Title: Grave Matter
Author: Juno Dawson
Illustrator: Alex T. Smith
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
Genre: Teen/young adult fiction, Fantasy – supernatural, Horror
Book format: Digital
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Description: Since the car accident that resulted in the death of his girlfriend Eliza, Samuel is devastated and blames himself for the crash. He is drowning in grief and his overwhelming need to reunite with Eliza drives him to the forces of black magic, in a bid to bring her back to life. But he has difficult choices to make and the terrifying consequences of dark magic are about to raise their head…

*Free copy provided by publisher for review…

Review:  Oh wow this story is so amazing, spooky and will keep you turning the pages! Teenager Samuel can’t move on ever since the car crash that killed his girlfried Eliza. At her funeral he breaks down and after he is taken home, his mum helps him to get some rest. While asleep Sam has some strange dreams, ones that lead him down a path where he hopes to bring Eliza back from the dead. But messing with dark magic has its consequences, ones that Samuel may live to regret.

Grave Matter book page image one
Digital image of double page in book ©Barrington Stoke

I found out about this book only recently and was desperate to read it as it’s the perfect spooky tale for Halloween (or any other time of the year)! Samuel struggles to cope with Eliza’s death, but spurred on by a dream he had of his aunt when he was younger, he decides to track her down in the hopes that her dabbling in hoodoo can help him bring Eliza back. The story is really good, at first focusing on Samuel’s grief, the thoughts and wishes he has, as well as him being plagued by memories of how Eliza died. After a while though the story takes a very dark twist and it’s the various things that happen afterwards that really make this a gripping tale.

I won’t reveal what happens but this story has a lot of dark gothic horror in it, and it leaves you feeling a little creeped out by all the eerie things that are happening in Samuel’s life. I have always loved spooky and eerie things, which is probably why I like this so much, but apart from the eerie things that are happening this story also focuses on Samuel’s thoughts, the grief and confusion he feels as things become stranger and stranger. The story has a good climax and I was gripped all the way to the last pages, I never knew what would happen next and I was pleased with how the story ended, with a satisfying ending for all the characters involved.

What I love about this story is just how creepy it ended up feeling. There are moments where I got spooked out, by shadows, a character’s face when turning around, the spiders and the eerie character of the milk man who is a brilliant character, and one that I can’t quite get out of my head and hope I don’t end up dreaming about myself! 😮 The story also has a good conclusion and wider message about dealing with grief and loss.

Grave Matter book page image two
Digital image of illustrated page in book ©Barrington Stoke

The illustrations in this book are wonderful and really add to the eerie vibe. There are small illustrations used as chapter headers as well as illustrations throughout the story every few pages. They are in black, white and grey and add to the haunting feel of the story. Although I have read the digital version of this book, I can see that the book has easy to read text and the pages are thick and creamy which should aid reading for dyslexics and reluctant readers. It’s also quite a short book so great for teens who feel daunted at larger books, like I was.

I really can’t get across how much I have loved this story! It’s going on my favourites shelf and I think it’s the perfect creepy story for Halloween, or indeed any time of year you want to read something spooky. A brilliant book that’s perfect for all teens and older, and one that will stay with you for a while!


What do you think of this spooky book?  Do you like creepy gothic horror?  Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂