Title: The Caged Graves
Author: Dianne Salerni
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication Date: May 14, 2013
AR Levels: TBD
Goodreads Link: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12394044-the-caged-graves
In a nutshell: 17-year-old Verity Boone is returning to her hometown of Catawissa, Pennsylvania after being sent to live with relatives following the death of her mother. It's been 15 years since she left, and Verity is looking forward to seeing her father and to meeting her fiance, Nathaniel, in person since they've only been exchanging letters to this point, but Verity's arrival in town stirs up an old mystery surrounding her mother's and aunt's deaths. She is horrified to learn that their graves are caged in and interred outside the churchyard, and she is determined to find out why. The real question is whether the graves have cages to keep the living out or to keep the dead in.
I'd recommend this book for grades: 8 and up
I'd recommend it to: historical mystery/romance fans
What I liked most about this book: I confess I picked up this book because when it came across my desk I was intrigued by both the title and the cover and immediately wanted to know why those graves had cages myself. Once I read the blurb in the book jacket, I knew I had to read it. Apparently the author stumbled across these real-live caged graves in Pennsylvania and did some research on them. She found out who the two women were but could find no evidence of the reasoning behind the cages, so she wrote this book as an imaginative, fictional explanation. Fun fact: the cover image is taken by the author's husband and shows the actual graves. Way cool. As for the story itself, it's definitely a page turner full of suspense and mini cliffhangers, and there's a love triangle too (not the best, but okay). It's a quick, intriguing, and entertaining read.
Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): I won't say too much, but Verity's first encounter with her pen pal fiance doesn't go exactly as planned, and he's not quite who she imagined him to be. If only she'd had eHarmony, right? ;)
Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 4 stars (would be 5 if the romantic parts were a bit less cheesy)