Cemetery Girl Book One: The Pretenders

Cemetery Girl - Cemetery Girl 1

Cemetery Girl is a new graphic novel series written by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden. I had my eye on this not only because I am a fan of Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse stories, but also because I’ve been finding myself drawn more towards graphic novels of late. There’s something very soothing about swapping text-dense history books for the pages of a lushly drawn comic, even when the story is as intriguing as this one.
The story begins with a young girl being dumped out of the boot of a car into a cemetery and left for dead. The poor girl isn’t dead, although she has lost her memory and has no idea who she is. She’s pretty certain someone meant to kill her though, and the small flashes of her past she sees are not pleasant. Until she can figure out who she is, and why someone was trying to get rid of her she decides to stay hidden in the graveyard.
The first part of the book follows her first few nights, as she works out how to look after herself. As her own name is lost along with all her other memories she renames herself, picking Calexa Rose Dunhill from words she sees in the cemetery. I found this part of the story pretty sad, as she’s all alone and too scared to trust anyone. She knows nothing about her personality or even what her voice sounds like. Within the first few pages I already loved Calexa, for her bravery and resourcefulness – qualities she’s going to need in buckets.
Calexa’s brush with death seems to have left her with the ability to see the spirits of the deceased. Mostly they ascend peacefully, but one sticks around in the hope that Calexa can find peace and justice for her – exactly the things that Calexa wants for herself too. The supernatural twist gives the story an extra layer of interest and gives Calexa something to focus on other than her own dire situation.
I really enjoyed Cemetery Girl. One of the things I thought worked well was the way time moves along. There are gaps of weeks at a time, which worked for me with the little captions orienting the reader. I enjoyed the artwork too, especially the sepia-toned memories and the contrast between Calexa’s red hair and the blue-grey colours of the cemetery at night. There are some gorgeous panels from the book on the publisher’s, Jo Fletcher Books, website.
Book Two is planned, it’s called Inheritance, but so far there’s no publication date. I hope it’s not too long a wait.
I purchased my copy of Cemetery Girl from Waterstones Piccadilly. It’s always nice to have a browse in my old shop.

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