cover image My Throat an Open Grave

My Throat an Open Grave

Tori Bovalino. Page Street YA, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-64567-930-1

Leah Jones has always known that her life was never going to extend beyond the borders of the small religious town of Winston, Pa., where she lives with her cruel mother and cares for her younger brother, Owen. Winston is ruled by the Lord of the Wood, a mysterious being who steals babies away into the surrounding forest, never to be seen again. When Owen is taken while Leah is supposed to be watching him, she’s forced into completing the only ritual that has a chance to get him back: going after and bargaining with the Lord. The fact that this ritual has never worked and has always resulted in the deaths of both child and bargainer is of no consequence to the townspeople. Left with no choice, Leah enters the Lord of the Wood’s domain. Beyond the trees, she discovers that the world she grew up hearing stories about looks far different than the horrors she had expected and learns that the myth of the Lord is something else entirely. In this darkly atmospheric tale of folk horror, Bovalino (Not Good for Maidens) employs sophisticated prose to perceptively examine the town’s unspecified oppressive religious institutions and how its tenets keep the young women of Winston from achieving their full potential or pursuing happiness. Characters are described as having varying skin tones. Ages 14–up. Agents: Uwe Stender and Amelia Appel, Triada US. (Feb.)