book review · books · bookshelf · fiction · literacy · tag · ya · young adult

These Shallow Graves

Warnings: descriptions of dead bodies, death, mild swearing.
Author: Jennifer Donnelly


A wealthy family. A deadly secret. A girl with more to lose than she knows.

NEW YORK, 1890
Josephine Montfort is from one of New York’s most respected and wealthiest families. Like most affluent girls, Jo’s future is set: a comfortable life in a suitable marriage – but her heart can’t help yearning for more.
And then her father is found dead. It was supposedly a tragic accident, although some details don’t seem to quite add up. Was it really an accident… or worse, murder?
With the help of a young reporter, Eddie Gallagher, Jo is in a race against time to find the culprit. Escaping her gilded cage could be dangerous and Jo will have to face some dark characters on the gritty streets of New York. But some secrets can’t stay hidden forever, no matter how deep you bury them.’


This was an impulse buy after reading Paper Fury’s review, but I’ve only just got to it now because of the pile of books that is my TBR.  Honestly, I loved this book. Especially the characters. Jo is a sassy, new-world feminist and don’t even get me STARTED on Fay. I adore her so much and I want to steal her and protect her from the world.

I have been known to be partial to a murder mystery, but I find it quite difficult to get into them sometimes if they’re not well written or don’t have a good premise. But this book interested me from the start (I also love crime shows, so anything like Criminal Minds is a yes from me). The involvement of early forensics was also really cool, and gave reasons for their conclusions, instead of just guesswork.

The characters were so diverse, I think just because of the class difference between a lot of the major characters. Especially the younger children living on the streets, because of their individuals stories you feel connected to them even through they have no dialogue. I felt like a lot of the upper-class characters like Bram and Jo’s mother felt quite bland because of their sheltered lifestyle, which made me connect with Jo more as I wanted to get out to the more interesting people.



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