Book: These Shallow Graves
Author: Jennifer Donnelly
Number of Pages: 496
The Basics:Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo secretly dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter like the trailblazing Nellie Bly.My Thoughts and Musings:
Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found dead. Charles Montfort accidentally shot himself while cleaning his revolver. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun.
The more Jo uncovers about her father’s death, the more her suspicions grow. There are too many secrets. And they all seem to be buried in plain sight. Then she meets Eddie—a young, brash, infuriatingly handsome reporter at her father’s newspaper—and it becomes all too clear how much she stands to lose if she keeps searching for the truth. Only now it might be too late to stop.
The past never stays buried forever. Life is dirtier than Jo Montfort could ever have imagined, and the truth is the dirtiest part of all.
When I first saw this book on netgalley I fangirled because of the author. I LOVE Jennifer Donnelly, Her writing style is beautiful and lyrical. I love how she weaves stories and how she makes characters come to life. I was really excited to see and even more excited to have the chance to read it. Due college apps among other things I had to put off reading it until recently and now have finally read and fallen in love with it.
The plot is impeccable. I absolutely loved all of it. Donnely has an amazing way of creating a world and story that feels really real. The plot is original and different. It has social commentary for the time as well allusions to well known people and events of the time period. I love the depiction of society and the way Jo's world and the "real" world contrasts. The storyline is so fluid that it is able to take so many turns. Jo's journey to find the truth about her father becomes this giant thing that encompasses her world. Within this journey to find the truth about her father's death she also finds the truth about love and even herself. She discovers that her world is as broken as the one outside of it, just with a better, more beautiful facade. Jo has been sheltered and protected and has never seen the world for all that it is. She's seen the good, golden, happy bits and through this journey she is able to realize she was right in wanting more than what was being given or rather forced upon her. I love everything about the story line. It is well developed and intriguing, trust me you'll want to stay up reading it! The plot twists are mind blowing!
I can definitely relate to Jo. And I think that's why I love this book so much. Most of the characters are like that. Characterization is on point. You get to see different sides to different characters. Jo is strong but has her moments when she's not as strong. Jo is sweet, but also a badass. Eddie is snarky know it all, but a kind soul. Theres so many aspects to the characters that it's very easy to fall into the story. Like I already said I loved the social commentary and the secondary characters really helped drive that point in. Fay and Tumblr are kids that were taken in by a man and as a result they are forced to steal and the like in order to make him money. These characters where some of the most heartbreaking to read about but also the most inspiring. Fay is one of those characters that while doesn't have a lot of space in the book, makes a really big impact.
As for the romance...not gonna lie I loved it but it's also very frustrating. Eddie is kind of a jerk at first but once he lets his guard down, he's hard not to love. The love story is secondary to everything else going on in the book, which I loved. It allowed other things to shine and never overpowered the book. It was well developed and sweet. It was a little bit cliche with the whole "not part of the same social class thing" but I think it fit in with the social commentary of the time. I think that this part of the book was really powerful in showing how girls of the time period were treated and how they were stripped of their own free will at times (no matter the social class). Eddie never treats Jo differently, which is a big reason why I love him and why I ship them!
Overall this book is awesome and you should read it!