Format: Unabridged Audiobook
Runtime: 10 hours and 26 minutes
Read by: Emma Galvin
Release date: May 17th 2011
Published by William Morrow & Company
Taken from Amazon
When Rebekkah returns to her small-town home for her beloved Grandmother's funeral, little does she suspect that she is about to inherit a darkly dangerous family duty on behalf of Claysville's most demanding residents - the dead. Everyone in Claysville knows that the Barrows are no ordinary family, but no one can really explain why. When respected matriarch Maylene Barrow dies suddenly her granddaughter Rebekkah returns to the small town she grew up in, where she must face the demons of her past - the suicide of her half-sister Ella, the person she was closest to in the world, and the subsequent break-up of her parents' marriage.
And she also re-encounters Byron, Ella's old boyfriend, someone to whom she has always felt a deep and mysterious connection. But the demons of the past are nothing compared with what the future has in store for Rebekkah. Her grandmother has left her an inheritance both wonderful and terrible. An onerous responsibility now rests on her shoulders - one for which she is ill-prepared to say the least. For behind Claysville's community-spirited, small-town facade lies a dark secret. One that ties Rebekkah and Byron together in an inextricable bond and that will require them both to sacrifice everything to keep their friends and neighbours from harm.
I was so excited when I found out that Melissa Marr was going to write a book aimed at adults. I really enjoyed her Wicked Lovely series and hoped that her venture into adult territory might leave me reeling as much as Stephenie Meyer's The Host did. When I found out that Emma Galvin (the narrator I raved about in my review of Divergent) was to be the narrator, my expectations grew higher and higher.
I wish I could be as full of praise as I expected to be. Maybe some people will say that my expectations were too high to ever be met, but I disagree. I don't think expectations can ever be too high.
I have this little book that I write in while I'm reading books that I'm going to review. The first three comments about Graveminder were:
"This is taking its time... no idea what's going on..."
"It's chapter 13 and I just don't care about any of them..."
"Chapter 14 - Something interesting. Finally!"
Yup. Fourteen chapters before I engaged with the book on any level. Not so long ago I took part in WriteOnCon. During this week I picked up a pretty decent piece of writing advice from an author I can't remember. She said that no matter how long the book is, the conflict and any necessary (but of course, minimal) exposition should be down within the first thirty pages. There were conflicts from the get go with Graveminder. There was death, insecurity, lost love, enigma, a strange town with secrets... But I just didn't care. I thought Rebekkah, the main character, was a whiny, angst-ridden pain whose head was up her own... well, you get the picture. Byron was (of course) a romantic. But he was also kind of pathetic too. And he had a few proclivities which were decidedly stalker-esque. Okay, so he believes he and Rebekkah are destined to be together, but she's been saying no for years. Marr seems to think it romantic that he just doesn't stop. I found it creepy.
I also disliked the way the characters in the book used sex as some kind of escape-route when any sort of difficult conversation about "feelings" came up. I found this to be the opposite of what I expected from a book aimed at older readers. I found myself silently screaming at the characters to just grow-the-hell-up! (Except I wasn't thinking "hell"... keeping things kiddy-friendly!)
I did eventually become a bit more engaged in Graveminder. However, for me it was a thin text. The story was under-paced, the characters under-developed and the messages were...well, I don't think there were any. I'm not saying every book should have some grand allegorical agenda, but I do think that whenever you finish a book, you should be subtly changed in some way. All good stories should affect us somehow, otherwise what's the point?
I'm sad that I feel so negatively about Graveminder. I wanted to love it, but I ended up not even really liking it.
Two stars. Sigh. I honestly hated doing that. But it's my honest opinion. Ho hum...