Book Reviews

Review: My Throat an Open Grave by Tori Bovalino

Tori Bovalino is an auto-buy author for me and My Throat an Open Grave might be the one with the biggest twist. I screeched. To say I enjoyed it is an understatement. Keep reading this book review of My Throat an Open Grave for my full thoughts.


Growing up in the small town of Winston, Pennsylvania feels like drowning. Leah goes to church every Sunday, works when she isn’t at school, and takes care of her baby brother, Owen. Like every girl in Winston, she tries to be right and good and holy. If she isn’t the Lord of the Wood will take her, and she’ll disappear like so many other girls before her.

But living up to the rigorous standards of the town takes its toll. One night, when Owen won’t stop screaming, Leah wishes him away, and the Lord listens. The screaming stops, and all that’s left in the crib is a small bundle of sticks tied with a ribbon.

Filled with shame and the weight of the town’s judgment, Leah is forced to cross the river into the Lord of the Wood’s domain to bring Owen back. But the devilish figure who has haunted Winston for generations isn’t what she expects. He tells her she can have her brother back―for the price of a song. A song that Leah will have one month to write.

It’s a bargain that will uncover secrets her hometown has tried to keep buried for decades. And what she unearths will have her questioning everything she’s been taught to fear.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

Not going to lie, I was enjoying My Throat an Open Grave. I love when a character has to re-examine the rhetoric they’ve grown up surrounded in. Especially if they have to discover their sense of worth. But when I got to the twist, I screamed and fell in love. Bovalino’s recent release is a book about the desires of girls. Of their bodies being turned against themselves. A society, a culture, a community which seeks to enforce rigid standards of ‘purity’ and ‘goodness’ for only some. Beginning with this, My Throat an Open Grave packs a punch.

It begins by locating Leah in this swamp of enemies. And for her to then have to go try to save her brother from the Lord of the Woods seems like a disaster. But in her quest, she will realize that the things she was told, the image of herself, might be different than what she was made to believe. She is the one waking up. My Throat an Open Grave turns out to be a story about self-reclamation, of justice and revenge, and of fighting back against the sexism and patriarchal systems.

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Fairy tales become real. Bovalino delivers a story that examines the construction of ‘goodness’. She must re-connect with herself, her own body, and her own wants. It’s an emotional battle cry. Find My Throat an Open Grave on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, & Blackwells.


What is your favorite book with the best plot twist?

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