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The Painting

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  92 ratings  ·  34 reviews
A haunting, beautiful middle-grade novel about fractured relationships, loss, ghosts, friendship and art.

Annie and her mother don't see eye to eye. When Annie finds a painting of a lonely lighthouse in their home, she is immediately drawn to it--and her mother wishes it would stay banished in the attic. To her, art has no interest, but Annie loves drawing and painting.

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published September 19th 2017 by Tundra Books (NY)
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Charis Cotter's The Painting is another for the most part enjoyable, readable Middle Grade time-slip (and potential ghost) story (set in both Ontario and Newfoundland), although frustratingly and yes indeed a bit annoyingly, the two main protagonists (and actually pretty much ALL of the characters who make an appearance in The Painting) are in my humble opinion not nearly as finely nuanced, not remotely as well developed and indeed even as relatable as both the main and secondary sets of charact ...more
BAM The Bibliomaniac
May 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-book, net-galley, own, ya
A big thank you to Charis Cotter, Tundra Books, and Netgalley for this free copy in exchange for an unbiased review.

3.5 stars

Annie is placed in a precarious position. She doesn't get along with her mother, but her mother has been in a car accident and now she's in a coma. It's enough to make her head hurt. Maybe that's why she's suddenly inside the painting? Playing with Claire?
This story is about relationships and forgiveness-that it's never too late to say " I'm sorry". Also I think it's abo
Lana Shupe
Feb 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Great ghostly YA read. Takes place in Newfoundland and Toronto. All the elements of a little spine tingler. Great for kids and adults who enjoy a maritime ghost story. Wanted to read this one because it involves a painting of a lighthouse and ghosts and the Maritimes. Three of my favorite subjects.
Jan 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: librarything
The Painting has been on my shelf for a couple of months and I’m glad I’ve finally had the opportunity to dive in. As for first impressions, the cover art drew me in almost immediately. Also, Charis Cotter’s use of style and fonts throughout the book sets the mood of the story. Fans of Lewis Carrol will especially appreciate the nods to his works of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass throughout this read.

The Painting is one of those books with a concept that was incre
Jenna (Falling Letters)
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Review originally published 17 September 2017 at Falling Letters. I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Back in 2014, I was so charmed by Charis Cotter’s debut The Swallow (review here) that I nominated it for a Cybils award. Today I’m reviewing Cotter’s sophomore middle grade novel. The mention of a lonely lighthouse caught my interest. Cotter, a native of Toronto who now lives in Newfoundland, evokes crisp imagery in her descriptions of the coa
Diana Iozzia
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
“The Painting”
Written by Charis Cotter
Review written by Diana Iozzia

“The Painting” by Charis Cotter is a wonderful book for children to young adults. The book is about a girl named Annie who finds herself in a painting. Annie’s mother was recently in a car accident and lays in a hospital bed, in a coma. Annie finds herself in the painting’s lighthouse in Newfoundland, Canada, where she meets a girl, Claire, who thinks Annie is the ghost of her little sister.

This book becomes a gigantic mystery
Vanessa Shields
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Painting Review by Vanessa Shields

From the first intriguingly chilling paragraph to the last ghostly page, Charis Cotter’s new novel "The Painting" is a startling story of unrest, connection and forgiveness. All this, wrapped in a book written for the avid child reader is truly a story for any age.

Coming off her award-winning first novel, The Swallow, Cotter’s talent for writing goosebump-giving ghost stories is spooktacular – and she has created for herself a spot amongst greats like Poe, D
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, fantasy

I thought this book was an enjoyable read that centred around the ideas of family, love, loss, and forgiveness. Although the first bit felt slow to me, the last half was fantastic as we learn more about Claire and why her relationship with Maisie is so frayed. The mystery in this book was also fantastic because the whole time you're trying to figure out the lives of these two girls. The aspect of ghosts in this novel was also interesting and quite enjoyable. Part of the reason why I didn't
Apr 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
A deep and suspenseful story for young readers about loss, guilt, misunderstandings, and mistakes. | This will definitely be too much for some readers, it hurt my heart and I have decades more life than the target audience. But there are good messages here, and the reader can see how hiding one's feelings never works--they come out round the edges and impact you later regardless. All of the characters are well and sympathetically drawn, everybody has their flaws and their virtues, and the reader ...more
Alisha Greenlaw
Jul 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm on the fence about whether or not I'd give this book 2.5 or 3 stars. I really struggled to get through the first half. It was slow going because of the layout- the book switched between two characters, Claire and Annie. It got confusing constantly switching between two different first person's point of views. That really threw me off. And then when I was a little over halfway finished, suddenly the plot got interesting and everything picked up speed. But unfortunately the book was over half ...more
Abby McIntyre-Tsiang
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was mysterious and the characters were extremely compelling. Annie and Claire had a charming relationship which reminded me of devilish sisters but yet the best of friends. The book perfectly balanced secret compartments and creepy, mysterious paintings. The double perspective in the painting really adds that extra depth because you get to see both sides of the story. I love how Charis quotes Alice Through The Looking Glass And What She Saw There. The quotations fit perfect ...more
Adelaide Mcginnity
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was ok
Magic realism is a difficult genre. For one, it is hard to come up with a particularly original idea in a field where most of the long hanging fruit has already been gathered. For two, introducing magic often requires a good deal of backstory in order for the rules of the phantasmagorical to be properly understood by the reader. On both accounts, The Painting leaves much to be desired. The idea of traveling through space and time via a painting is tired and stale, and the magical means by which ...more
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As soon as I opened The Painting by Charis Cotter I was hooked. It was one of those books I just couldn’t put down.

The Painting is the story of Annie and Claire and Newfoundland. Annie has a painting in her room of a lighthouse in Newfoundland. Annie is an artist and she was drawn to this painting the moment she found it in the attic of her Toronto home. When a terrible accident puts Annie’s mother in the hospital she is suddenly so drawn to the painting that she actually falls into it. She is
Cathleen McQueen
Aug 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A haunting mystery of two girls who meet across 30 years. Annie’s mother is in the hospital after a car accident in Toronto and she finds herself somehow falling into various paintings of Newfoundland. She meets a little girl called Claire in the Crooked Head Lighthouse who is not getting along with her mother, Maisie.
Maisie and Claire are dealing with the sorrow of losing Claire's little sister who was run over by a car several years before.
Claire tells Annie of her anger with her mother, of
Zoe Payne
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: the-painting
The Painting is an amazing book and it really made me think, I saw both sides of the story and realized how lucky you are to have a functional relationship with your guardians.
I thought it was really good and made you think of what the possible connection could be between Annie and Claire, like how Claire was positively convinced that she was Annie's sister. Yet Annie did not know her at all and was seriously confused.
I really loved how it switched back and forth between perspectives. I though
Jun 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a very interesting story about a young girl who seems to enter a painting of a light house scene and is able to interact with the people at the lighthouse. She is confused as to how this keeps happening, who painted the picture, and why she is being taken into the picture and how. She forms a friendship with the girl in the painting, the girl seems to think she is her dead sister come back to her. The mother of the girl in the painting can't see this girl who visits so you wonder just wh ...more
Thank you to Tundra Books for sending me a free copy of this book to review.

"Why did you have to run, Annie? Why did you always have to run?"

Right away this book drew me into the atmospheric Newfoundland coast and the haunting story of Claire and Annie. I was certainly confused at first, but I believe that was the intent given the references to Lewis Carrol's Alice works. While I loved the unknown factor of reading this for the first time, this might be one of those books that are even better wh
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely atmospheric ghost story. It's about the past and present, wounding and healing. I was drawn in immediately and the story moves along quickly. I didn't want to put it down until I finished, but had to with life things getting the way. I felt myself going back to when I read books like this when I was much younger and increasing my love of reading. Wonderfully told and highly enjoyable. I felt for Annie, Claire, the parents, everyone involved.
I can definitely recommend this book.
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Annie and her mother are very different, and have trouble talking to each other sometimes. Annie finds an old painting in the attic of her house and is drawn to it. It fascinates her every time she looks at it, until she notices one day that things in the painting are actually moving. The more she looks, the closer she gets, until finally she falls into the painting and enters that world. How will she get back? Why do some things feel familiar? Will Annie and her mom improve their relationship?
Sep 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was drawn to this book by it's cover and then it's blurb. I an always intrigued by stories that allow characters to walk in and out of paintings and interact with each other. I have read a few books with this premise. This story didn't disappoint. It's a good read for kids and teaches forgiveness without being preachy. I think kids and teens will find it a satisfying tale.
I received a Kindle ARC in exchange for a fair review from Netgalley.
Oct 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, owned
My Halloween read this year! An atmospheric novel about a family tragedy that leads to the breakdown of a mother-daughter relationship. It explores how the ghosts of our past can haunt our present, and that healing can be achieved through forgiveness. I like the paranormal touches, but ultimately the story is about the unbreakable bonds of family. I enjoyed this book and found the author's writing style engaging.

Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy of this book.
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Amazing. Full of suspense and mystery along with thrilling twists and secrets. It will keep you enchanted until the shocking conclusion. It’s a must read that’s wrapped in a mysterious family mystery that started long before the accident with the Scottie dog. Five stars is an understatement for this amazing novel!
Apr 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Charis Cotter has a knack for ghost stories. This one will haunt me for a long time to come. My willingness to believe that people can enter each other's dreams is testament to Cotter's skill as a writer. The only part that didn't quite ring true was the scene at the very end, but that can be forgiven. A great read for those who enjoy a bit of the supernatural now and then.
Seema Rao
Jan 02, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: elementary
This is a really creepy but then heartwarming ghost story for the upper elementary set. A young girl thinks she is seeing her dead sister. Another young girl is dealing with the illness of her mother. But, assuredly, the ending is sweet.
Dec 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Charis Cotter is magic. I've never been to Newfoundland in my life but feel like I know every inch of the places she describes. Cotter produces another great read for kids who like getting lost in a spooky read with compelling characters. She's totally the M. Night Shyamalan of kidlit!
Rachel Seigel
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
A beautifully-written story about the complexities of mother-daughter relationships, healing, and ghosts!
Mary-Esther Lee
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kidbooks
I like Charis Cotter's ghost stories. They're mysterious and spooky but not too scary, and they're filled with emotional depth and resonance. I also like that her stories are set in Newfoundland.
Hope Reads
May 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebooks-i-owe
What a wonderful story; I enjoyed every bit of it.
Alison Yntema
Aug 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing! Loved it.
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very interesting and emotional stories. With Alice in wonderland parallels to top it off.
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Charis Cotter is a writer, editor and storyteller living in Newfoundland. She grew up in Cabbagetown and Parkdale in downtown Toronto. After taking a degree in English at Glendon College, York University, she went on to study acting at The Drama Studio in London, England. After several years as an actor, she moved into publishing, where she has been working as a freelance editor and writer for mor ...more
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