I bought Cemetery Girl by David J. Bell because I made the mistake of parking in front of the Barnes & Noble at the mall. God, how I love book stores. I’ve been meaning to read Dracula around Halloween time, but since it was already the week of I figured it would take too long. Since I’m already reading The Girl Who Played with Fire, I decided I would find a quick read – Cemetery Girl was it.
It was a super fast read – A lot of the chapters were only a couple pages (do those even qualify as legit chapters?), but it was ultimately disappointing.
I always read the first few pages (in this case chapter) before I buy a book that I’ve heard nothing about. The character Caitlin intrigued me:
“My daughter disappeared, and there were times I wondered if she was somehow responsible. Caitlin wasn’t like most kids–she wasn’t immature or childish. She wasn’t ignorant. In fact, she possessed a preternatural understanding of how the world worked, how humans worked.” – Tom Stuart (Caitlin’s Dad)
I thought she seemed kind of like myself – I was a very peculiar child so I’ve been told – so I bought it. Unfortunately, nothing about this book seemed original to me. Not even the cover…
It could have been an episode straight out of Law & Order SVU.
Four years after Tom and Abby’s 12-year-old daughter vanishes, she is found alive but strangely calm. When the teen refuses to testify against the man connected to her disappearance, Tom decides to investigate the traumatizing case on his own. Nothing can prepare him for what he is about to discover.
From the title, I figured the book might have something to do with the paranormal, but it was just based off the setting. Big let down.
Also, the line about understanding how humans worked seems to be an obvious misconception on the part of the Dad. Completely wrong. We don’t even get to enjoy Caitlin’s character because she disappears and reappears traumatically confused ! So disappointing – she was practically the entire reason I picked up the book. The other characters didn’t have much depth to them. I never felt an attachment to anyone. I actually despised all of the other characters: the Dad, the Mom, the Priest, etc. At one point in the book, I actually thought the Dad might be schizo or something, so I got excited, NOPE.
Also, I learned not 1 thing from this book that I didn’t already know.
***SPOILER*** ***SPOILER*** ***SPOILER*** ***SPOILER*** ***SPOILER***
Then, the tagline: Every truth has its price.
It doesn’t even make much sense. First of all, they find her. She was sexually assaulted. It’s awful, but seriously? Is that it? That’s just plot. Nothing crazy. It seems like getting your daughter (presumed dead) back would be worth more than finding out that she has been sexually assaulted… I get that they were trying to say that the price of prying for the truth was the confession that Caitlin loves her attacker, but that’s not truth! That’s trauma. She was 12 when she was taken. She didn’t know what love was. At 16, she still probably doesn’t know what it is. She was abused. The father is a real idiot if he believes her. She was a victim of a confessed pedophile. It’s not a price! It’s trauma!
The Dad was OBSESSED with finding out what exactly happened to his daughter, Caitlin. Why on Earth would he want to know details like that? At one point, he grabbed her in frustration, not caring if he bruised her, because she didn’t want to tell him what happened. Are you serious? Your daughter is missing for years and then you don’t care if you hurt her because you are so consumed with getting information from her? That is ridiculous. At one point in the book, he wants to know her history so badly that he actually goes to the perpetrators house. They have a conversation and make a deal: The Dad will agree to give up Caitlin to this sex offender after he tells him every last detail about what had happened. WHAT?!?! That is not normal Dad behavior… normal Dads would want to KILL that man before having a casual conversation with him and trading her in.
Possible plot twists that would have made the book better: if the brother had been involved, if they saved the Caitlin look alike victim
Probably the best twists would have been: if the Priest who was telling the Dad to move on the whole book, who was so close (too close) with the wife, had been responsible the entire time. That would have been great! or if the Dad kept seeing Caitlin, who had actually died, and developed the entire story because he was a schizophrenic. That would have been pretty cool too.
But, eh.. just a regular ol’ episode of SVU. Nothing to rave about.
I give this book 2 stars – The average rating on Goodreads is 3.35.