by Daniel Marks
Published by Delacorte BFYR
on October 9, 2012
Source: received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley. See my FTC disclosure here.
My summary: Velveteen Monroe is an angry girl. She made a stupid mistake and ended up dead. Not just dead, but horribly murdered. Bonesaw, the guy who killed her, is still abducting and murdering girls. Meanwhile, she's stuck in Purgatory, where she's in charge of a team that rescues wayward souls. There's lots of unrest in Purgatory, but Velvet just wants to get her job done so she can sneak back into the real world and thwart Bonesaw. One day her team rescues Nick, a guy whose soul was stuck in a glass globe. Velveteen's irritated when Nick -- this doofy jock -- starts hanging around her like a lovesick puppy. She tries to shake him off, but he's harder to get rid of than gum on the bottom of her beloved Fluevog boots. In her mission for revenge, Velvet has trained herself not to need anyone. But maybe, with Nick's help, she can finally find something that has eluded her since her death.
My take: I was afraid to read this book. I used to love reading creepy serial killer stuff, but as I got older, I've found that stuff harder and harder to read. I expect that some readers were disappointed that the whole Velveteen-gets-revenge-on-Bonesaw thing doesn't make up the majority of this book's plot. Instead, the plot meanders around Purgatory.
The whole district clung to the side of a massive, nameless mountain looming on the horizon, as dark as night. At its top, a grand old station stood, stony and gray ... Hundreds of sets of rails trailed from openings around the circumference of the building, like the tentacles of a Portuguese man of war. Wooden cars rattled up and down the tracks at all hours of the darkness, filled to overflowing with souls, old and new.Atmospheric, right? There are revolutionaries marching around Purgatory, plotting some kind of insurrection or infiltration of the land of the living that I didn't completely understand. But other than that, I thought the worldbuilding in this book was fantastic -- Purgatory is a creepily beautiful place.
"Being murdered changes a girl."Velveteen's anger is like a current that sizzles quietly under the surface of the story. I've said it before: I have this soft spot for angry girl characters. Velveteen is also sarcastic. Irreverent. She doesn't take crap from anyone. I think she blames herself for her own murder. The book is coy on that front, taking a while to reveal exactly how Velveteen ended up dead.
"This is ... not a love story."That's what Velveteen tells Nick, but I'll let you make up your own mind. Velveteen doesn't think she wants emotional attachment -- she rarely seems to think of her parents, of her family. She's focused. Obsessed. Nick is her complete opposite. He's new to the whole Purgatory thing. His neediness unnerves Velveteen. She thinks of herself as a one-woman show.
"You can't escape your demons."While I expected this book to be the gory tale of Velveteen exacting some kind of bloody revenge on Bonesaw, I was pleased that Velveteen was a much more complicated book than that. I loved Velveteen. It might not be exactly what you expect, and it's definitely not your typical YA. But if you like darkly beautiful stories, angry girl characters, imaginative settings, and don't mind a little meandering and a change of plan, you'll definitely want to give this one a try.
A hardcover of Velveteen will be one of my prize choices this week on Freebie Friday -- stop by and check it out!