Grave Matter by Juno Dawson and Alex T Smith

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Grave Matter by Juno Dawson and Alex T Smith

Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Amy Etherington
Reviewed by Amy Etherington
Summary: A wonderfully creepy and emotionally engaging story about love and loss, complete with brilliant illustrations. Another great release from Barrington Stoke.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 96 Date: October 2017
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1781126042

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Since Eliza died, since the night of the car crash that took her life, Sam is a broken soul. He is lost without the girl he loves, feeling as though a part of him died that night too. But he is desperate and he cannot live without Eliza. He remembers his estranged Aunt Marie and her peculiar healing powers and wonders if she might be able to help him. However, finding his Aunt Marie leads him to discover the Milk Man, which causes Sam in his grieving state to make a pact with forces he doesn't understand. Things soon turn complicated as supernatural powers start to change Sam's life in more ways than he bargained for.

I do love a good gothic story and Grave Matter ticked all of the boxes for me. The eeriness that seeped through this book's pages had me hooked from the very start and the macabre atmosphere kept up throughout. It's a young adult story about love and loss and it's executed beautifully, not just through the writing but also through the illustrations perfectly placed throughout. Author Juno Dawson and illustrator Alex T Smith have collaborated to create an enticing story that is wonderfully creepy, but also emotionally poignant.

For a book less than 150 pages in length this felt like more of a novella rather than a full-length novel, but that doesn't mean the story falls short. It's packed with supernatural elements and at no point does the story feel rushed or too short. For those readers who aren't inclined to pick up lengthy volumes then Grave Matter is a great book to recommend to reluctant readers, because it packs a punch in just a few chapters. The writing style encapsulates feelings of grief and anger, whilst simultaneously creating a gloomy atmosphere, making it the perfect spooky read.

Plus, it's a Barrington Stoke book which means there's more to it than meets the eye, since Barrington Stoke are a publisher who produce dyslexia friendly books. The specially designed font makes each word clear and distinctive, while the thick off-white paper on which it's printed stops text bleeding through from the back of the page. The spacing between each word is carefully placed to help stop the reader from getting lost on the page and allows each word to easily follow on to the next. I myself found benefiting from this brilliant formatting as it helped to reduce eye-strain and allowed for a more effortless reading experience. This is one I'd love to come back to each autumn to re-read. Grave Matter is an intricately crafted story and one I'm very glad I had the opportunity to read. Many thanks to the publishers for providing The Bookbag with a copy.

For further reading, why not check out Dead Brigade by James Lovegrove for another creepy, dyslexia friendly read from Barrington Stoke.

Buy Grave Matter by Juno Dawson and Alex T Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Grave Matter by Juno Dawson and Alex T Smith at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Grave Matter by Juno Dawson and Alex T Smith at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Grave Matter by Juno Dawson and Alex T Smith at Amazon.com.


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