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Review: Velveteen by Daniel Marks

Wednesday, November 14, 2012
by Daniel Marks

3.5 Stars: A Good Read
Hardback: 464 Pages
Publication: October 9, 2012 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
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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.

For someone who's dead set on terrorizing her killer, Velveteen doesn't actually spend most of her time haunting Bonesaw. This took me by surprise. As the synopsis suggested that Velveteen was crazy enough to seriously take down everyone around her in her schemes to take down her killer, I was expecting a dark, spooky ghost story. Far from it. If you're looking for a story filled with the macabre, horror, and whatnot, this isn't the book for you.

Rather, this book is more like a drama. Down in Purgatory, everything is gray and toned-down, but it's like high school all over again; at least, the way dramas and movies often portray it. There is the stuckup Queen Bee with her loyal minions, there are the 'outcasts' who love to make fun of the Queen Bee, and there are the adults playing favorites, among others. There is also the holy Council of Elders that has been keeping many, many secrets from the rest of Purgatory. I cannot begin to fathom what is going up there, only that there is a revolution going on. Whether they're being misled or not is up in the air. Plotwise, there are far too many angles being tackled within the span of one book, even if it is almost 500 pages long. Again, there isn't enough focus on Bonesaw for what the synopsis suggests, then there is the revolution, the mystery of Nick's death and capture (potentially related to the mess going on), and Velveteen's work both in Purgatory and above. Not to mention some romantic developments.

Velveteen is a kickass, goth girl with a domineering side. She's a bit of a bitch and could easily be misunderstood, but her team is filled with a bunch of misfits as well. Most of her time is spent down in Purgatory or on missions with her workteam from Purgatory. My favorite supporting character definitely had to be Logan, followed by his twin sister Luisa. These two kiddos (stuck at age twelve after a car accident one fateful Halloween) are poltergeists and specialize in wrecking havoc above while the rest of the team scavenges the lost soul they've been sent to claim. Think a mafia kid boss, and you've got Logan down. His sister is like a little kid mother; despite her equally bad mouth, she is forever looking after Logan. She is also Velveteen's closest friend and confidant. I love how she keeps Velveteen in line. Don't underestimate her because of appearances; she's far older than Velveteen and is overflowing with woman's intuition.

As for Nick, Velveteen's latest scavenge and romantic interest, he's a douche. For lack of a better word or phrase. He's hot and he knows it, but he also freaks out like a little kid upon realizing that he's dead and doesn't listen to his saviors when they try to calm him down and explain what's going on. He isn't really bright in the head for all that he turns out to be a pretty nice guy. When he's around Velveteen, I get the image of a labrador puppy stuck in my head. Though she's a bitch and he knows it, he's still attracted to her and wants to be involved with her, though she tries to avoid him, knowing that they'll both get into big trouble if they're caught (since they're coworkers and shouldn't be involved in the first place).

All in all, I had a lot of fun reading this book for all the drama overload. I loved every scene involving the twins, and it was amusing seeing Velveteen fail to avoid Nick and start thinking about him. She uses an overabundance of hot words to describe him, though it's all physical and I still fail to see the attractiveness of his mental processes. The two of them are pretty dissimilar. For all that Logan is stuck in a twelve-year-old body, it would have made more sense to me if he and Velveteen started to develop an attraction. That's saying something considering that Nick is in the right age bracket for her.

A copy of this book was provided for review by the publisher.

4 comments on "Review: Velveteen by Daniel Marks"
  1. Nice review, Kris. I've been tossing up whether to read this book or not. You'd think the book would be more like the pitch - it's kind of sad it isn't.

    1. It *is* disappointing when the book doesn't turn out as the pitch suggests. The cover and pitch are targeting the wrong audience for the book. I did end up enjoying this book for what it is, but it isn't the kind of book I'd typically pick up based off the content.

  2. I was disappointed that this book wasn't more about Velvet terrorizing her killer since that is what was promised! I would have enjoyed this book more if its synopsis had been more accurate because the story told was good-I just felt misled.

    1. I agree. The story was good; the synopsis just misleading. If it was the story that was promised, I probably would have enjoyed it a lot more instead of spending so much time wondering just how Bonesaw tied into the story.


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