tennessee goes missing.  The latest victim is Johnny Howardwick.  Charlie Greene and his two friends Ezra and Josey discover that Johnny's picture is not in the yearbook and he has been scrubbed from all other pictures he was supposed to be in, and they start to investigate.  Charlie has extra motivation besides sheer curiosity because his father died the night Johnny went missing when he went out to search for the missing boy as a snowstorm was approaching.  The boys start ther investigation with yearbook teacher, Mr. Cotter, who knows more than he is letting on since his friend disappeared 24 years earlier.  I really enjoyed this "horror light" novel, even though the middle grade protagonists definitely gave it a very young voice.  I wasn't a huge fan of the ending.
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Every 6 years a 12 year old child goes missing from the small town of Westfield Tennessee. No one seems to notice this cycle. The boys are listed as missing because of running away, kidnapping, etc. Ben saw what happened to his best friend during the sudden Halloween snow storm, though no one believes his story.  Twenty-four years later Ben teaches history, but still tries his best to protect his students. Despite his efforts another child goes missing. 
   Charlie, Ezra and Josey are fast friends. They intend to spend their summer break uncovering why Johnny disappeared. He has been erased even from the school year book and the boys want to know why, especially Charlie because his father died the same night Johnny went missing.  
  Just because a child went missing though, this time the cycle isn't over. For some reason the children of Westfield are still in danger. 

 The only other Andrew J Brandt story I've read so far, before this one, coincidentally takes place in the same town. Reading that it was Westfield TN was a welcome surprise that added to the great experience. I definitely look forward to reading more of this author's works. 
 
  Thank you to Netgalley and Blue Handle Publishing for the opportunity to enjoy this exciting and spooky e-ARC.
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The school is out for the summer, but for Charlie and his best friends, this is their last summer together, Come fall, they are to start new schools in nes towns away from each other. When signing their friends year books they discover that one of their classmates is missing, and instead of his smiling face is the words: Picture Unavaliable. The boys are sure he was there for picture day, so why is his pictures suddenly missing? The boys sets out to uncover the truth about this mystery, and as they go, its clear that their teacher Mr Cotter knows more than he wants to let on, but Charlie soon unedrstands that he needs to solve this mystery before he becomes the next victim.

This gave me the vibes of Stranger Things, Stand By Me, Fear Street and It, while simultaneously being a cosy summer middle grade-horror. Its spooky but not gory and over the top, I'd recommend this to younger horror readers or of you just want to be mildly creeped out.
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Give this book to all of your Stranger Things fans! 
Picture Unavailable has all of the creepy, horror, scary vibes, and keeps the reader guessing at the end of each chapter! I couldn't turn the pages fast enough! I'm looking forward to sharing this novel with my school!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. all thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Picture Unavailable is about a boy named Charlie. Charlie is haunted by a night six months ago when a classmate of his disappeared. It turns out there is a monster that takes a 12 year-old-boy every six years but for some reason the monster is not satisfied this time and is still attacking boys. Charlie and his friends make it their mission to find out why and stop the monster. I liked all the characters in the book and thought the tone was impressively spooky. However, sometimes the multiple points-of-view slow down the pace of the story. I think the book could have done without most of the adult povs, especially that of Charlie's mom, which read like a book for adults, rather than the middle grade readers that this book would presumably be the target for. Readers who are very into horror will definitely enjoy this book.
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The was an easy read that kept me interested.  The characters were all very relatable and genuine. It was a story plot I had never read before, which made it interesting. I like how the story was told from many perspectives. All of the characters got to tell the story from their own perspective. I would recommend this book.
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Looking through their sixth-grade yearbooks, Charlie Greene and his best tw friends notic a picture of a classmate is missing.   In fact there are no pictures of him anywhere.  The classmate Johnny  Howardwick has disappeared.  The boys decide to solve the mystery of his disappearance.  They decide to ask the yearbook teacher Mr. Cotter first.  Mr. Cotter knows more than what he will tell.  The boys continue to investigate Johnny’s disappearance.  They discover that it has been happening —people disappearing for a long time.  What is happening?   They continue to investigate but they may be sorry as they may disappear.

The author starts writing a story about the boys’ summer adventure that turns into a terrifying ghost story.  The story grows tense as it continues until you realize it’s means survival or ?  I enjoyed reading this book.  It’s an excellent mystery.
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First off...DISCLAIMER: this title was up for grabs on NetGalley (in the Read Now section). Thanks to Blue Handle Publishing for providing a temporary ecopy. This didn't influence my review in any way.

Based on the very few info I had access to when I decided to download this book, I was certain that it would be a YA title, with its characters going through memory lane and suddenly realising, while browsing through old yearbooks, that something was off - i.e., an old friend of theirs who had disappeared a few years before had also vanished from each one of them. But that wasn't the case, and Picture Unavailable turned out to be a difficult book to categorise: partly MG, partly adult, which isn't a combo I typically read. Therefore, I'll start by admitting that I'm not the right audience for it, which may have impacted my rating.
I did enjoy the story on the whole, but I would have liked for it to bring something more to the table. Most of the time, I had a strong feeling of déjà vu, though the author did try to weave fresh details into the plot (like the role of the lamp posts and the podcast the kids use as an excuse to interview the supposed witnesses). Some characters (like the old librarian) felt cliche-y. And I was confused about the darkness that predates on children every six years - to me, there wasn't enough substance (no pun intended) to it, or a clear direction for its mythology, which felt all over the place. I was also left with the impression that the ending could have been fleshed out more, not to mention, it didn't explain/resolve the main issue (though the characters seem to think it did) or give me any insight into the supernatural force at play. I understood that the author was trying to convey a message about grief and forgiveness, but it didn't feel consistent with the spooky core of the story. I did like the young protagonists though, and their interactions and inner monologues felt real and far more convincing than the supernatural plot.
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Thanks to NetGalley, for the opportunity to read and review an early copy of this title.

It's a supernatural thriller that will keep you guessing. Perfect for fans of Stranger Things!
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This book definitely has Stranger Things vibes. I loved the characters as the try to uncover what happened to their missing friend. This was such a good middle grade read - a fun page turner from start to finish!
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Stranger thing vibes!!! 

In the past two boys out, when one disappears. The present, a school year book and the picture of a missing boy erased. What is happening. What do the lamp posts mean? 

Absolutely loved it, brilliant from start to finish.
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A young boy finds that a missing student’s picture has been removed from every group photo in his yearbook. He then recruits his friends to probe into the mystery.

Decades past, another boy witnessed his friend’s disappearance and is haunted by the incident. Something strange is happening in the town. His research uncovers a truth that many have brushed off as a young boy’s imagination. 

But it’s happening again. 

Has the Stranger Things vibe that you’re searching for.
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In the newest title by Andrew J. Brandt, readers are taken on a thrilling adventure full of emotion and mystery. 

On the night of Johnny Howardwick's disappearance, Charlie Greene suffers the greatest loss of his young life. When an unexpected blizzard hits the town of Westfield, Tennessee, Charlie's father does the heroic thing of going out into the night to look for the young boy before the storm hits. Sadly it ends up being the last choice he will make, and Charlie's world is turned upside.

A few months later when the school yearbook comes out, Charlie and his two best friend's discover that not only is Johnny Howardwick's photo missing, it is replaced with two ominous words "Picture Unavailable." After further investigation, they quickly come to realize that not only is he missing there, he has suddenly disappeared from other pictures that the boys knew for certain that he was present in. 

What follows is a creepy tale of unknown horrors, and heartfelt emotions that make Picture Unavailable an absolute must read for fan's of Middle-grade horror.

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Blue Handle Publishing for the opportunity to read an advanced reader's copy in exchange for my honest review.
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At first this book sounded good, but then I realized I prefer books with a picture on the cover. Thanks for the digital review copy.
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Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the e-ARC of this middle grade novel.

This is a great novel for fans of true crime, and mysteries alike. I enjoyed this novel and think it will find a lot of readers at the middle school level.
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This was definitely a page-turner! I enjoyed how the author wove in multiple story lines from years past. There were a few spots where I wondered if it was MG or YA, but overall this was a good mystery that kept my interest throughout the novel.
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