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Cemetery Girl

3.34  ·  Rating details ·  9,571 ratings  ·  1,336 reviews
Four years after Tom and Abby's 12-year-old daughter vanishes, she is found alive but strangely calm. When the teen refuses to testify against the man connected to her disappearance, Tom decides to investigate the traumatizing case on his own. Nothing can prepare him for what he is about to discover. ...more
Paperback, 389 pages
Published October 4th 2011 by NAL
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Jennifer No, I agree. You shouldn't read just to read but sometimes, books (especially if written by a non American author) require more patience. Literature i…moreNo, I agree. You shouldn't read just to read but sometimes, books (especially if written by a non American author) require more patience. Literature is art and it should contain a hook very quickly but they are also a reflection of a particular culture. My favorite example is "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo." I nearly threw it aside. I had been reading about the macroeconomic complexities of eastern Europe FOR 89 PAGES! I told myself one more chapter and if I still couldn't get into it, it needed to leave. It's one of my favorite novels ever! (less)
Cecilia Cress
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Average rating 3.34  · 
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 ·  9,571 ratings  ·  1,336 reviews

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Mar 28, 2012 rated it did not like it
Shelves: fiction
I should clarify first and say that I am not the target audience for this book. These types of novels, thrillers/real life sadness whatever, bore me unless they are very well written. Add that fact to the very major problems I had with the themes and plot of this novel and I think I'm being generous with one star. The only reason I finished this book is because I have a goal number to reach by the end of the year.

The major problem I have with the novel is that the rape and kidnapping of the daug
Sara the Librarian
Dec 30, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: phoning-it-in
See here's the thing. You aren't writing anything new or amazing just because your protagonist isn't Dudley Do Right. Tom Stuart is a kind of a jerk college professor and his wife is a born again Christian looney tune and their distant twelve year old daughter is...umm...distant? I don't know. Anyway the daughter disappears only to reappear four years later as a bitchy teenager who curses a lot and is in love with her abductor because Stockholm Syndrome or something. But this makes no sense beca ...more
Dec 16, 2011 rated it liked it
At first I really like this book--the story clipped along at a good pace, but not too fast. The idea of the missing child returning home, changed and unwilling to discuss what happened seemed so good. There was so much that could have been done with it. Sadly, in the end it just came off as a creepy look at violence against young women by every man in their lives.

I felt the Caitlin character was done well and seemed realistic. However, Tom and Abby were far too Lifetime Movie of the week charac
Rebecca Peck
Nov 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is the first review I've written on here, but i felt some of the reviews of this book were unfair, so I felt compelled. Some people gave this book a bad rating because, "None of the characters were likable." I guess that's what makes people different, because that's exactly why I enjoyed this book. The characters were well-developed and this was not the fairy tale ending of a family reunited with their child who was ripped from their lives by a crazy pedophile. When traumas happen we all co ...more
May 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love a book that I cannot put down, and I could not put down Cemetery Girl. But this novel wasn't only a page turner; it was also a story that let me feel deeply connected to the characters, especially Tom, the father who so desperately wants to re-connect with his sixteen-year-old daughter, a lost girl-woman who is found alive four years after her disappearance. A novel that so brilliantly weaves character development with such a tense plot deserves serious attention.

This would be a great bo
Jenelle Eager
May 22, 2012 rated it liked it
This book captured me at the book store by the cover and the premise, and it's definitely in my genre, maybe an edgier Jodi Picoult with the family dynamics and missing girl plot. I would say I liked a lot of the book, and I am just shy enough of 4 stars to have to give it three because, as others have mentioned, about half to three quarters of the way through the father's behavior was really disturbing and his obsession was difficult to stomach as the decisions he made became less about his dau ...more
Apr 15, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: thriller
Sentimental Abduction (2012)

Bell, David (2011). Cemetery Girl. New York: New American Library.

A 12-year old girl goes missing while walking her dog in a cemetery. There are no leads. She is presumed abducted, and after a year or so, presumed dead. The story is told, first-person, by the father, who never gives up hope on her. The mother, on the other hand is “ready to move on” with her life. The marriage is on the rocks and the mother now has a romantic interest with the pastor of her church w
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin


I just didn't get into this book at all and that makes me sad. I always try to pick books I think I will like or love and I hate giving anything under three stars, but that's life.

Tom and Abby's little girl of twelve years old goes missing one day when she is taking her dog Frosty for a walk at the park. First off, who in the hell lets their kids go off on their own!


After four years Abby wants to put up a headstone and have a memorial for Caitlin. I understa
Feb 28, 2012 rated it did not like it
Half way through this book it had the promise of being great, the description of events and mixed powerful feelings was incredible. It was heart-wrenching, and horrible.

As a parent, there is no way in hell you could be in the presence of the man who kidnapped and molested your child and not kill him. It just isn't possible. I can't understand wanting to know the details that badly its kind of sick, and a little disturbing. I think Freud would have some choice views on that one. Who wants to kno
Lee Rene
May 02, 2013 rated it liked it
I'm torn regarding this book. It is a page turner, a very fast 389 pages that I finished in one sitting. The novel earned stellar reviews, was even whispered as a potential nominee for a Pulitzer for fiction and the author, an English professor at Western Kentucky University has real credentials. Despite all the pluses, I had real issues with this work. It lacked the descriptive power that I expect in first-rate writing. The prose was tight and efficient, but missing both a sensory and emotional ...more
For The Love of books
Tom and Abby his wife spend 4 years devastated after their 12 year old girl goes missing walking the dog in the park. Abby turns to the church and organises a funeral to let go. Tom however at the same time finds a witness that believes she has seen their child now 16 years old. Then the unthinkable happens. The story was strong and I would have given 5 stars but I felt let down by the ending. Perhaps the final way the story went just wasn’t for me personally, I would have liked to have read som ...more
Cemetery Girl has been languishing on my to-be-read shelf since I picked it up at a bargain book sale a couple of years ago. I'd heard some buzz about the book and was excited to get my hands on a copy of the book since my local library didn't have a copy at the time.

I'm guessing that initial enthusiasm wore off or else I got distracted by other books either that I purchased, received as ARCs or checked out from the local library. And so it was that I was getting ready for last weekend's World R
Karen Bonilla
Sep 06, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
While there were some parts of the book that were very good and realistic, such as the interaction between the main character and his wife, there were other parts that weren't. I could see what the author was trying to do, but that was the problem. It was too obvious, to blatant. Some of reminiscences felt too much like tangents. I also felt like the book fell on it's face in the last couple of chapters. You're at the climax of the story and all of a sudden it's the epilogue. It doesn't transiti ...more
Nov 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is an unputdownable "OMG!" book, from beginning to end.

I have read other David Bell books and, to date, this was my favorite. I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator was superb.

Author David Bell did a superb job with the character development of the book's entire cast of characters: the father, mother, daughter, father's brother, kidnapper, .....and even the family dog.

Throughout the entire book, I felt like I was right there in that family's home, experiencing all of the family's e
Nov 18, 2011 rated it did not like it
Disappointed. Frustrated. The author had an opportunity to delve into the grief and turmoil of a father who lost his daughter, a father who never gave up his search for her and who faced many consequences for that choice. Instead, the author gave us an idiot. An idiot named Tom. Many times throughout the book I found myself actually laughing at loud at this character and the stupidity of the choices he made. I would've rather read this book from the point of view of the wife, because she at leas ...more
Chris Wolak
Oct 16, 2011 rated it liked it
This is one of those books that I almost stopped reading once or twice, but then something surprising would happen and I'd find myself reading later than planned, negotiating with myself that after I read just one more chapter then I'd do xy and z.

With it being October, I was hoping Cemetery Girl would be a creepy book, learning more towards horror, but it is a psychological suspense novel, mainly about Tom, the father of a twelve year old girl named Caitlin who goes missing for four years. No c
Dec 24, 2014 rated it did not like it
As someone who loves reading about kidnappings and disappearance I was obviously drawn to this book because of what it offered.


I feel like this book was written so poorly. The protagonist is just horrible. I tried to have sympathy for him because his daughter was gone and he seemed to love her, but as I moved forward he was just too annoying and self-absorbed. WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU EVEN PRETEND TO GIVE YOUR DAUGHTER BACK TO THE MAN WHO KIDNAPPED AND RAPED HER.

His returned dau
Christina Dudley
May 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
For some reason I put this on hold thinking it was a ghost story, but actually it's about a dad dealing with the disappearance of his daughter four years earlier. I was turning the pages but decided to jump ship for a couple reasons:

1. His wife gets really into some church with the usual unlikeable church pastor. Pretty tired of running across these stereotypes--or am I the only person who goes to church with lots of cool, likeable, genuine people?

2. Bizarre sentences were sprinkled throughout t
Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)
Tom and Abby's 12 year old daughter goes missing one day while walking her dog.  They both deal with her disappearance in different ways which takes a toll on their marriage.  Then one day, Caitlin is found.. but those 4 years has changed her.  She's sullen, rude and not the daughter they remember.  Tom desperately tries to find out what's going on but that's hard when his daughter makes him promise not to ask her about her time away.. and the answers he ends up finding is worse than anything hi ...more
Nov 12, 2012 rated it liked it
I read this book based on all of the reviews in the front pages, and they were not wrong. It was suspenseful, and it did keep me up reading late into the night.(I read the whole book in just a few hours)
I was afraid it would be the type of story to leave me hanging on at the end, with some vague explanation of what happened and no real answers. I wasn't far off.
Caitlin Stuart disappears one day while walking her dog, and the resulting story is told by her father, Tom.His wife, Abby, is going thr
Oct 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Cemetery Girl was an addictive novel, that kept me up till 3 in the morning to reach the conclusion. Bell weaves a believable tale of a parent’s worst nightmare. He delivers it with an authentic voice in Tom Stuart.

Protagonist Tom Stuart, father of Caitlin and husband of Abby tells this riveting story from his perspective. The story is broken into three parts. The first part deals with events leading up to Caitlin’s disappearance. The second takes us through the aftermath and how it impacts them
Holly Robinson
Feb 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Truthfully, I expected to love this book, because of other reviews and because it's in a genre I love to read as an escape: psychological thriller, parents embroiled in a mystery, missing child, etc. All the right elements for a thrilling, quick read, and indeed, this is a quick read--I finished it in a few hours--but that's part of the problem with it. The story line is fascinating, but the author uses extremely plain language, very little imagery, and every one of the characters is so dislikea ...more
Nov 09, 2012 rated it did not like it
I read up on the reviews before ordering this book and it sounded pretty solid, words such as page turner, thriller, unimaginable ending, couldn't put it down... I titled this Confused because I honestly don't know how any avid reader could have attached those descriptors to this novel. I trudged through this book and mainly kept motivated by the review of this stellar ending. Good god was I disappointed I didn't put this book down sooner. Lack of character development: the father comes across a ...more
Amy the book-bat
Dec 18, 2011 rated it it was ok
I was disappointed in this book. After reading the description and the blurbs on the back of the book, it really sounded like something I would like. Reading the actual story, on the other hand, made me feel like something was missing. It never grabbed me in the way a "thriller" is supposed to. I found no thrills at all. What I did find was a bunch of characters I didn't like and a pace so slow it was painful. Several times I debated whether to even bother finishing. I would be ready to put the ...more
The Sassy Bookworm
Mar 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is the second book I have read by this author in the past week, and both have been fantastic. Abby and Tom's daughter Caitlin goes missing while walking their dog Frosty. Four years later she reappears and we get to see how a family deals with their child's disappearance and subsequent reappearance.

There are some twists and turns, but I wouldn't say it was overly "mysterious" Overall though I really enjoy this one. This author has such effortless writing style which makes his books very re
Sherri Thacker
Jan 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Just average for me.
Oct 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011-challenge

Well, I am in a quandary as to this one. While I love suspense and thrillers and the first three-quarters of the book had me riveted to the pages just to see how the plot progressed, the last quarter of the book not so intriguing and I'm not sure exactly why.

I think part of it is I didn't really like any of the characters. Oh, sure I could empathize with them but as to liking them, it was a no. At times they acted contrary to their character development at the beginning. Obviously, it's not nec
Dec 08, 2013 rated it did not like it
I read the first 192 pages of David Bell’s novel Cemetery Girl lickety split. I couldn’t put the book down. I wondered – how come I’ve never heard of this book or this author? How come the only positive promotion is from other authors? Where has this author been all my life?

And then it all went to hell in a hand basket.

Cemetery Girl is the story of college professor Tom Stuart and his wife, Abby, and their daughter, Caitlin, who disappeared four years ago when she was twelve. Now, Abby has dec
Dec 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviews
David Bell’s thriller debut, Cemetery Girl, is the story of the disappearance of 12 year old Caitlin Stuart and how her parents, Tom and Abby, coped with her being gone. Bell starts the story four years earlier after Caitlin’s disappearance. Frantic and besieged, Tom vowed to never give up the hope that she is still alive and will come back home. However, Abby has given up and decides it is time to move on. She planned a memorial service and ordered a headstone as she felt the marriage ended whe ...more
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David Bell is a USA Today bestselling and award-winning suspense novelist. His most recent thriller from Berkley/Penguin is KILL ALL YOUR DARLINGS. His previous novels include THE REQUEST, LAYOVER, SOMEBODY'S DAUGHTER, BRING HER HOME, SINCE SHE WENT AWAY, SOMEBODY I USED TO KNOW, THE FORGOTTEN GIRL, NEVER COME BACK, THE HIDING PLACE, and CEMETERY GIRL. He is currently a Professor of English at Wes ...more

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