This is a sweet little coming-of-age story that ended up being more emotionally wrought than I expected.
I was expecting there to be more of a focus on the mystery, and there are attempts to build it up, but by the time the solution is finally given, it was almost too obvious and was also practically irrelevant. The latter is not really a problem--other things came up throughout the course of the story to make the answer to the mystery fall away in focus quite naturally--but it did feel strange after I finished it. In addition, I'm not sure I'm completely satisfied with the answer; it felt like there were an awful lot of people that should have known things they were apparently surprised about.
Briar's relationship with her grandfather was charming to read, and their closeness was the center of the story, really. The other characters were interesting enough and generally well-drawn, although there were a few sudden turnarounds that I'm not sure I really believed.
The setting, in a cemetery, was fun, and definitely the sort of thing I would have devoured as a child. There's a lot to be said for setting a not-creepy story in a creepy place, and it did lend a sense of wonder and mystery just by being the center of the action.
This is definitely fantasy, but a sort of gentle fantasy, very much set in the real world through the eyes of a child. Briar's acceptance of certain aspects of the story would have been strange had she been an adult, but as a child, magic never seems far away, and fairy tales and life intertwine in a way that we forget as an adult. Apparently Aaron Galvin never completely forgot, and for that reason alone I'll be picking up more of his books.
This book was provided to me for free by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.