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review 2018-07-10 19:16
Contemporary fiction meets supernatural thriller
Graveyard Shakes - Laura Terry

Continuing the trend of reading books selected for the Summer Reading program, I read Graveyard Shakes by Laura Terry. The reader follows two very different storylines that at the outset have no correlation to one another. The first revolves around two sisters who have newly arrived at a boarding school and are struggling to come to terms with their change of environment. The second focuses on a little ghost and his friend Modie (I don't know either) who as best as I can tell is a reanimated corpse. So on the one hand we are rooted in reality with a situation that seems very familiar: wanting to fit in yet also wanting to be recognized as the individual that you are. On the other hand, the supernatural elements of ghosts and zombies are compacted with horror because the only way that Modie can stay 'alive' is to absorb the soul of a dead (i.e. murdered) child. Yes, this is a middle grade graphic novel. (It is at this point that I have essentially 'sold' this book to the reluctant child reader standing in front of me while the parent stares at me open mouthed.) The good parts: The illustrative style was excellent and I really enjoyed the character journey of Victoria, the older sister. The not so good: It was way more disturbing and graphic than I expected plus the ending was entirely too predictable after all of the narrative build-up. While I did thoroughly enjoy the illustrations, I don't know that I'll be rushing out to read Terry's next work (unless the cover draws me in again). I didn't overwhelmingly dislike this book but I also didn't love it with all of my heart and soul (get outta here, Modie!). The little guys and ghouls in your life that love a good ghost story will probably fall head-over-heels for this one. 5/10

 

An example from the inside. [Source: A Kids Book A Day]

 

What's Up Next: The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey

 

What I'm Currently Reading: Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions by Russell Brand

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2017-10-01 00:00
Graveyard Shakes
Graveyard Shakes - Laura Terry I give Laura Terry props for writing and illustrating Graveyard Shakes. I tend to always think that someone does the writing and someone else does the illustrations, so it’s a pleasant surprise to encounter otherwise. Graveyard Shakes is aimed at middle grade readers. It’s simply laid out, and easy to follow. Because there are two child deaths (neither graphic, pardon the pun), I would advise parents to pre-read it to see if it is suitable for their child.

The problem with Graveyard Shakes is, essentially, that it’s just kind of forgettable. Even my 8 year old said “Eh, it was good. Just not great” as soon as we finished it. (And she’s a graphic novel fiend.)The illustrations are nice, but not outstanding. The story is a bit darker than I’m used to seeing in a kids book, with two child deaths in it, but nothing that makes an impression. Immediately after finishing it, I went to write this review and realized that I’d already forgotten the older sister’s name. Considering we spend as much time following her as we do Katie and Little Ghost and Modie, that serves as an indicator to her character.

The pacing of Graveyard Shakes is fine. It’s broken up into three parts, with the majority of the book focusing on the second section. The dialogue is adequate, again forgettable, with not a single line I set aside for a quote. There is a cool scene involving a super ghost. The scene involving the second child’s death was very well done. It wasn’t witnessed on page, but inferred in a way that even young readers can understand.

This is Laura Terry’s debut work, and upon learning that, Graveyard Shakes‘ mediocrity makes perfect sense. This is a ‘safe’ story written by someone who definitely has ability, but hasn’t yet found her niche. Given time and a bit more experience, we may see something unique develop as she pushes her boundaries.
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