Grave Things Like Love

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3.3 (2)
 
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Grave Things Like Love
Age Range
12+
Release Date
October 11, 2022
ISBN
978-0593703557
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A contemporary YA romance with a paranormal twist: what happens when in between trying to decide which boy is the right boy, a girl finds out the funeral home her family owns might be haunted?

Elaine's home is a bit . . . different. It's a funeral home that has been in her family since the 1800s—and it's why everyone calls her Funeral Girl. And even though she's lived there her whole life, there are still secrets to be found.

When Xander, a cute new boy with a penchant for ghost hunting, arrives in town, Elaine feels an instant spark. His daring and spontaneous ways help her go from Funeral Girl to Fun Girl. Then there's Miles, Elaine's oldest friend, who she's starting to see in a completely new light.
 
After Xander convinces her to stage a seance one night, Elaine discovers that her home might be haunted by a kindred spirit—the daughter of the funeral home's original owner. But who wants to be haunted by the dead when there are boys to spend time with? After all, you only live once. . . .

Editor reviews

2 reviews
A Ghostly Good Romance
Overall rating
 
3.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
2.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Ghosts? Love triangles? And horse drawn buggies? Sign me up!

Grave Things Like Love by Sara Bennett Wealer is a YA contemporary/paranormal, that follows the story of Elaine who doesn't quite want to follow in her mother's and father's footsteps of becoming a mortician. Instead, she seeks her own paranormal adventure with a ghost hunter, Xander, and the supernatural being that haunts the funeral home she dares to call home. Mix that up with a good amount of teen angst and a love triangle, and boom that's where this book resides.

What I liked most about this novel, was the way Wealer was able to weave the two genres of romance and supernatural into one delicious book. Especially with a setting such as a funeral home. Though when going into this, I was getting heavy The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston vibes. And though most people might hate it, but I honestly appreciated the love triangle sprinkled throughout.

As much as I loved the plot, I felt like this book was lacking in the character development. As it felt like they appeared on one page and would disappear ten pages later with nothing to be known about them, save for their name. I wish we got to spend some more time with the characters, as I wanted to know a little more about Dakota.

I feel like anyone needing something a little spooky, but sweet need to read this! Especially for those looking for something not too gory for the Halloween season. I would also recommend it to anyone who dares to like a good love triangle.
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interesting YA contemporary
Overall rating
 
3.0
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
3.0
Writing Style
 
3.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
GRAVE THINGS LIKE LOVE is an intriguing paranormal story about family, friendship, and priorities. Elaine lives with her family in the funeral home their family has owned for generations. This means that as needed, she also helps her family with services and other small tasks for funerals. While it seems to be assumed that she will take over the business when she is old enough, Elaine dreams of seeing what else is out there and exploring the world beyond funerals.

Elaine has a close group of friends, particularly her BFF Miles, with whom she shares a deep love of fandom for the show Dragonfly. Then, a new boy arrives in town, Xander. Xander is very attractive and seems interested in Elaine - though maybe it is just because of the rumors that the funeral home is haunted. Xander is making a name for himself online as a ghost hunter. As Elaine spends time with him and lets him investigate her home, she begins to realize that maybe someone is there with her as well - the daughter of the funeral home's original owner who begins to seem like a kindred spirit.

What I loved: This was a unique setting but with themes that YA readers will appreciate. Elaine is really beginning to define herself and differentiate herself from her family, deciding what she wants, even when it does not match up with her parents' expectations for her. She is also deciding who/how she wants to be, and Xander really provides her with motive to step away from what is expected and explore the new. Elaine definitely makes mistakes, but she is learning from them and finding new paths going forward.

Elaine's family were also great characters, who, although they had their flaws, were always there for each other. Her parents are also figuring things out as they go and consider their business, the potential rival that is flashy and taking away customers, and trying to do right by their daughters. In addition to conflicts with family, Elaine also begins to stretch her friendships and really explore what makes a good friend and the ways in which she and friends could do better. She is learning about what her priorities are and balancing what she wants with responsibilities.

What left me wanting more: The romance felt flat in one case and a bit rushed in the other. It did not have quite the pull that was expected based on the premise. Xander also felt really random in a lot of ways, and it was hard to really understand the how/why in terms of how people bent over backwards for him when he was so new as well as the why for some of the rumors. The romance with Miles (as hinted in the synopsis) had a lot of potential, but it would have been great to address the way he threw her away when she did not return the romantic feelings. It was not clear that she was feeling those things, and does not speak well for his friendship if he was so ready to cast her aside, but this felt age-appropriate, although it would have been great if they could have addressed/discussed this together to fully buy into the relationship. It felt like maybe she just wanted her BFF back, and that was her only way to do it, especially as it came at a time when she needed support. The paranormal elements were also very limited and did not have quite clear enough messaging, so they felt a bit superfluous.

Final verdict: Overall, GRAVE THINGS LIKE LOVE was an interesting YA contemporary with a hint of the paranormal about priorities, responsibilities, and relationships.
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