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These Shallow Graves

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  14,769 ratings  ·  2,676 reviews
Jo Montfort is beautiful and rich, and soon—like all the girls in her class—she’ll graduate from finishing school and be married off to a wealthy bachelor. Which is the last thing she wants. Jo secretly dreams of becoming a writer—a newspaper reporter like the trailblazing Nellie Bly.

Wild aspirations aside, Jo’s life seems perfect until tragedy strikes: her father is found
Hardcover, 482 pages
Published October 27th 2015 by Random House Delacorte
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  14,769 ratings  ·  2,676 reviews

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Emily May
May 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
“The truth can be a hard thing, Jo. It’s often best left hidden,” Phillip said quietly.

I just had so much fun reading this book. It's very compelling and easy to read, but it's also full of more and more surprises as the book moves along. It's the kind of historical mystery that opens up more and more doors, so even if you guess one reveal, there are many more in store.

I love this kind of historical fiction, especially when it focuses on women (Cat Winters also does this very well). These Sh
Sasha Alsberg
Oct 31, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars! I really liked this book!
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
Josephine Montfort stared at the newly mounded grave in front of her and at the wooden cross marking it.

How did this happen? How did I get here? Jo asked herself. She didn’t want to do this. She wanted to be home. Safe inside her Gramercy Square town house.

“Wait by the vault. Go back,” Eddie said. Not unkindly.
Jo laughed. Go back? How? There was no going back. Not to her old life of drawing rooms and dances. Not to Miss Sparkwell’s School. Not to her friends, or to Bram. It had all gone too f
Faye, la Patata
Do I need to add it to my TBR? YES.
Do I need to pre-order it? YES.
Do I need to take it out on a romantic date as soon as it's in my hands? DOUBLE YES.
Do I need to put it in a special shelf dedicated to special books? THE UNIVERSE SAYS YES.
Do I need to read it... AS SOON AS POSSIBLY POSSIBLE?!?!?!

It's been a while since I've read this book but it still feels like I read it yesterday. I can still remember how engrossed I was, flying through the pages with such vigor; how it was so immersive and ho
Rachel E. Carter
Oct 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: have-paperback
"Morality is a luxury, my darling. A very expensive one."


AGGGGGGGHHHHH. SO, SOOO GOOD. A freaking hidden gem. So much realness (it doesn't skirt it, either) and so much girl power and I just loved the way this whole book played out -it could have gone the dopey old-fashioned historical romance route but instead it turned into utter brilliance where you literally can't stop smiling like a nut as you read (or maybe that's just me).

I cheated and read this in one whole sitting last night
After a beautiful start, Donnelly and I have had a very rocky last two years. I fell in love with Revolution and A Northern Light, which always seemed to me like gorgeously written and very sensitive books about realistically complex girls. I ached for those two main characters, different from each other but equally compelling and believable, and I believed their pain and their world and the things they had to do to overcome their circumstances. Donnelly conveyed their lives with a sensitivity t ...more
I thought this was a good young adult historical mystery novel.
Having said that, if you're an adult reading this you probably won't feel satisfied with the mystery aspect of the story. I'm an old adult. This is a young adult novel. Plus, I've read my fair share of mysteries.
I correctly guessed the bad guy from the first meeting.
I'm not exactly sure how he could have looked more obviously like the killer?



And I also correctly guessed all of the other plot twists as soon as t

Actual rating 4.5

She felt like a fairy-tale princess woken by a kiss to a new world, new people, new emotions.

Before I start this review I have a confession to make. I am a big fan of Sherlock Holmes. The adventures of Sherlock Holmes is one of my favorite books ever. I love a thorough mystery, I love when the author allows readers be a part of investigation. Also, I am a big fan of Nancy Drew games *gasp*. Yep, it's my guilty pleasure. I love these computer games, I love to snoop and sneak with

These Shallow Graves is Jennifer Donnelly's third historical fiction novel for young adults and, like her previous two, I fell head-over-heels in love with it. Much like A Northern Light, Donnelly's latest features a curious, determined protagonist and a mystery whose secrets threaten the very lives of our characters. Moreover, it is littered with snippets of dialogue and scenarios which serve to distinguish the sharp line between women and men, particularly the hypocrisy and cruelty that kept w ...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

This was a nice little mystery. I thought Jo was sweet trying to find out what happened to her father. She knew he didn't shoot himself by accident cleaning one of his guns, it's just not something he would have done. Now they are saying suicide or murder..


Jo starts going sleuthing on her own because her family would have a fit if they knew what she was doing. She runs into a man from the newspaper named Eddie. He decides to help her and they also have a littl
Taylor Knight
I loved this book so much. I loved everything about it. I loved the writing, the plot, the characters and, get ready for it, the romance. That's right. As someone who always complains about romance in YA, I was blown away. Jo and Eddie are the real deal. Their relationship was well written and developed and real. And intense. I loved their bantering. I was so emotionally invested in this book. I can't even begin to explain how this book made me feel. Jennifer Donnelly is an incredible writer.

I don't know if I'm not in the mood for this book or if this book isn't in the mood for me.

y'all it hurts to stare at it every time i come on goodreads so it's got to go.
Sep 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5* This was fantastic!! I was gripped instantly simply from the prologue. Brilliant characters, an immersive setting and a page turning plot. I enjoyed this a lot. Definitely recommended!!

Read my full review on my blog ~
Lindsay Cummings
Jan 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
this book had EVERYTHING I was hoping for and more! it was my first book by Jennifer Donnelly, and I'd heard about all her lovely books--so I picked this one up at the airport on the way back from my own book tour....and, wow. Beautifully told, creepy, with a PERFECT, believable romance and an amazing, strong female lead. I'm so impressed!!! ...more
Sep 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
“An uneasiness had descended on her, as cold and ominous as a winter night.”

4 1/2 stars. Let's get this part out of the way: The mystery was good. I had no problems with it. It was a mixture of frighteningly atmospheric, brainiac detective sleuthing, and a good dosage of humor like the kind in Jackaby. I especially loved Jo's first visit to the morgue, when she met the wonderful Oscar Rubin and was appalled by his offer of a pleased-to-meet-you bloody handshake.

But then the romance was intro
Dilushani Jayalath
Despite the predictability of the story, I actually enjoyed the book a lot. This was after all the first book after ages I could properly review with all my notes and such. For me to go that far with a book shows that I enjoyed it enough.

First of all the book does fall in the historical genre which is one of my favorite genres. As a matter of fact it is in a constant battle with New Adult for my favorite. The fact it was based in New York during a time that history was taking a turn for the bes
I'm a huge fan of period pieces, in fact, historical fictions are actually what solidified my love for reading at a very young age. Yeah, I know it's a genre far from Harry Potter (which I embarrassingly still have yet read, and I fear I may have outgrown the excitement for), but there has always been something enchanting about venturing into the past and experiencing the world (the people, the culture, the customs, the language, etc) in a different age that has always appealed to me. Sadly, The ...more
Maggie ☘
*4,5/5 stars*

“If you're going to bury the past, bury it deep, girl. Shallow graves always give up their dead.”

Such a dark, haunting and deviously intelligent book! All of these characters - good or bad or as it mostly happens: somewhere in-between - were wonderfully crafted and complex. The main heroine Jo was admirable, driven to the point, with great mind. (view spoiler)
Fafa's Book Corner

Mini review:

I was looking forward to reading this! I have read the authors Waterfire Saga series and I love murder mysteries. Unfortunately I did not enjoy it.

I found it really boring. The beginning bothered me rather than pulling me in. And I didn't enjoy the talk about marriages in the beginning.

Still recommend.


at the end of the day, it didn't matter that the mysteries in this book were super predictable.

jo was such an endearing, determined protagonist, and i adored reading about her escapades in gilded age new york, one of my favourite time periods and settings. jennifer donnelly writes such quick banter, conveying jo's cleverness with cutting quips and witty remarks. she made me laugh out l
Chesca (thecrownedpages)
Rating Breakdown
Crime/Mystery: 2 stars
Romance: 4 stars
Writing: 5 stars
Characters: 3.8 stars
Historical setting: 5 stars

Note: A read for The Quarterly Book Club's 2017 1st Quarter - Kickass Female Leads

“The truth costs.
Lies cost more.”

These Shallow Graves is a Historical Crime tale set in 1890 New York, following young Jo Monfort’s journey in finding her father’s murderer.

Josephine “Jo” Montfort was from a family of old money. As a young woman of her age and class, everyone was exp
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jo Montfort is a beautiful young woman from a wealthy family that will be expected to marry someone up to her family's standards as soon as she finishes finishing school. Jo however has always idolized the trailblazing Nellie Bly so Jo really wants to be a newspaper reporter but that is harder than it sounds in the 1890's.

When Jo receives news that her father accidentally shot himself while cleaning his gun Jo immediately questions just what had really happened. Jo's father had been very famili
Nov 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
* listen here, i went into this knowing absolutely nothing and i got: late 19th century New York, a slow burn romance, MYSTERY AND MURDER, feminism, a protagonist i absolutely adore, more MURDER

* this was an almost 500 pages book, but I didn’t feel bored for one second, i need all books to be like this

* compelling writing, kept me at the edge of my seat and while i did guess some things (i want to say it’s because i’m smart, but i just think the author left some more obvious stuff out t

‘Why is it, she wondered now, that boys get to do things and be things and girls only get to watch?’

The first thought that popped into my mind after I finished reading this was, WHEN A BOOK CAN MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE THIS, WHY DON’T PEOPLE READ MORE? Honestly, I spent ten minutes just pacing around, with my mind reeling, trying to gather my thoughts here. This feeling of exhilaration after reading an awesome book? I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Books such as this one are the reaso
Nouf *LostinFantasy*
I read this back in late December and I just realized I never rated it, so I decided to do that and post a quick review about it.

Actual rating: 4.5 stars.

I didn't have many expectations getting into this one but I definitely did not expect it to end up being such a dear book to my heart. I haven't read it in months and it's still very memorable to me. Why?

I'll sum up the book by saying it has a gripping mystery - one with an emotional basis for the character when her father dies out of dubious
Maxine ❃ etherealpages
Wow. This book certainly didn't disappoint. Jennifer Donnelly is a genius, made evident by her effortlessly smooth writing style. These Shallow Graves is clearly a well-planned, carefully thought of book. Every turn of a page reveals a new mystery, a new set of questions and revelations to ponder about. I like this book, I am in serious awe of the author's sheer cleverness but the things I absolutely love about her book, the ones that hit home the most, are the hints of gender inequality she inc ...more
Sara (Freadom Library)

I received an e-ARC of this book from Delacorte Press and Random House Children’s via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This review was originally posted at

Plot – 5 out of 5 stars
Loved this! I was hooked from the moment it started and could not stop reading. It’s mysterious and suspenseful. There is so much going on and it pulls you in and keeps you engaged the whole way. The thriller part is insane and ther
"You are such a child. The truth is usually inappropriate," Caroline said."That's why we avoid speaking of it."

But while the dead can't speak, they can tell us a lot of ugly truths. In These Shallow Graves we meet Josephine Montfort, a rich, upper-class girl, who lives in New York in the year 1890. She lives a comfortable but unhappy life, which gets shaking up when her father accidentally shot himself while cleaning his own gun.
Yes, that indeed smells fishy, but while the police quickly claim
A nineteenth century would-be Nellie Bly is hot on uncovering a mystery, with the help of her new, disreputable friends. There is danger, skulduggery, a whole slew of bad guys, and loads of excitement up against a stultifying upper-class life. All the satisfaction of a Nancy Drew story as written by Charles Dickens.

Library copy
samantha  Bookworm-on-rainydays
Fantastic read!! Reminded me more of the Tea Rose series which are my favorite. Highly recommend it
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Jennifer Donnelly is the author of thirteen novels - Poisoned, Stepsister, Lost in a Book, These Shallow Graves, Sea Spell, Dark Tide, Rogue Wave, Deep Blue, Revolution, A Northern Light, The Tea Rose, The Winter Rose and The Wild Rose - and Humble Pie, a picture book for children. She is a co-author of Fatal Throne, which explores the lives of King Henry VIII's six wives, for which she wrote the ...more

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