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I Belong

Review: Velveteen by Daniel Marks

Title: Velveteen

Author: Daniel Marks

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: N/A

Publication Date: October 9, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 464 Pages

ISBN-10: 038574224X (Random House Kids)

ISBN-13: 978-0385742245 (Random House Kids)

Reviewed by: Kristie


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.

Quick & Dirty: A dark, gothic tale set in a richly detailed world – a world that at times is hard to follow.

Opening Sentence: When Velveteen Monroe pictured Bonesaw’s house—and she did, more often than could be considered healthy—blood striped the paint a muddy reddish- brown, internal organs floated in jars of formaldehyde, and great big taxidermy crows leered from branches that twisted from the wall like palsied arms.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Velveteen is a dark, gothic tale about a girl’s journey within purgatory. Velvet is the leader of a group of “ghosts” in purgatory that help fight “hauntings”, “occult type worship”, “possessions” and more. Every time a strange occurrence happens, purgatory begins to fall apart and they must stop it. But Velvet is guilty of one of those things. She has been haunting, Bonesaw, the serial killer that is responsible for her death. If she is found out, she will never be able to move on. She will always be stuck in purgatory. She does justify her actions with the fact that she is saving other girls lives and making Bonesaw’s life hell in the process.

Even though the synopsis makes it sound like Bonesaw is the main storyline, it is just a small part of the picture being played out in this novel. Most of the story revolves around Velvet and her team trying to stop purgatory from falling apart and from a revolt that wants to see purgatory destroyed once and for all, releasing all ghosts being held there. These revolutionaries believe they should be set “free”.

Velveteen is a long and convoluted story. Purgatory isn’t the easiest place to understand so getting through it is like one mega info dump. I’m still not entirely sure I understood this version of Purgatory where it is always dark and the people have to cover up their glowing skin with ash in order to dim the brightness they give off and to keep their memories from escaping. The light is their memories if I remember correctly.

Although she hides this from her “friends”, Velveteen is a girl who was tragically murdered and she can’t get over having her revenge against the man who killed her. She “haunts” him even though she knows it is against the rules. Other than that, she seems like she has no problem with being dead or the rules of Purgatory. She has no desire to return and haunt a living body. Velvet (don’t call her that) sometimes discusses how she has no emotions and when she feels something she tries to remember so she can hold on to that emotion – but she wasn’t totally emotionless. She is often harsh towards her comrades and when Nick comes into her life she is rude to him, makes out with him, and is then rude to him again. Although she attributes fighting her emotions because two people on a team cannot be a couple. I never really connected with Velveteen even though I wanted to, I really did.

As much as it may feel like I am complaining about this book, there were parts about it that I did like. The originality to the story really helped. Purgatory, even though it was hard for me to understand, definitely was a world of its own. The way this world operated was a refreshing change. The descriptive writing was excellent even though sometimes I felt like I may have got lost in the details.

Overall, Velveteen is a descriptive novel set in an original world. I would only recommend this novel to those who like dark, heavy reads set in a “ghostly” realm.

Notable Scene:

“Go on, Quentin. It’s your time. You’re the man.” Kipper’s voice was choked with tears. “You’re the man.”

Quentin’s skin ?ickered. He glanced at Velvet and Nick and smiled the briefest of smiles before the glow beneath the thin layer of ash ?ashed brightly and then dimmed. The light behind his eyes died out. Kipper lifted the boy’s head and slid from underneath him, setting him gently back onto the cold stone ground.

He backed away, as did everyone else nearby. Velvet felt a hand slipping into hers and looked down to see Luisa, her expression a confused mix of pride and grief. Velvet reached out for Nick and pulled him backward.

As though a dark ?re had been set within Quentin’s prone form, his skin began to crackle and expand, puf?ng out where it wasn’t constricted by clothing. It dimpled and shed like dandruff, falling off in chunks and exploding into ash against the cobblestone, spilling into the indentations

between. And then, as if a jetty of wind swirled about the corpse, ash curled from Quentin’s exposed ?esh in big ?akes and ?oated around him. The depressions caved, creating sinkholes on his cheeks, in the hollow of his throat. His clothes caught ? re and were consumed in an instant. When all was said and done, all that was left of the boy was a pile of ash, as gray as a storm front.

Velvet shivered, her body suddenly a hollow shell.

Remainders were silent mysterious things. No one knew what exactly anchored them to purgatory’s ashen shore. She had suspicions— everyone did— and often ?gured hers had to do with feelings, or the lack of them. The confusion of emotion. And really, if she thought about it at all, that quiet

moment in the Shattered Hall, huddled over Nick, wrapping him in the warm solidity of the woolen peacoat, could very well have been her cue to ? ash burn and turn to ash.

You just never knew. Quentin had learned everything he’d needed to, and there was no reason to be sad about that, she supposed. At least, that’s what the Council of Station Agents told them to believe.

FTC Advisory: Delacorte Books for Young Readers/Random House provided me with a copy of Velveteen. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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