12 June, 2018

{ ARC Review } Girl at the Grave by Teri Bailey Black


about the book }


Girl at the Grave by Teri Bailey Black
standalone novel
Publishes August 7, 2018 by Tor Teen
e-ARC provided by netgalley
Valentine has spent years trying to outrun her mother's legacy. But small towns have long memories, and when a new string of murders occurs, all signs point to the daughter of a murderer.

Only one person believes Valentine is innocent—Rowan Blackshaw, the son of the man her mother killed all those years ago. Valentine vows to find the real killer, but when she finally uncovers the horrifying truth, she must choose to face her own dark secrets, even if it means losing Rowan in the end.

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my review }

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There are few things as disappointing as disliking a book that you’ve been anticipating. Especially one with murder! Girl at the Grave, I feel, had a lot of potential, and yet… 

Here I am. Here we are. I am sad. 

There are a few good things about Grave. The main character, Valentine, was well written. I liked her most times. The love interest—the main one—(take that how you will)—Rowan, was super sweet and I enjoyed the scenes he and Valentine shared. There was a convoluted history in their town that was messy and confusing and totally appropriate for a small town, and it really worked for the setting. 

There are more bad things about Grave, which is unfortunate. 

First being the romance. There is a love triangle, so I’m just getting that out of the way. There is boy one, Rowan, whose name—his full name—was said approximately four or five times in the first two pages of the kindle file. (So. You kind of knew who the love interest would be right away, if you didn’t read the synopsis.) There is boy two, Sam, who is Valentine’s best friend and in love with Valentine. 

I’ll be honest, I don’t really mind love triangles. Shocker, since I complain about them all the time. What bothered me about this one was that, a lot of the romance, between… uh both? guys? happens during the middle of the book, at which just completely drags the novel. Hardly anything happens with the case or the murder midway. Instead, Valentine and Rowan spend time together. They get involved in romantic drama. Sam and Valentine get together. There’s that drama. It was a lot of back and forth and second guessing. I’m just— 

It’s a lot of fucking drama and all of it is so annoying and so pointless. To add insult to injury: it’s quite obvious Rowan was going to be the guy, anyway. But then Sam was added to the pot, and instead of making him a kind guy who would stick with Valentine despite everything going on, he was a jealous asshole who never had Valentine’s best interests at heart. He said cruel things because she wouldn’t be with him when their drama was going down, so forgive me for not being really forthcoming. 

The first murder created some action in the beginning, but it was slow going. I let that slide, because as I said in the beginning: there’s a complicated, messy history surrounding Valentine and some of that needed to be introduced. With what happened in the middle, the entire book suddenly felt less murder mystery and more modern contemporary with the relationship drama. When the other murders were discovered, there was just… no suspense. There was no danger or anything that really kept me hooked. By the end, the reveal was so lukewarm that I didn’t really care. 

Overall, this was just a miss for me. I had high hopes for Girl at the Grave but alas. 2.5 stars.

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