Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.
The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.
Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days.
It’ll be brutal... and awesome.
But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.
Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules... or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published October 9th 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
(summary grabbed from GoodReads)
Velveteen was another book whose marketing was deceiving. Everything from the blurb to the first chapter implies that we are in store for Velvet’s tale of revenge against her murderer. That’s not really the case: Velvet’s story is about much more than just revenge. Honestly, I was wondering when I started reading how the author could hold an audience with just revenge as the main idea. So upon discovering that Velveteen is more about Velvet’s life in purgatory, solving the mystery of the Departure (an impending revolution in purgatory) with her rag tag group of salvagers/friends, ALONG with messing up Bonesaw’s plans, I was a little annoyed. But I kept reading, and I ended up loving this more-complex-than-I-was-expecting book.
There’s a lot to say about Velvet as a character. Originally, I was going to call her sassy, snarky, and angry, but that would be doing her a disservice. No, Velvet is a bitch. Her consistency for being straight forward and confrontational is remarkable for a YA female lead. What was especially surprising is how much her ever-repulsive attitude grew on me. She was like a teddy bear covered in spikes: morbidly cute and cuddly, but don’t touch her or she’ll rip you to shreds. The only criticism I have about Velvet is that her inner monologue was kind of spastic and hard to follow at times, but it also fit the character in my opinion. Honestly, it took a little getting used to, but I ended up adapting to the all-over-ness as part of her voice.
Daniel Marks’s purgatory had me imagining a combination of the art of Beetlejuice by Tim Burton
and MirrorMask by Jim Henson Pictures. It was a twisted and crumbling vision of the afterlife and I loved it. Velvet’s job in purgatory is that of a “salvager:” when a shadow quake (like an earthquake in that it shakes the world, but with black tentacles popping up everywhere that grab people and show them visions of terror) occurs, she and her team find and eliminate the source of it. The source is usually a soul that broke out of purgatory and haunts the living.
And that’s what Velveteen ended up really centered around: Velvet’s role as the leader of her salvage team and the mystery that unfold around the recent shadow quakes. I really liked how Daniel Marks tied her haunting into the shadow quake conspiracy… and that’s all I can say about that without any spoilers.
Final Thought: 32 out of 35 toadstools
This review is also available on GoodReads