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These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

“These Shallow Graves” by Jennifer Donnelly was so good. Historical fiction is newer to young adult. I haven’t found a good historical fiction YA book until now. Jo is a very intelligent young woman with an “Old Money” family. All Jo wants is the freedom to be her own person. She wants to be a journalist but it is frowned for a woman of her station. Society expects Jo to marry and have babies and go to social gatherings but that is the farthest thing from what Jo wants. When Jo gets news that her father committed suicide, everything she thought she knew changes.

Jo is a very feisty woman. I loved her to death. She wants to show the injustice that happens to women by becoming a journalist. Everyone in her life discourages her to do so until she meets Eddy. Now Eddy doesn't want to encourage Jo at all but he ends up depending on her and enjoying her company. These two come from completely different worlds and they find some way to compliment each other. I really liked the interactions that Eddy and Jo have together. These two characters are completely fascinating. Some days they love to be together and other days they hate seeing each others faces. I feel like this really shows a real life couple.

Something that I really liked about the story was Donnelly's setting. This book takes place in the past so the division of the upper class and the lower class is very much present. You can tell what characters are well off and snobbish and then you have characters that are trying to do whatever they can o survive even though it is a crime. I feel as if this gave the story so much more depth. These characters live such amazing and terrible lifestyles. There are children that are trained to be pickpockets and young girls that are forced to sell their bodies in prostitution. Donnelly doesn't sugar coat any of it. My heart ached for characters like Fay.

This is the first book that I have read by Donnelly. I really enjoyed the story. Donnelly was able to keep my attention the entire time. I loved how the story flowed. Donnelly's words are so captivating. This world that Donnelly brings the reader into is amazing. I felt like I was truly transported back into time when women had fewer choices and children were stolen off the street. In some ways the modern world hasn't changed, we just have more technology.

Kim Bubbs did such a great job narrating this story. She was able to keep my attention as the reader/listener. I really enjoyed the voices that she made and how animated she was with her voice. I feel like it takes a lot to keep someone's attention when they are reading a book an I thought she did a great job at it.


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