Whispers from the Grave

Whispers from the Grave - Leslie Rule "Whispers from the Grave" is the first book I've read from author Leslie Rule, and I actually didn't know this was originally published back in 1995, so it's interesting to see how this story holds in contemporary measures versus back then. The book's cover makes it seem more ominous than it actually is, but it's a story that I think was worth the read.The story revolves around 17-year old Jenna, who resides in the year 2070. Jenna's your regular future teenager until her world turn right side up with a few significant discoveries. She finds a diary of a young woman named Rita, living in the 1970s who looks exactly like her, and finds a bond in reading her entries. Jenna also discovers that Rita was murdered. Determined to discover the truth about the mysterious owner of the diary, Jenna pursues the thread, only to realize she has a much closer connection to Rita than she could have ever imagined, and that much of what she'd known about her life was a lie.The story toggles between a murder mystery, time-travel race, and coming of age format. It has so many great ideas, but the execution of them, to me, was a bit off and confusing in spurts. For one, I thought Jenna sounded much younger than her respective age of 17 - she almost made me think she was either 14 or 15 given her respective voice. For another, the story commences on a rocky platform with the introduction of the characters, but once Jenna starts experimenting with her psychokinetic abilities and learns of the truth behind the diary and the secrets kept from her - it becomes much more interesting. I actually liked the time travel elements in this book - made it feel like it had a "Back to the Future" vibe to it. Jenna tries to save Rita's life and prevent all measure of things happening, only to discover that she's a more intricate part of the history than she bargained for and that the events were not as they seemed.I wish, in a way, that the characters were delved a bit more into - while I could say that I liked the general structure of some of the characters (Shane, Rita, Jenna, etc.), I never really felt that I got to know them in the harrowing sets of events. I understood Jenna's conflicting emotions in spurts, but it was presented in a bit of a harried way - and it wasn't always easy to follow.The ending somewhat ties off the threads established in the story, but it was more telling than showing, and while I appreciated that Jenna noted the changes in her society from the events altered in the past, I wish it'd come across a little smoother and more intimate rather than distant.I think young teens probably won't mind some of these qualms as they're reading, because it is an interesting story, but I think it could've been evened out a little more to give it a smoother flow and developed context and characterizations.Overall score: 3/5Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Andrews McMeel Publishing.