Please note: I won an ARC copy of this book from YA Highway. This does not influence my opinions in this review.
Synopsis (from GoodReads):When seventeen-year-old Breezy Lin wakes up in a shallow grave one year after her death, she doesn’t remember who killed her or why. All she knows is that she’s somehow conscious—and not only that, she’s able to sense who around her is hiding a murderous past. In life, Breezy was always drawn to the elegance of the universe and the mystery of the stars. Now she must set out to find answers and discover what is to become of her in the gritty, dangerous world to which she now belongs—where killers hide in plain sight and a sinister cult is hunting for strange creatures like her. What she finds is at once empowering, redemptive, and dangerous.
Review:When I started reading Shallow Graves, by Kali Wallace, I didn't know what to expect. I had won the book in a giveaway which I entered because (being honest here) the book cover piqued my interest. Was this a murder mystery? A supernatural fantasy? A Gothic horror? Well the answer is it is all three! What a treat it was to read!
The story centers around a girl named Breezy who wakes up in a shallow grave. She is disoriented and panicky. And there is a man digging her out, saying creepy things. What the Hell?
I don't like it to put spoilers in reviews, so will not say too much about the specifics of the story. But I will tell you what I loved about this book:
The Angst:Breezy wakes up a year after her death and has come to the realization that everything has changed for her, and that her loved ones have moved on. She feels free, yet stagnant at the same time. What is she supposed to do with her "life"? Why is she still able to move around? What is she? In many ways, these are questions all teens ask of themselves as they try to break free of others' expectations and begin to forge their own identity as adults. Breezy must come to terms with an existence that is far different from the one she had been planning. This is so heartbreaking.
The Mood:The book is very much a horror novel as there are truly terrifying scenes of dread and violence as Breezy is pursued by people wishing to exploit her. Hitchhiking across the U.S., Breezy encounters every person's nightmares from creepy rides to evangelical preachers who want to "save" her. The paranoia she develops is understandable as she doesn't know who she can trust.
The Story:Breezy's journey is one of finding out where she fits into the world. She has many people (primarily men) trying to tell her what she is and how she is supposed to react. People see her own uncertainty and seize on it to try and use her for their own means. As Breezy tries to sort out what it means to exist, she must confront an ancient evil to find answers to who (or what) she is.
Overall, I really enjoyed Shallow Graves. It had complex characters, mystery (How did she die, anyway?), and all out horror. I found many of the scenes touching as she tries to understand life, death, and everything in between.
Release Date: January 26th, 2016
Source: Giveaway from YA Highway (author website).
Recommendation: For horror & mystery fans, this is a creepy, poignant story of loss, and struggle and acceptance.
Would I read more from this author: Yes!