CM . . .
. Volume XIX Number 14. . . .December 7, 2012
In Shallow Grave, Alex Van Tol creates a seemingly predictable story of boy meets girl with a few twists thrown in. In this story, the “good” one is the boy, Elliot, who happens to be an A-student jock superstar, and Shannon is the “bad girl” attracted to trouble, has purple hair and multiple piercings. In normal circumstances, these two would never meet, but Van Tol has Elliot trying to come to Shannon’s rescue, getting himself caught up in trouble, and having to serve a detention with Shannon. Added to the mix, Elliot is also black and Shannon is white.
Shallow Grave is more than a simply story of boy meets girl, they fight then fall in love. Van Tol crosses the boundary of race as well as stereotypes, creating a situation where two very unlikely characters must get over their own prejudices and hang ups and reach out to another person to survive. The title, at first, seems mismatched, unmatched that is until Shannon wants to make a ouiji board and talk to a spirit. Out of this the mystery unfolds and many questions arise. Van Tol also throws in a little murder mystery complete with a ghost to ensure that there are complications. Although the plot seems a little far-fetched, it works because the characters fit the story and make it believable.
A good read.
Christina Pike is the Principal of St. Paul’s Junior High in St. John’s, NL.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.