The Grave Keepers by Elizabeth Byrne

   The Grave Keepers by Elizabeth Byrne, Harper Teen, 2017. ISBN 9780062484758

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre:  Fantasy

What did you like about the book? In this clever novel set in rural New York state, everybody acquires a grave at age 13, which they tend and where they go to think and have time to themselves. It feels like a realistic and down to earth (pun intended!) way to see life, as a precursor to death. But the first voice the reader hears is a that of a ghost who haunts the family, specifically sisters Laurel and Athena, daughters of the family that oversees the cemetery. This adds an air of ghostly intrigue as the two sisters strive to make their way, as outcasts, and as survivors of the very real tragedy of their older sister’s death. Each girl is a well-developed character with idiosyncratic and unique struggles. Coming of age, dealing with death, family secrets, with an added ghostly twist, all mesh to make this novel a fun read.

To whom would you recommend this book?  This is for upper elementary school and teen readers who like a little paranormal twist to family and personal drama.

Who should buy this book? Elementary, middle school and public libraries

Where would you shelve it ? Teen fiction

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? If you like a subtle paranormal presence in your coming of age novel, then this one’s for you.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Date of review: December 28, 2017

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