Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Book Review: These Shallow Graves, by Jennifer Donnelly

These Shallow Graves
By: Jennifer Donnelly
ISBN-10: 0385737653
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Jo Montfort lives with her wealthy family in upstate New York. Jo knows she is expected to marry soon, but she’d rather be writing for the newspaper. When her father dies abruptly, Jo, grieved and shocked, teams up with Eddie, a reporter, to find out the reason behind her father’s mysterious death.

This is a young adult book that contains:

• Profanity (sh*t, p*ss, wh*re, d*mn, God, and h*ll)
• Violence (examining dead people, digging up a grave, murder, threatening to cut off someone’s nose, kneeing someone in the face, stepping on someone’s foot, a character gets beat up, shooting, blood, references to deaths, suicide, drowning, hungry children, and slavery)
• Kissing
• Remarks about breasts and a man’s bare chest
• References to sex and a man putting his hands under a girl’s shirt
• A boy and girl spend the night together (they kiss and sleep in the innocent sense)
• A man attempts to seduce a girl
• A man was cheating on his wife with a seventeen year old
• Discussions about brothels, prostitutes, and mistresses (some girls’ skimpy clothes are mentioned)
• A girl is forced into an insane asylum
• Lying
• Stealing
• References to mill girls being abused
• Drinking, drunkards, smoking, and morphine

These Shallow Graves is a thrilling historical mystery. While Jo is trying to find the cause of her father’s death, she escapades around New York and discovers pickpockets, prostitutes, and violent killers. Jo is a smart, strong heroine who teams up with a humorous and admirable gang over the course of the story.

Fourteen year olds and up will probably be fine to read this book, as there isn’t much profanity and only some references to sex. The biggest issue is all the talk of prostitution and violence.

Readers who enjoyed These Shallow Graves might also like Jackaby, by William Ritter.

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