Cover Image: My Throat an Open Grave

My Throat an Open Grave

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Member Reviews

This is one of the best books I've read in 2023, if not ever. Bovalino has a gift for taking the unknown and flipping it from the supernatural to society. Of all the times for this book to be written, the era we live in now is particularly crucial. Above all, My Throat an Open Grave succeeds in both embracing the darkness without ever pretending that hope is lost. This is the kind of book that will save lives.

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My Throat An Open Grave Review! 🪦

Spoilers ahead!

My Throat an Open Grave was a 3/5 ⭐️ for me! This one wasn’t quite what I expected! First off, I skimmed the synopsis and was thinking it would be more like the movie Witch and set during witch trial times. It was modern day. 😅 whoops.

I didn’t get the twist at the end and was pretty surprised! I wasn’t a fan of the end, it made me feel icky and I personally hated how she took the easy way out. 🙃

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Thank you Page Street for the digital ARC!

I've been in the mood for a YA retelling of Labyrinth for a while, and this hit all the boxes. I love how the horror elements were kicked up a notch, and I liked how Leah's situation felt so desperate. The religious trauma + gender roles explored really hit home for me as well.

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This is one of those books that I vibed with instantly and knew that I was going to love it. That feeling never wavered once. This book is haunting and powerful. The cover is stunning.

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Tori Bovalino has a great writing style, as always. While I wasn't super into this plot like I was with Not Good for Maidens, I still really enjoyed the style.

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I really enjoyed this book! If you’re someone who enjoys “scary” books, but you don’t enjoy books that are too scary, I think this would be a perfect fit. The cover is so beautiful, I love it. This book was an easy read for me.

Since I was born and raised in a small, extremely religious Bible Belt town, where people can be very judgmental, I easily connected with Leah, our main character. I understand the feelings of shame and lack of worth that can come along with growing up in the church and the feeling of having eyes on you. I was raised and taught many of the same rules Leah was. A lot of us suffer from religious trauma and it’s not talked about a whole lot.

This book is for you if you enjoy haunting supernatural gothics, stories based in small towns, strong female friendships, strong female characters, and ghost stories.

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The epitome of cottagegore.

My Throat an Open Grave is about facing fears and overcoming religious trauma. It’s laced with the darker aspects of nature, and I found this very captivating. The chapters are short and evenly paced, with vivid writing and world-building, which makes for the perfect eerie and unsettling story.

Leah was a complex and unique protagonist, making for a peculiar frame of mind, and Tristan was an absolute delight. I loved his gentleness and understand why Leah felt she could be vulnerable with him.

Upon traveling to the land of the Lord of the Wood, a place she should fear, Leah finds it not what she expects it to be. Given the circumstances, she begins questioning the beliefs of the authoritative figures in her life and everything they taught her. Leah must then decide who the real monsters are.

Thank you, NetGalley and Page Street Publishing, for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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This takes paranormal horror to a new level. We’re the audience to a feast of depth as we enter this story. Which is one of oppression, misogyny, and the terrifying religious extremism girls face in small towns. The horror aspect starts with the eery vibes and is explained through the dark mysterious creature the Lord of the Wood. I really enjoyed how complex our main character, Leah, is throughout this entire thing. With the fast pace we’re still somehow delighted to a slow creepy setting filled with horror and pain. The ending with her discoveries really sealed the deal and I enjoyed this one immensely.

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I made the mistake of assuming that because this sounded very similar to the film Labyrinth, it would be in the same vein as far as humor and light-heartedness.
I was dead wrong—this is a dark, ominous and somber story of a girl responding to religious and emotional abuse. It was empowering and broke my heart, but in the end I was so glad I read it and appreciated the story.
Though this is a difficult read, I think older teens and adults looking for a dark fantasy will be drawn into this story with its twists and turns. They’ll be happy to watch the heroine grow into the powerhouse she was told to be afraid of.

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This was written so beautifully, and felt like a gothic horror at times. I found the concept very intriguing, and I really like the subtle tie in of the title origin and the plot. However, I felt that there could of been more lore. The book is quite short, and I wish that some of the themes were more deeply explored. I'd say this was a gothic YA fantasy, with a slight hint of folk horror.

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Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for giving me a free eARC of this book to read in exchange for my review!

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Ms. Bovalino has done it AGAIN. She was on my radar as soon as I read Devil Makes Three, and she just keeps getting BETTER and BETTER. The vibes were immaculately creepy, the characters were pristine, and the writing is elusive and great at inviting and dragging the reader into the suspense.

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What a spectacular and incredible work! I am so lucky to have recieved an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. I was absolutely breathtaken by My Throat an Open Grave. The world that Bovalino builds is absolutely spectacular, and I adore the character of Leah. The twist at the end had me absolutley reeling and enraged on Leahs behalf. What an incredible work, I could not recommend this book enough.

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I was skeptical at first, thinking it's another story about a troubled teen stuck in an old-fashioned town, but as I read on it slowly became intriguing. It has a dark, mysterious atmosphere and a twisted truth about the town and their folklore. Overall, I enjoyed reading this and it has an attractive book cover to match.

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"My Throat an Open Grave" is a ya paranormal novel, with horror overtones, written by Tori Bovalino.

I loved this book so much! Dark, mysterious and intense, it captured me right away! It is a story of oppression, fear, anguish, regret and despair. But it is also a tale of freedom, rebellion, hope, friendship and love. A path of personal growth, a journey of self-discovery, a road to acceptance and healing. It is a novel that evokes the fascinating atmosphere of David Bowie's "Labyrinth," with elements that reminded me partly of the tale of Peter Pan and partly of M. Night Shyamalan "The Village". What can I say? Tori Bovalino won me over again, creating a wonderful story that can make me cry repeatedly!

The small town of Winston, Pennsylvania, is an asphyxiating, oppressive, and hopeless place dominated by strong religious extremism, a narrow mentality, and a clear misogyny. Girls are trained to be good, pure and obedient women, subjected to extremely rigid standards to follow, on penalty of public blame. Or worse. In fact, the inhabitants of Winston are almost as scared of God as they are of the Lord of the Wood, an evil and mysterious creature who, according to the stories, dwells in the dark woods surrounding the town, taking bad girls and making them disappear forever. I was captivated by this dark and atmospheric setting, almost suspended in time, beautifully portrayed by the author's evocative and bewitching writing!

The plot proceeds smoothly, thanks to a fast pace and the presence of short chapters. The story unfolds quietly, deceptively sleepy, sinking deeper and deeper into mystery and uncertainty. I loved the subtle eeriness that hovers between the pages, as well as the sometimes magical and sometimes distressing atmosphere that the author manages to create. I admit that I identified the various plot twists in advance, but that does not affect my overall high appreciation!

Leah, protagonist with her only first person pov, won me over! She is a complex, tormented and emotionally rich character, to whom I became very fond of! Leah is a troubled 17-year-old, stifled by the oppressive climate of the town. She attends school, goes to church every Sunday, and struggles to juggle exhausting shifts at the gas station and taking care of Owen, her baby brother. She has no hope of getting out of Winston, no prospects for the future, crushed by a reality that sees her constantly lacking and invaded by numerous tempting suicidal thoughts. Her only solace remains music, at which she is incredibly skilled. When Owen is taken by the Lord of the Wood, under her supervision, Leah suffers the accusations and scorn of the townspeople and she is forced to cross the river and enter the woods to try to bring him back. Suddenly faced with the Lord of the Wood, she discovers that reality is different from what has always been instilled in her, and this will cause her to question everything.

All in all, this is a book I loved deeply, featuring a spellbinding setting, evocative prose, an intriguing plot, and beautiful characters!

Thank you to the Publisher and NetGalley for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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Gothic stories are like catnip for me, but this was just perfect. Utterly atmospheric and gripping from start to finish. I like this author's work and will always check out their releases.

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Oh my
I did not expect this
I didn't expect anything of this, and that just makes me love it all the more
More detailed review will follow soon, but know this; EVERY WORD was worth the read here

My Throat an Open Grave is an absolutely amazing example of social horror. God I loved every bit of this book.
The Lord of the Woods takes children from the town right across the river. When Leah's little brother Owen is taken, she is sent to the woods to retrieve him. But once in the woods, she has to face the question of where the horror really lies. In the stories told in the town she grew up in, or in the people that tell them?

I don't know how to describe this book without taking too much away. This was such a joy to experience, every step of the way, every twist and turn. The sense of belonging, and the horror of feeling like you don't.
I will definitely have to check out this author's other books.

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Labyrinth meets folk horror in this dark romantic story about a girl who wishes her baby brother away to the Lord of the Wood but now must get him back. Leah is from Winston, Pennsylvania, raised in a town where all girls have to be "good" and holy. If you aren't the Lord of the Wood will take you and you'll disappear like many other girls before. Yet living with such rigid standards has its costs and having to look at her baby brother every single day, his screaming, his crying, the constant toll, she just wishes he would disappear... and the Lord listens and takes him. Now the town forces Leah to go to the Lord's domain and get her brother back and if she doesn't she'll die. The town's people already hate her and are more than happy to send her to her death, all they want is her brother back. Yet when she ventures into the Lord's domain she never expects to meet a handsome man, a welcoming and kind community, and the fact that everything she's ever been told about the Lord of the Woods might be completely wrong. He offers her brother back in exchange for a song, and she has one month to write it... yet she begins seeing the ghosts of previous girls who were here, who were said to have been freed, and soon she begins to uncover the dark buried secrets of her hometown and who the monsters truly are. This was a really atmospheric gothic read and I do enjoy a twisted hometown mystery and the fact that there is a Labyrinth twist? I can't resist it. This was a really great read and makes for the perfect book to read in the autumn/spooky season!

*Thanks Netgalley and Page Street Publishing, Page Street YA for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*

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Absolutely stunning!

I went in to this totally blind, just because Tori Bovalino wrote it. That’s all I needed to know. This is one of those books that I vibed with instantly and knew that I was going to love it. That feeling never wavered once. This is has The Labyrinth vibes, and as soon as I started seeing it, I was hooked.

Living in the super religious town of Winston, Leah has tried to walk the path, told from a very young age that she must or the Lord of the Wood would take her.

A teenager helping her mother raise her baby brother Owen, she loses all hope one night and wishes for the Lord of the Wood to take him. When he does, Leah is led to the church, marked, and forced to go across the river to bring him home.

What she finds when crossing is not at all what she expected. Faced with the Lord of the Wood himself, she has trouble equating the lore with what is in front of her eyes, though she is untrusting. For the price of one song, she can get her brother back, but can it really be that easy?

This was dark and stunningly written. The end had me in tears. I loved the world created in these pages. I wanted to escape into it.

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On seeing the UK cover reveal for Tori Bovalino's newest book on Instagram, I immediately rushed onto Netgalley to request a proof. Not only is the UK cover beautiful, but the premise of a 'Labyrinth' retelling fused with folk horror sounded like exactly my kind of book. And I was not disappointed!

This book is short, readable in a day, and wonderfully atmospheric. The mystery of the Lord of the Woods, the town of Winston and the girls caught in the middle of it all unravels slowly over the course of the novel in an intriguing and satisfying manner. The story is suitably creepy at times, beautiful at others and, all in all, enjoyable and engaging.

Thank-you very much to the publishers and Netgalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy of the book for review!

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