If I could speak to every adult reader on the planet, I would encourage them to never treat teen fiction in a snobbish manner. There are a lot of good new releases on the teen market an incredible backlog of material for those of you who didn’t love reading quite so much in high school.
My most recent teen fiction read was The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni. It spoke to the part of my heart that still coos over Nate in The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (which I just added to my Kindle for $1.99 cause my hard copy is packed). The main similarity between these two volumes is that accusations of witchcraft alter — sometimes tragically — the lives of the main characters.
Beyond that, the actual plot build-ups go in different directions. The Caged Graves emphasizes the peculiar graves referenced in the title. The author actually based the story around real cage graves that she provides historical detail on at the end of the book. I think almost any regular fiction reader should be able to come up with a few good theories about why one would cage a grave and one of them will likely be right, but the unraveling of the”why” for that was pretty interesting in this volume.
I didn’t absolutely love the heroine, Verity, because she didn’t pick up on common threads all that well, but she did good enough to stay in my good graces and leave the book satisfying. This was largely based on the connection she formed with her mother while reading her journals and trying to parse out the reasons why this decent woman whose words she reads nearly daily was buried outside of the cemetery walls and entombed behind metal bars beside a sister-in-law who also died within the same time period.
Of course, few teen books are complete without a romance, and Verity has to deal with a bit of a love triangle as she discovers that a young doctor’s apprentice in town could be more interesting than the farmer she fell in love with via letter and promised to marry through the same medium. Both guys have their perks and faults, so there is no winning with either choice — which made it a little difficult to second guess this part, at least for me.
All and all, I would rank The Caged Graves as a 4 out of 5 star read and a good diversion for a couple of hours.