Arc Review: Shadow Grave by Marina Cohen

Title: Shadow Grave
Author: Marina Cohen
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy / Paranormal
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2022
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a complimentary earc to review! All opinions are my own.

This town has a secret it might just kill to keep…

12-year-old Arlo is afraid of the creepy zombie show all his friends watch, of fire, of his own shadow—but most of all he’s afraid of losing his mother to the disease that nearly claimed her life the previous year. While on a Thanksgiving road trip with his mother and sister, Lola, their car hits a strange beast and they become stranded in an old logging town with something unnatural living in its surrounding woods—a dark secret the townsfolk will kill to keep.” (Author’s Website)

This book wasn’t what I was expecting but in a totally good way! I really enjoyed the plot and the characters that were a part of this spooky book.

The book is told in three parts. The first and last parts come from the point-of-view of Arlo. He is a 12 year-old who is on vacation with his 9 year-old sister, Lola, and their mother. A happy thanksgiving away is meant to bring fun times but it becomes a disaster when they get in an accident and find themselves asking for help in a town called Livermore.

Arlo is a character I could relate to even though I am an adult. His sister watches a zombie show with him and she prefers that over unicorns. He was scared of zombies at her age. I still am, haha. Arlo watches this show only so that he doesn’t feel left out when his friends talk about it. I can understand not wanting to feel left out. I remember those days and it’s not a nice feeling. He also deals with anxiety and during the trip his mother is always trying to remind him that he is strong and to think positive. Because of his anxiety, he tries to have a plan in the back of his head. A perfect example of this was his use of first aid after the accident. He was a quick thinker and got the job done! Because of these two things, I feel like many kids will be able to relate to him.

When the book splits into another point-of-view, it comes from a girl named Alice who lives in Livermore. The town is very odd and so her point-of-view was quite interesting! We learn about a couple secrets when it comes to the town through her and she is a great friend towards Arlo and his sister Lola.

The plot wasn’t as spooky as I thought it would be but it didn’t stop me from enjoying what this book had to offer. I liked learning about the secrets of the town and it’s people. There are some cool plot twists as well. Although I still have a question or two about one thing in particular, it makes sense that it stays a mystery and I’m okay with how it all went down. I don’t think that kids will mind either.

I really liked the author’s note at the end as she explains where she found her inspiration, which does indeed include a real ghost town! Using things from history always intrigue me when it comes to these types of books.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read! This would be perfect for those who want to try a spooky book but want to read one that is more mild.

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