West, Jacqueline. Still Life (The Books of Elsewhere #5)
June 17th 2014
Olive is still uneasy about Aldous McMartin, and even though the cats are guarding the house, she never feels safe. With the help of Rutherford and his grandmother, as well as Walter (who is living in Morton's house and studying with Mrs. Dewey), she manages to locate Morton's father and brings him back, and also uncovers some additional clues to the mystery of the paintings. She finds out that Morton's mother also was an artist who studied with Aldous, and had the power to make people tell her the truth. Olive also finds Aldous' sister, who had consumption, hidden in a room behind a still life painting, but she's unsure whether to trust her or not. It's hard to know whom to trust-- her art teacher, Ms. Teedlebaum, may know more about the situation than she is letting on, and Morton's parents are not entirely helpful, either. Olive even starts to doubt that the cats are on her side, and her parents are so clueless and disconnected that she can't ask them for help. When Aldous reappears, he is ready to completely destroy Elsewhere. Does Olive have the power, as well as the help she needs, to destroy him and save Elsewhere?
Strengths: Five books is just about perfect for a series, so it was good to see this wrapped up. I loved the winter setting, the surprise people from the past, and how Elsewhere is saved. It was also a nice touch to have Olive make a friend at the end of the book.
Weaknesses: I somehow forgot just how Walter came to be in the picture, and the utter cluelessness of the parents seemed a bit extreme. Better than having Olive be an orphan, I suppose!