The Grave Winner by Lindsey R. Loucks
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I had the privilege of watching this book unfold from its early drafts. And I'm so happy I stumbled upon Lindsey and her awesome debut YA novel. I hadn't read much in the YA department, but when I found this story at Critique Circle, I knew it was a "winner"!
The heroine of the story, Leigh, is a bit of an Emo girl, dresses in black, and hates the cheerleading crowd. But, she's a loyal big sister and daughter, and has to grow up considerably after her mom's recent death. It's actually at her mom's graveside service that Leigh witnesses the prom queen's grotesque resurrection. And all Leigh knows from that moment on is that, no matter how much she misses her mom, if something freaky is happening in that graveyard, she doesn't want her to come back like that.
As soon as the prom queen came back from the dead, it became obvious that this story was more than your typical teenage-angst novel. Oh, there's angst, all right. The beauty of Ms. Loucks's writing is that she so easily weaves the reality of teenage life into the paranormal happenings that Leigh and the whole town are facing.
While doing her best to keep her mom resting in peace, Leigh is battling the forces of young love. She's torn between her best friend's older brother Callum, and this handsome young graveyard caretaker named Tram. We fall in love with Leigh while she negotiates the rough waters of teenage hormones, trying to find her place in her diminished family and high school, AND trying to keep the dead where they should be.
Lindsey Loucks' writing is witty, gritty, and fast-paced enough to keep you turning the pages. It's a fantastic debut novel that I highly recommend for any YA or paranormal romance fans! And I hear tell that she's working on the next installment...I'll bug her until she finishes it!
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