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The Caged Graves

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  2,852 ratings  ·  536 reviews
17-year-old Verity Boone expects a warm homecoming when she returns to Catawissa, Pennsylvania, in 1867, pledged to marry a man she has never met. Instead, she finds a father she barely knows and a future husband with whom she apparently has nothing in common. One truly horrifying surprise awaits her: the graves of her mother and aunt are enclosed in iron cages outside the ...more
Hardcover, 329 pages
Published May 14th 2013 by Clarion Books
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Dianne Salerni Speaking as the author, I *hoped* to balance the protagonist's romance -- weighing an arranged marriage developed through correspondence against a ran…moreSpeaking as the author, I *hoped* to balance the protagonist's romance -- weighing an arranged marriage developed through correspondence against a random encounter with an attractive stranger -- with the murder mystery in the novel. Whether I succeeded or not ... you'll have to ask other readers. :)(less)

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Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
“In Catawissa sometimes the dead don’t stay where you put them.”
What a pleasant little surprise. This is the second book set in the 19th century I've read in as many days, but with drastically different results. You see, this book is good. The setting is authentic. The mystery is compelling (although a little bit of a far stretch at some points). The main character is so well written, Verity is strong without being obstinate, flawed without being intolerable. And the romance. THE ROM
Jan 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
Originally reviewed on Books Take You Places

Verity is forced to leave the family she loves to marry a man she has never met, and live with a father she barely knows. What is a girl to do when she is the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons? Not only is she snatching up the most eligible bachelor in Catawissa, she is related to two women who were believed to partake in the devil’s work, and who were buried outside the graveyard, on unconsecrated ground. Bow her head and take it, I suppose?
Karina Halle
Nov 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars - Full review closer to publication date next year

What an interesting little book. Reading this brought me back to a simpler time...say, being ten years old and indulging over and over again in the Little House series and Bronte and the Witch of Blackbird Pond. This is definitely NOT a children's book - some scenes are fairly heavy and gruesome - but there was something so refreshing and compelling about this 1800's mystery that it felt like it could have been assigned reading in schoo
Richie Partington
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Richie's Picks: THE CAGED GRAVES by Dianne K. Salerni, Clarion, May 2013, 336p., ISBN: 978-0-547-86853-0

"How will I know if he really loves me
I say a prayer with every heartbeat"
-- Whitney Houston

"'Sonnets from the Portugese?' Nate asked. It sounded as if he wasn't sure they were talking about the same book.
"She wanted to change the subject, but if she dropped it now, she might offend him more. 'She only pretended she was translating poems from another language,' Verity explained, 'because they
I read this young adult story expecting more.

More depth.

More engaging characters.

More excitement.

And if I was in the targeted age-bracket for this novel, I might have given it a higher rating. That said, I rarely feel my generation when I choose a book from this category. Hello. I even like to read good children's stories every now and then!

The caged or 'hooded graves' really existed in mid-nineteenth century Pennsylvania. Along with some of the characters from Ms. Salerni's mystery. The aut
Nov 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, top-reads
Wow. This was a unique and enthralling novel if I've ever read one. There is so much to say about this novel that I can't possibly fit it all into this review, or even, necessarily, into words. I was actually taken aback by how much I truly enjoyed it.

One of the most captivating aspects of THE CAGED GRAVES is the atmosphere. There is something very unsettling about the graves from the first mention of them and Verity's mother, and this unsettling feeling is only amplified by the various reaction
It is 1867, and Verity Boone is excited to return to her hometown of Catawissa, Pennsylvania. Finally, after years of separation, she will be with her father again and, not only that, she will also meet her fiancé, the man she has thus far only known through letters. Yet her welcome is not as warm as she expected. Her father is as good as a stranger, and Nate, her fiancé, comes across as very different to how he did in his letters - more aloof and with apparently nothing in common with Verity. B ...more
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Caged Graves was an excellent gothic, historical mystery that was beautifully written. Set in 1867 Pennsylvania, seventeen-year-old Verity Boone returns to home to Catawissa after being sent to live with her aunt following the death of her mother. Verity has returned home to marry her prosperous neighbour, Nate McClure, after a courtship based on letters. However, Verity’s homecoming is not all that she expected. Her father is a stranger to her, only visiting her in the city a few times over ...more
The Twins Read
May 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review can originally be found at The Twins Read.

As fans of historical fiction, it was imperative that we must read this one, thanks to the oh-so-intriguing summary and most importantly, the very idea of caged graves being used in a story! The thought of seeing iron cages around the cemetery is disturbing, but also very, very intriguing. In fact, we were so tickled by the idea that we featured this book before in one of our Waiting on Wednesday posts.

After fifteen years away from Catawiss
"In Catawissa sometimes the dead don't stay where you put them."

Verity Boone is returning to her hometown in small town Catawissa after fifteen long years. When her mother became ill and died unexpectedly when Verity was just two years old, her father sent her away to relatives fearing he would not be able to care for her properly. She's returning home after agreeing to marry Nathaniel McClure, a man she's only met in letters. Upon arriving, she's shocked to discover that not only is her mothers
Elizabeth Moreau Nicolai
It's 1867 and Verity Boone (what a great name!) is coming home to Catawissa, Pennsylvania after spending most of her childhood back East being raised by relatives following the death of her mother. She is looking forward to reconnecting with her father and getting to know the fiance whose proposal she accepted after a courtship conducted entirely by mail. (Yes teenagers that is a thing that used to happen. It's the 19th century precursor to online dating.)

However when she gets there, all is not
*Received ARC through the Amazon Vine Program*

"The Caged Graves" is about a seventeen year old girl named Verity Boone who returns to her hometown of Catawissa, Pennsylvania after being sent to live with her aunt and uncle after her mother died. She lives with her father, who she barely knows, and is engaged to a man that she only knows through letters. When Verity sees that her mother and aunt have cages over their graves and no one will tell her why, Verity makes it her mission to find out why
Mar 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: vine
With the Civil War just recently ended and life returning to normal, Verity Boone leaves behind the only family she has ever known in Worcester, Pennsylvania to return to her birthplace of Catawissa in 1867. While she is leaving behind urban convenience and dear relatives, Verity is eager to see her father and her old family home.

She is also keen to meet Nate, the man who courted her and proposed through letters, for the first time face-to-face.

When Verity arrives in Catawissa nothing is quite w
Book Preview Review
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, middle-grade
Book Description:

“The year is 1867, and seventeen-year-old Verity Boone is excited to return from Worcester, Massachusetts, to Catawissa, Pennsylvania, the hometown she left when she was just a baby. Now she will finally meet the fiancé she knows only through letters. Soon, however, she discovers two strangely caged graves . . . and learns that one of them is her own mother’s. Verity swears she’ll get to the bottom of why her mother was buried in “unhallowed ground” in this suspenseful teen myst
17-year-old Verity Boone expects a warm homecoming when she returns to Catawissa, Pennsylvania, in 1867, pledged to marry a man she has never met. Instead, she finds a father she barely knows and a future husband with whom she apparently has nothing in common. One truly horrifying surprise awaits her: the graves of her mother and aunt are enclosed in iron cages outside the local cemetery...Perhaps the cages were built to keep grave robbers out . . . or to keep the women in...

The Caged Graves r
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Set in Catawissa, Pennsylvania during the post Civil War era, The Caged Graves by Dianne K. Salerni is an intense historical fiction young adult read. With a spitfire main character, dark secrets, and a slow to develop romance, The Caged Graves hearkens back to the historical fiction of my childhood, similar in feel to The Witch Of Blackbird Pond, if not in eras. Salerni’s latest is utterly engrossing and exactly what I want to read in historical book. Mainly, it has a strong plot and fantastic ...more
Twisty J
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing book. Atmospheric, gripping, gothic, creepy, spooky, haunting, and lovely in its mysteriousness. There is so much to say, but I do not want to give anything away. This is not a paranormal or fantasy novel. It is pure historical mystery- and achieves all it set out to be. If the description intrigues you at all, just pick it up and read it. You are sure to fall in love.
Robin (Bridge Four)
Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-5-stars, ya
4.5 Surprising Stars.
This book wasn’t anywhere close to on my radar and I don’t think I would have given it a second look if a friend of mine Khanh hadn’t given it high marks it would have passed me by. That would have been a shame as it was a great YA historical mystery and romance.

Verity has lived with extended family for the last fifteen years ever since her mother died. Now at seventeen she has agreed to an arranged marriage and is coming back to the home and the father she left so many year
Susan Swiderski
Apr 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Verity leaves the safety and comfort of life in a modern (by mid-1800 standards, anyway) city to move to a podunk town to live with a father she barely knows and marry a man she's never met. There, she discovers the graves of her mother and aunt, inexplicably covered by metal cages, and placed beyond the boundaries of the church's consecrated burial grounds. She wants answers.

In a skillfully woven tale, Salerni delivers those answers. Verity encounters ugly rumors, malice, and danger, but she a
Jenny Q
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm wavering on which side of 4.5 to go here. Couldn't put it down. Full review to come... ...more
My father was Western-Fanboy. When I was a baby he would read to me stories about the conquest of the wilderness and a society organized around codes of honor and personal, direct or private justice. When all my kindergarden friends went to watch the latest Disney movie my father took me to watch old black and white Western films with John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and even those Karl May Western with Pierre Brice. You have to think about it: A German-Yugoslavian production with a French actor imper ...more
Review will be posted closer to the publication date...

but let me tell you RIGHT NOW that this book is worth waiting for.

Apr 09, 2013 rated it really liked it
Picked this one up because it takes place pretty close to the northeastern PA town where I grew up. I was pleasantly surprised. Nicely written, good historical story, engaging characters.
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Read This Review & More Like It On Ageless Pages Reviews!

Inspired by real-life caged-in graves found across the country, Dianne K. Salerni weaves a tale of lust, desperation, and hidden motives set during the 1860's Pennsylvania. The Caged Graves is an evocative and atmospheric young adult historical fiction read, but it's also one that sadly fails to execute the plot with complete satisfaction for the audience. The suspense and mystery that is built up over the course of the novel's three hundr
Donna Gambale
Jun 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
THE CAGED GRAVES is part suspenseful drama, part historical mystery, and it was a refreshing change from the modern setting, epic scope, and breakneck pace of the books I've been reading lately. (To be clear, it's not a fast-moving plot, but it developed steadily and had me totally intrigued.)

THE CAGED GRAVES is the classic story of an outsider coming into a small rural town, meeting its citizens, and uncovering its dark secrets. Verity Boone returns home to Catawissa, PA after years of living w
May 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
An atmospheric historical mystery. After living with relatives for several years after her mother's death, Verity returns to her father's home and her future husband Nate. She and Nate have courted through letters. She looks forward to meeting him in person; however, their initial meetings do not live up to her expectations. Verity soon discovers that there is a cage over her mother's grave, and her mother is not buried in hallowed ground. The reason for this unusual burial nags at her as she al ...more
May 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Mystery, love story, historical fiction....

This YA novel explores themes of morality, love and trust. Each turn of the page brings with it anticipation to see what comes next!
Marcy S. Hatch
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I very much enjoyed The Caged Graves and thought Verity was a fun character from the moment I met her on the train. The historical details read true as did the entire mystery, which I didn't figure out until i read it! Can't wait for Dianne's next book :) ...more
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael Di Gesu
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: the-caged-graves
As not to spoil the complete story for all who wish to read this fascinating novel, I'd like to review it a bit differently.

For me The Caged Graves sends the reader back in time. The author, Dianne Salerni, transports us back to rural nineteenth century Pennsylvania. A simpler, gentler, yet naive and superstitious era of young America. A time where woman are submissive, and were raised to marry young, bear children, and listen to their husbands. But Verity Boone is different. She is opinionated,
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Book Ramblers: The Caged Graves 3 8 Jul 16, 2014 09:43AM  

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DIANNE K. SALERNI, a former fifth grade teacher, is the author of YA historical novels, We Hear the Dead and The Caged Graves, as well as fantasy and science fiction novels for children.

The Eighth Day fantasy series follows the adventures of Jax Aubrey, who discovers a secret day between Wednesday and Thursday. Eleanor, Alice, & the Roosevelt Ghosts portrays an alternate historical reality where g

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