Title: The Grave Winner
Series: The Grave Winner #1
Author: Lindsey R. Loucks
Publisher: Crescent Moon Press
Publication date: May 12th 2013
Page Count: 244 pages
Age Rating: Young Adult
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received a free copy to review
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.
On the day of her mom’s funeral, 15 year old Leigh sees the reanimated corpse of a recently deceased classmate lurking in the graveyard. While the townspeople and the media find this a fascinating miracle, Leigh has firsthand knowledge of the wrongness (not to mention smell) of said miracle. She gets it into her head that if she buries her mother’s favorite things with her, it will somehow prevent her too from rising. That turns out to be a really bad idea, sparking off a chain reaction involving sorceresses, the living dead, and lots and lots of spiders.
This book is a mild YA horror with a dash of romance. The plot is very original and unpredictable, and Leigh and her best friend, Jo, are great characters with very true to life personalities and great voice. While a love triangle does pop up over the course of the book, it takes a back seat to the rest of the plot.
My favorite character in this book was Sarah, the resurrected prom queen. The poor dead girl was dragged into the whole mess just because Tweedledee and Tweedledum needed her grave. Ultimately, Sarah ends up being both the victim and the hero of this tale, and a more tragic hero I have never seen. She committed suicide and now she is the living dead, forced to return to the world she was willing to die to get away from and rotting away piece by piece. She’s decaying, smells to holy hell, and can’t speak, but does she stay in her room and lament her fate? Possibly. But she also tries her damnedest to help Leigh, which really speaks to her character.
The story was pretty low on angst despite some of the main concepts like death and sacrifice, but emotive enough for the reader to make an emotional connection. All in all, this was an enjoyable read that I would recommend to other paranormal lovers.
Reminiscent of the freshly turned soil of an open grave, Burial Grounds by Coffee Shop of Horrors is a smooth blend that produces a pungent, dark, and rich cup of coffee.