My Thoughts: Anyone who knows me knows that I am a ridiculous Melissa Marr fan. If we've ever talked in real life or on Twitter, it's likely I've raved about her Wicked Lovely series to you at least twice. I can honestly say that I didn't know what to expect from Marr's adult book, Graveminder, other than pure awesomeness. A departure from YA AND a departure from fey?! I'm not good with accepting change and this was something I was honestly wary about.
Published: William Morrow (May 17, 2011)
Series: Book 1 of 2
Source: ARC Tour provided by author
GoodReads Summary: Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville, the town where Bek spent her adolescence. There wasn't a funeral that Maylene didn't attend, and at each Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words "Sleep well, and stay where I put you."
Now Maylene is dead and Bek must go back to the place--and the man--she left a decade ago. But what she soon discovers is that Maylene was murdered and that there was good reason for her odd traditions. It turns out that in placid Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected. Beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D--a place from which the dead will return if their graves are not properly minded. Only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk.
Guys, I love being wrong. I'm not afraid to admit it either. First off, I love every single cover of Marr's and this is no exception. The creepy barn, the sepia-tone, the oddly placed flowers. But it's so much more than just the cover. Marr has taken the morbid duty of undertaker (and gravesite keeper-upper) and made them magical. The depth--OH, THE DEPTH--of the characters makes my spine tingle with joy. Rebekkah, the protag, is a broken girl who runs from all the problems in her life. However, the small town of Claysville keeps beckoning her to return. She resists until her grandmother, Maylene, is brutally murdered. Which leads to more sadness and brokenness.
Bek's grief is palpable. Her counterpart, Byron, is her crutch. No matter how much Rebekkah resists him, she always finds herself back with him. The banter between the two was very sweet, though I do with Rebekkah would have a bit more of a spark to her. Her personality was reminiscent of Leslie from Ink Exchange, who I loved. She was so strong and pushed forward, regardless of the fact that the world around her was deteriorating.
The lore was FASCINATING. I loved the idea of Undertaker and Graveminder and their duties. I don't want to say too much on the roles for fear of spoilers, but Marr's forte is her gifted storytelling and her unwavering excellence at depicting angst and darkness.
Speaking of angst and darkness, wait until you guys meet Charlie. JUST YOU WAIT. While I do wish Charlie would've gotten more pagetime, I do have high hopes to see a lot more of him in future books. This tale is nowhere near over and I, for one, cannot wait to get my hands on the next installment.
Note: while this is marketed as an adult book and has adult themes in it, I do think (save for one romantic scene) that it'd be appropriate for most YAs to read.