The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

September 30, 2009
The Lovely Bones captures audiences with its grisly ­beginning: the rape and murder of fourteen-year-old Susie Salmon. The book is narrated by this very girl, and through her perspective, the reader ­experiences the different ­emotions caused by the tragedy and sees how it affects the lives of those close to her.

This novel delves into the unknown aspects of the murder: the changes that come later. The TV news rarely checks in on the family of a murdered person, but this work of fiction provides shocking ­insight into the reality of a ­murdered sister, daughter, friend, or acquaintance, and shows how a single terrible event can shape entire lives.

The book's strength lies in its character development and interactions. It moves forward and backward in time to allow the reader to get to know each character – their hopes, doubts, fears, and true self – in depth. Each is wrenched into strange and awful ways to cope with Susie's death.

Another strength of this book is its realism. Each character's behavior and how the murder changes it seems very natural and unforced.

I found the ending to be the greatest weakness. The novel ties up everything neatly with nothing to wonder about. The conclusion does a perfect job in leaving the reader with a sense of emptiness – not from the beautifully written, yet dark story, but from its weak ending that seems like a cop-out. Its abruptness leaves the reader thinking that the author was tired and overcome by laziness.

Also, the section where Susie describes living out her fantasy on Earth is disappointing, since the book is centered on the sad, dark truth of life, and this is a departure from this.

Although The Lovely Bones has its faults, it would be a mistake to pass it up. How each character evolves in the face of grief and terror is both heart-breaking and heart-warming at once.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

x0x0Luckyx0x0 said...
Mar. 31, 2010 at 9:03 am

Hmm...sounds like a book that I would like to read:]

Very nice review. I love your descriptions. :]

Alisha2969 said...
Mar. 30, 2010 at 12:36 pm


good job i loved the book and your review was fantastic also.

armybrat11 said...
Mar. 28, 2010 at 2:27 pm
This book was very good. Nice job!
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback