Publisher: Random House Delacorte
Pages: 496 pages
Source: For Review From Teenreads!
Rating: 4 Stars!
These Shallow Graves was such a complex, rich historical novel that brought me back into reading. Everything about it, from it's quirky, emotional characters to a dark plot had me racing through the pages. I read Donnelly's other novel, Revolution, and loved it. It was great knowing These Shallow Graves lived up to my expectations!
The novel circles around the Victorian era. Girls forced into arranged marriages. The corrupt media spreading lies. The powerful men dominating the social classes. Donnelly creates such a rich and detailed setting, I was automatically drawn into it. The protagonist, Joe Montfort is from a rich, well-established family. She has big dreams to become a new reporter, but as her father's fatal death comes crashing into her life, that dream is far from reality. Her dad's death instantly sets the dark, suspenseful tone of the novel. I greatly enjoyed how Donnelly took the type to establish Joe and her motivating and strong personality within the first few chapters.
As Joe searches for the answers to whom killed her dad, she meets Eddie Gallagher, a new reporter, someone she would never see herself talking with. Or much less fall in love. Joe and Eddies were great foil characters for each other. Joe is such a determined and strong willed character she balanced out Eddie's whimsical, caring attitude. The novel delves upon dark secrets hidden within Joe's world, but also the world Eddie comes from. While Donnelly's idea is not new, she presents it in her own way and provides a twist that I never saw coming!
The novel definitely kicked up as Joe and Eddies uncovered clues pertaining to her dad's killer. Joe and Eddies go through many emotional journeys from Joe's arranged marriage with Bram to a close betrayal from a family member, you can't help but be in her shoes. Another great thing was that Donnelly did not circle the whole novel around them. It was all about the killer and uncovering her family secrets. The romance between it all added to the emotional appeal of the novel and added a great depth to the novel.
In all honestly, I believed Donnelly could have sped up on revealing who the killer is. 496 pages was a lot and she could have produced a much stronger novel with fewer pages. Some chapters just dragged me down and I felt like it didn't contribute to the novel as a whole.
Ultimately, These Shallow Graves is one of my favorite historical YA novel from this year! Donnelly is back with a richly drawn novel filled with complex characters and a killer that will have you on the edge of you seat!