Friday, February 26, 2016

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

Genre:  YA Historical Fiction

Description (taken from Jennifer Donnelly's website):
New York, 1890. A wealthy family. A deadly secret. A young woman with more to lose than she knows.

Josephine Montfort is one of the city’s most eligible heiresses, and as such, she understands the importance of doing what is expected. She knows that a suitable marriage and a comfortable life is what she should dream of—but her heart can’t help yearning for more.

But then Jo’s father dies violently, and her charmed life is suddenly shattered. His death appears to have been a tragic mistake, but Jo quickly discovers that the details of his death don’t quite add up. If her father’s death wasn’t accidental, could it have been suicide? Or worse….murder?

Jo is desperate to uncover the truth, but escaping her gilded cage is dangerous, and soon it’s hard to know who can be trusted. A chance encounter with handsome journalist Eddie Gallagher shows Jo just how dangerous digging up her family’s past will be—but some secrets can’t stay hidden, no matter how deep you bury them.

Jo is the editor of her school's newspaper.  All she dreams about is being a reporter like Nellie Bly.  Unfortunately, she spends her life in a rich woman's cage doing what's best for her family.  But when she's unexpectedly called home due to her father's sudden death, she can't leave it to rest.  She's determined to find out what happened in his final moments even if it means uncovering secrets.

When Jo shows up at her father's newspaper company, she meets a reporter called Eddie.  Eddie is looking for the next big story, and when he sees her looking for answers, he sees a future for himself.  As they agree to help each other, they get more than they bargained for.  As they're unlikely friendship evolves, Jo realizes the world isn't as nice as she was brought up to think it was.

This was a classic who-dunnit story set in early New York.  We got to see how sheltered a life an heiress can lead as well as how bad the slums were.  I loved seeing Jo break free from her cage.  And even though I had every plot twist and spoiler figured out, I still loved the writing.  And the ending was one I kind of love yet hate.  It's hard not to love it once you've fallen in love with the characters.

I love Jennifer Donnelly's writing.  It brings more to a story instead of just the plot.  I recommend you pick up at least one of her books.

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