Friday, November 8, 2013

The Grave Artist by Paula Lynn Johnson

Release Date: March 29, 2013
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform  (Kindle version first released on March 12, 2012)

Rating: 4 out 5 stars.

Still reeling from the divorce of her parents and the subsequent move from her hometown, Clair finds herself struggling with everything. She tries to find her way through the emotional landmines by immersing herself in the only thing she knows that she's good at - her art. But when she begins drawing winged skulls at alarmingly increased rate, Clare is forced to solve the mystery.

She begins to unravel the clues with the help of her only friend, Gollum. As she finds the answers to her questions, Clare must pay a higher price. Driven to the brink, she pushes forward in order to solve the mystery and to keep herself from going insane. But can she do it without the answers taking her life?

I'll admit that I'm still relatively new to the YA genre. When I began reading this book, I wasn't really sure what to expect from it. It didn't take me very long to figure out that there was a lot of tension between the characters and the paranormal aspect of the story helped to keep the level of tension high throughout the whole story until the mystery was solved. This book is one of those that once you begin reading, it's hard to put down for very long.

From the beginning, the reader is shown the major conflict within Clare's family. Everyone is having a hard time with the divorce. Each of the main characters are giving a chance to reveal the pain and damage that the upheaval in the family has done to them. Written from Clare's point of view, we do see more of her angst and turmoil and yes, it's of the teenage variety. She's sixteen. I wouldn't expect anything less. The author also shows us the hurt and turmoil of her twenty-something sister, her mother and even her father. It's these glimpses that help to make the characters feel real and distinct from one another.

The story doesn't slack off in the pacing department. Once things begin happening in earnest for Clare, they continue until they reach the very end. I expected a few twists and turns and thought I had everything figured out until the last couple of chapters. What I had been envisioning wasn't what happened. It was a pleasant surprise even as it made me sad. There was a nice blend of action sequences and times where the characters paused to catch their breath.

In truth, this book was a good way to spend a chilly evening. I enjoyed the history and scientific lessons included within the hunt for answers. It all added up to a good read that went fairly quick. If you're looking for a good, first step into the YA genre that's not overbearing, this is among one of the books you should try.

The Grave Artist by Paula Lynn Johnson is currently available for purchase in either paperback or Kindle form. You can purchase a copy from Amazon by clicking the link below.
The Grave Artist by Paula Lynn Johnson

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