ARC Review – These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

These Shallow Graves Cover

These Shallow Graves

Author: Jennifer Donnelly

Expected Publication: October 27th, 2015

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Format: e-ARC, 429 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery Thriller

Read: September 2015

Jennifer DonnellyGoodreads

I received an e-ARC of this book from Delacorte Press and Random House Children’s via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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 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 shot himself while cleaning his pistol. One of New York City’s wealthiest men, he owned a newspaper and was a partner in a massive shipping firm, and Jo knows he was far too smart to clean a loaded gun.
The more Jo hears about her father’s death, the more something feels wrong. Suicide is the only logical explanation, and of course people have started talking, but Jo’s father would never have resorted to that. And then she meets Eddie—a young, smart, 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. But 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 this time the truth is the dirtiest part of all.

Plot – 5 out of 5 stars
Loved this! I was hooked from the moment it started and could not stop reading. It’s mysterious and suspenseful. There is so much going on and it pulls you in and keeps you engaged the whole way. The thriller part is insane and there are some many twists and turns, most of them you never see coming. My favorite is that the issues that occurred during that particular time in history aren’t hidden from you, they’re shoved right into your face and it’s a shock to the system.
Writing Style – 4 out of 5 stars
Obviously the most important part of this for me is that it’s historically accurate. The characters talk and think and act like the time period that they are in which is awesome. It’s medium paced but doesn’t push back the exciting moments of the plot. There is some mature content but it’s done very well. It’s descriptive and elaborate and my favorite part of it all, it’s feministic. There is so much feminism in this book, it pours off the pages and it’s amazing.
Characters – 5 out of 5 stars
Love them all. So much. There is so much substance and complexity in all the characters and it’s so awesome! Jo, our main character, is so badass. She’s really curious, which in her time was pretty dangerous for a girl, but she’s determined as all get out. She’s brave and strong. She wants to be able to do whatever she desires with her life instead of being married off to whoever wants her and then be shut up with no opinions til the end of her days. With all her fierce qualities, she is still unsure of what she’s doing. She is fighting with herself between doing what she feels is right and what she’s been told to do her entire life. Our male protagonist, Eddie, is great. He is the perfect counterpart for Jo, worried about her safety but not stifling her creativity. He’s honest and blunt when it comes to cruel truths. He’s protective, strong and caring. He’s just as curious as Jo and they make a really great team. The supporting characters are all amazing, and that’s saying something because there’s a lot of them. They’re intriguing and well thought out. They all have a different place in this time we are learning about and it was very interesting to see how their lives turn out to be.


I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this book in the beginning but the first few chapters hooked me in and it was addicting.

The plot of this book is like a murder mystery but extremely personal. We follow our main character as she searches for the truth regarding her father’s death. She convinces a young reporter, who made her aware of the fact that there might’ve been foul play involved in her father’s death, to help her find out what really happened. Because of her status in society and her being a woman obviously, she has to do all the research in secret and she has to sneak around at night which is very unbecoming of a young lady in her time. She ends up in places she’s never even known existed and in situations that are dangerous. There are so many things that happen that open her eyes to what the world really eyes and she is so determined to change things for the better, for herself and the people around her. It’s mysterious and suspenseful. It keeps you on the edge of your seat. Every time you think the case is solved and we know who did it, new information pops up and you have no idea who could’ve done it anymore. The end is super surprising and I had an inkling of the culprit but it still blew my mind.

Jo is amazing. My feminist dream inspiration. She wants to be a reporter, which in her time is pretty much impossible since she’s you know a girl. But she is so determined and headstrong. She wants to right the injustices of the world and it’s freaking awesome. The problem is she’s constantly warring herself between what she wants to do with her life and what’s expected of her. I just found her to be so real and tangible. There must have been girls like her, ones that wanted to leave the normal and do something else. Girls that paved the way for us to be where we are now.

Eddie is great. At first his intentions are more selfish in regards to helping Jo, he just wants a big story to make it big. But slowly but surely, he just wants to help her know the truth and does whatever it takes and helps her do whatever it takes to make that happen. I feel like he was the perfect counteract to Jo in this book. Usually guys in books are there to kind of boost the girl up into what she is supposed to become. Eddie takes a backseat, he’s the supporter. This is Jo’s story and her life and what she wants to do with it and he’s just there to help make it happen and I loved that.

Fay, Tumbler, the Tailor, Mad Mary. There are so many amazing supporting characters that aren’t only a part of the story but that help push it forward with their personalities, their thoughts, their dreams and their actions. I just love this book. I’m kind of gushing now but it’s necessary. They are all freaking awesome and I wish I could talk in depth about their impact on Jo and her life but it’s just so much better when you read it for yourself.

So that’s it for this review! Thanks for reading. Make sure you get this book! It’s amazing and more people need to read it. See you on my next post!




5 thoughts on “ARC Review – These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

  1. I had to check this out after your other post and I’m so glad I did. It sounds amazing, especially what you said about the male characters always being the ones that boost the girls instead of the girls just doing it by themselves. I hate when that happens and I’m glad that this book doesn’t fall into that!

    Liked by 1 person

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