ARC Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly (good historical fiction…good not much else)

Posted September 24, 2015 by Ella

ARC Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly (good historical fiction...good not much else)

ARC Review: These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly (good historical fiction…good not much else)These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly
Published by Delacorte Press on October 27, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher

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.

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.

A copy of the book was provided for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore does not affect the opinion or content of the review.

These Shallow Graves is 2/3 exasperating, 1/3 enjoyable with a healthy dose of, “Whyyyy did you do that, book??!!” on the side.

I’ve read some of Jennifer Donnelly’s other (adult) books because my older sister pushed them on me (thanks, sis) and I really think she writes better for adults then she does teens. In here, the writing is cautious and tentative, like Donnelly isn’t sure if she’s doing it right and it made the writing come across as slightly stiff.

As characters go, the main character, Jo, reminded me SO much of Fiona from Donnelly’s Tea Rose series that it was almost like reading about the same character. I didn’t really care for Eddie, but his character was interesting. The differences between New York’s rich and New York’s poor was fascinating to read about and the character cast from both were enjoyable to read about.

The romance was the biggest thing that annoyed me as there was SO much angst! Jo meets Eddie, Jo immediately thinks Eddie is the most good-looking guy she’s ever seen and OMG! Look how bluuueeeeee his eyes are!! Jo’s never SEEN such bluuueeeee eyes on a man before and it’s a fact she brings so many times during the book, that by the end, I wanted to punch Eddie’s baby blues just so Jo would shut up.

There was so much angst between Jo and Eddie and the way it draggggged on throughout the whole novel definitely lowered the rating.

One minute, they “love” each other, next minute, they don’t, then they do, then they don’t, and the cycle repeats itself until the romance just becomes…not very romantic any more and kind of fizzles out which frustrated me because so much of the book is ABOUT their relationship, gah!

The length also troubled me.

It was too long and 100 pages could’ve been cut and I wouldn’t have missed anything. The story goes at such a slow pace that it becomes tedious in places and that’s never fun to read.

But hey. It wasn’t all bad. It was historical fiction (HISTORICAL FICTION OMG!) and Donnelly writes really good historical settings so I enjoyed that! And the cast of characters were all unique and interesting especially the thieves and pickpockets (hehe) and even though Jo could be very annoying over her obsession with Eddie’s eyes, she was a character I enjoyed reading about.

Blogger at

Ella is a former co-blogger at Bookwyrming Thoughts. More of Ella's posts can be found on her own blog, Novelly Ella

Categories: Books
Tags: , , , ,

Want to be a bookwyrm and get all the bookish posts when it goes live?