From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up–It's 1867, and 17-year-old Verity Boone is moving back to Pennsylvania after spending 15 years with relatives in Massachusetts. She's anxious to reunite with her father and meet her fiancé, Nathaniel McClure, for the first time. Unfortunately, life in rural Catawissa isn't what Verity expected and her homecoming is beginning to feel anything but welcoming. Her father is distant, and Verity and Nathaniel's first meeting is awkward and uncomfortable. He doesn't come across as romantic in person as he did in his letters. To make matters worse, he takes Verity on an impromptu walk that leads her to an unsettling sight–her mother's grave enclosed in an ugly, iron cage. Disturbed and heartbroken, Verity is determined to find out why it was placed in unconsecrated grounds. Unfortunately, her father, Nathaniel, and the townsfolk (while quick to gossip about the Boones) aren't talking. The only way to unravel the mystery is to read her mother's diaries, which exposes Verity to unsettling truths about Catawissa and her family. Verity is a likable, feisty, and outspoken heroine. She often infuriates Nathaniel, whom she quickly discovers is worthy of her attentions. Salerni is a masterful storyteller who uses eloquent prose to craft a suspenseful historical mystery that is absolutely impossible to put down.–Kimberly Garnick Giarratano, Rockaway Township Public Library, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
It’s 1867, and bright, modern, 17-year-old Verity Boone knows she will miss bustling, urban Worchester when she leaves it for her birthplace—the quiet farm town of Catawissa. Still, she looks forward to meeting her fiancé, Nate, and to her reunion with her father. Catawissa and its inhabitants, however, are not as she anticipated. Her cold, distant father finds every excuse not to spend time with her, and her outings with Nate are awkward and nothing at all like the warm, romantic letters he courted her with. Then, there are the mysterious graves of her mother and aunt, set in cages outside Catawissa’s church. As Verity learns more about her father, her fiancé, and the town’s troubled history, angry elements from the past shove her headlong into mortal danger. Salerni’s immensely readable novel is based on the author’s discovery of two real caged graves in Catawissa, Pennsylvania. Hand this fast-paced, creepy tale to fans of mysteries, forensics, paranormal and historical fiction, and the CSI TV series. Grades 8-11. --Candice Mack
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