Review

PUBLICATION DATE: JUNE 1, 2011

G

ravestone begins shortly after the shocking conclusion of Solitary.  Chris Buckley only had four friends at his new school.  He’s now reduced to two friends and one of them will not even talk to him.  The love of his life is gone and he’s left with an overwhelming sense of loss.  However, his bizarre life moves on and he soon finds himself uncovering even more dark and sinister secrets about the creepy town of Solitary.  As if this isn’t enough drama in his life, he also finds himself in the middle of a love triangle—his suddenly dull life exploding or perhaps imploding.  In the second book of The Solitary Tales, Gravestone dives deeper into the town’s past while at least offering just a glimmer of hope to Chris’ rather depressing life.

I didn’t intend to review this book.  I got behind on my reviews in 2011 and didn’t get a chance to read this one until almost a year after its release.  I read it in order to catch up with the series in preparation to review Temptation.  However, as I was reading it, the review pretty much wrote itself in my head and I decided I might as well type it out.  So, here goes.

By the time Solitary ended I had become a little beaten down by the drama and teenage angst—I can only handle a limited amount of melodrama.  But the story was good and there were a lot of unanswered questions.  So I was willing to tackle another story of teenage love, lost, and a creepy, sinister town.  Gravestone starts out with quite a bit of drama.  Yes, I realize this is a teen novel and I am older than the target audience, but once again it pushed my tolerance of self-pity and teenage cynicism.  About the time I was ready to take a two-by-four to Chris though, in comes the wonderful character of Iris.  I have been waiting for the arrival of an adult that acts like an adult.  Yay!  I love her character.  She added such a nice dynamic and a breath of fresh air to a story that was honestly becoming quite depressing.

In addition to Iris adding a glimmer of hope to the story, the reader finally gets to find out a bit about Solitary’s history.  A lot is still left unanswered, but there appears to be great potential in this story line.  Additionally, the cult-like aspects further solidify, leaving little doubt as to where several of the characters stand.

At times Gravestone leaves the reader wondering what is a dream and what is reality.  Thrasher really does a brilliant job of setting the tone and mood of this story in a way that allows the reader to feel the hazy oppression that Chris is dealing with.  The first person perspective serves to intensify the overall creepy feel to the novel.  Then again, maybe the creepiness was just too much time in the mind of a 16 year old boy :-) .

What teenage drama is complete without a nice love triangle?  Yip, the reader is treated to a few laughs at Chris’ expense as the male teenage mind is totally exposed for its utter lack of comprehension.  Seriously, he could not be more clueless, which added a little bit of lightness to an otherwise heavy book.

Overall Gravestone is a good second book in this series.  It’s still a little too melodramatic for my taste and I do long for more pivotal and solid adult role models to give some credibility to the adult population.  However, the story is still good and I am very much interested in finding out exactly what’s up with this odd little town.