Series: The Grave Winner #1
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Date Published: May 12, 2013
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Source: Provided by author for honest review
Description: Leigh Baxton is terrified her mom will come back from the dead -- just like the prom queen did.
While the town goes beehive over the news, Leigh bikes to the local cemetery and buries some of her mom’s things in her grave to keep her there. When the hot and mysterious caretaker warns her not to give gifts to the dead, Leigh cranks up her punk music and keeps digging.
She should have listened.
Two dead sorceresses evicted the prom queen from her grave to bury someone who offered certain gifts. Bury them alive, that is, then resurrect them to create a trio of undead powerful enough to free the darkest sorceress ever from her prison inside the earth.
With help from the caretaker and the dead prom queen, Leigh must find out what’s so special about the gifts she gave, and why the sorceresses are stalking her and her little sister. If she doesn’t, she’ll either lose another loved one or have to give the ultimate gift to the dead – herself.
The Grave Winner is a unique kind of YA horror story. I would say I give it about 3.5 stars. I liked it and thought it was really entertaining, but there were a few things that didn’t quite work for me, so it didn’t quite earn that 4 star rating.
I liked the way the plot unfolded and how we really didn’t know what was going on at first. Leigh’s mother dies and as they bury her, Leigh sees the former cheerleader Sarah in the graveyard, surrounded by all this darkness. Thing is – Sarah committed suicide. So now Leigh is terrified that her mother will come back from the dead and starts to bury some of her mother’s belongings in the grave to keep her mother where she is, and trying to help her rest peacefully. Oops, apparently giving gifts to the dead is a bad thing. A strange boy keeps digging up her “gifts” and from there the story line unravels and I enjoyed how we slowly learn a little more about the Sorceressi and the Trammelers until we get the final bombshell at the end, that I’m not going to share here, but I am going to say that I didn’t see that coming so that was really cool and things finally made sense.
This story was so creepy! All the scenes with the Sorceressi in the graveyard were so dark and the descriptions gave me some creepy visuals. The spider scenes – well, those made my skin crawl and I wanted to scream “Riddikulus” to make it better. Some of the graveyard scenes toward the end of the book were a bit over the top for me, and I thought the Sorceressi fighting over their “grave winner” was a bit obnoxious. I found myself skimming over some scenes that were just too much for me.
I enjoyed the friendship between Leigh and her best friend Jo and the great bond Leigh has with her kid sister Darby. I didn’t feel the love triangle was quite that believable. Callum’s feeling seem to come out of nowhere and his behavior wasn’t consistent. Though, teenage boys aren’t really all that consistent with their feelings are they? He just rubbed me the wrong way for a love interest. I did like Tram a lot though, and liked how their feelings grew and weren’t instalove.
I really liked how our young main character Leigh had to make a sacrifice to protect a loved one. I really enjoy stories where the characters have to make difficult choices and sacrifice for others. Even though that part was predictable based on the blurb, it was still an enjoyable part of the book.
This was an enjoyable read and I would definitely recommend it to fans of YA and horror/paranormal.