Grave Images

Grave Images

4.3 3
by Jenny Goebel
     
 

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A stylish debut mystery with the perfect balance of sweetness and scares!

Thirteen-year-old Bernie's summer is looking pretty grim. It's hard to make friends when your family runs a monument company, and your backyard is littered with tombstones. It's even harder when your mother suddenly refuses to leave her room . . .

To make matters worse, her father has

Overview


A stylish debut mystery with the perfect balance of sweetness and scares!

Thirteen-year-old Bernie's summer is looking pretty grim. It's hard to make friends when your family runs a monument company, and your backyard is littered with tombstones. It's even harder when your mother suddenly refuses to leave her room . . .

To make matters worse, her father has just hired a new artist to engrave the headstones--the creepy Mr. Stein. Bernie has a bad feeling about him right from the start, and after snooping around his cottage, she discovers an engraved portrait of their neighbor . . . a woman who promptly dies the next day. And it's not just a weird coincidence. The pattern continues, and Bernie realizes that Mr. Stein has begun engraving headstones before people die, which forces Bernie to ask a horrifying question: Is Mr. Stein predicting the deaths . . . or causing them?

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Tiffany Torbeck
When your family is in the tombstone business, normal is a relative term. But thirteen-year old Bernie knows something is definitely off about Mr. Stein, a drifter that seeks work at the monument shop. Although Mr. Stein has a great talent for carving beautiful portraits in the stonework, he’s reclusive and mean. Bernie enlists Michael, a younger and rather annoying boy from her neighborhood, to help her solve this mystery. When townspeople start suddenly dying, Bernie knows she has to do something to stop Mr. Stein, if only she knew what he was doing. This creepy book is a good idea that is poorly delivered. There are nefarious tools at work, but they are not scary enough and will not deliver the shivers that readers have come to expected from a good scary story. There is also the problem with Bernie’s mother which feels tacked on for effect, rather than authentic. For a book that will give you proper shivers, try Doll Bones by Holly Black instead. Reviewer: Tiffany Torbeck AGERANGE: Ages 8 to 12.
Kirkus Reviews
2013-09-15
Is Abbot Stein predicting deaths with his etchings…or causing them? Twelve-year-old Bernadette "Bernie" Morrison wants to help her father in his business, Alpine Monuments, so that he can spend more time with her mother, who is still deeply depressed--to the point of being bed-ridden--over the death of Bernie's infant brother Thomas nearly a year ago. When a stranger, Stein, appears with an apparent talent for creating portraits in stone, Mr. Morrison hires him and lets him stay in the carriage house. Bernie's elation at the new face and a possible source of training vanishes in the face of Stein's gruff attitude and general creepiness. When Bernie discovers Stein has etched portraits of townspeople before they died, she sets out to find out how and to stop him with the help of oddball new kid and sheriff's son Michael Romano. Does Stein have anything to do with the deaths? And what does any of this have to do with the mysterious Isabella, whose portrait in stone Stein carries with him? Goebel's debut is a plodding, slightly supernatural thriller wrapped around an after-school special. Inoffensive enough (except, perhaps, for some kissing between Bernie and Michael) and far from frightening, the plot and setting are nearly as stock as the characters. For budding fans of problem fiction interested in a little spookiness. (Supernatural fiction. 8-11)
School Library Journal
12/01/2013
Gr 5–8—Thirteen-year-old Bernie wishes her artwork could help her family's business, Alpine Monuments. Lately, it seems that every aspect of her life revolves around the graveyard. Her father never stops sandblasting headstones, her grandmother takes comfort baskets to the bereaved, and her mother unceasingly grieves the loss of her baby son, Thomas, sparing little attention for her living child. To add to Bernie's mounting troubles, sinister Abbot Stein arrives, offering his services as an expert gravestone artist, except that he often completes his etchings before his subject actually dies. Bernie reluctantly agrees to investigate the mounting death toll with her pesky neighbor, Michael. The final confrontation with Abbot Stein takes place in the graveyard with a death-defying escape scene. Bernie's narration clearly shows her misery over her family's grief and the support the small-town inhabitants provide. Slang dialogue sometimes clashes with her voice, but Goebel sensitively conveys the teen's emotional turmoil as well as the humor in her sarcastic comments. Goebel's own experiences as a headstone artist may have informed detailed descriptions of carving and the strange mixture of commerce and comfort Bernie's family provides to customers. The light romance between Bernie and Michael will please readers who like character development mixed with delicious creepiness. Fans of books by Mary Downing Hahn or Peg Kehret will find this a good match. While the cover and page length may suggest younger readers, this book targets middle schoolers.—Caitlin Augusta, Stratford Library Association, CT

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780545519304
Publisher:
Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
10/29/2013
Pages:
208
Sales rank:
630,100
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)
Lexile:
860L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author


GRAVE IMAGES is Jenny Goebel's debut novel. She lives in Denver with her husband and three sons.

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Grave Images 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book!! Couldn't put it down! Bernie is just the right blend of sweetness and sass, innocence and cunning - to keep you guessing just what she will come up with next. Abbot Stine would give anyone the willies. Well written - crisp and endearing. Great read for any age!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it! Very descriptive - I felt like I was right there in the story with Bernie! Quick read - perfect for middle school kids - just enough scare to keep them interested.. but not too much!
Jack459 More than 1 year ago
Really kept my interest.