A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
In the Author's Note we learn that the murders mentioned were inspired by real crime sprees in 1958 and 1959, the 1959 murders from Truman Capote's In Cold Blood. Includes some talk of vampire lore, which readers can compare with many other books. Some facts about how crimes committed in more than one state are handled by law enforcement and the courts and what the laws were in the 1950s on the death penalty in different states.
The importance of the truth. How the desire for political or financial gain can get in the way of the truth.
Positive Role Models
Michael is the sheriff's son and has aspirations to become a reporter and leave his small town. He's thrust into the spotlight when Marie will talk only to him about the murders and he asks for advice from his father and a reporter when he knows he's in over his head. He really wants to do a good job and find a way to help Marie, even when the town turns against him and even when his life is in danger. Sometimes he makes some bad choices, like drinking to excess, fighting at school, and trusting the wrong classmates. He is also taken in by Marie more than he admits to himself.
Examines the sexism of the era through how Marie is treated by the courts, law enforcement, the press, and the small town where she's jailed. Marie works hard to remain tough and in control and not play into the sexist stereotypes the press sets up for her. The cast of characters reads as White.
Did we miss something on diversity? Suggest an update.
Violence & Scariness
Details on the murders of 17 people that happen before the story begins: throats slit, blood drained, where the bodies are found, and how in one case a toddler watches her family die. Fistfights between mostly drunk teen boys, and once a gun is pulled. Another gun fires accidentally, almost hitting someone in the head. A teen boy is beaten by his father. Sexual abuse is alluded to. A snake is nailed to a door. Story of a woman's family dying in a fire. Old stories of people suspected of being vampires being buried in mass graves upside down, and one girl who's dug up, her heart pulled out, burned, and eaten.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Sex, Romance & Nudity
A boy flashes his backside in the car. Innuendo and probing questions about Marie's sex life. A couple making out in a car. A teen boy and girl sleep next to each other at night, clothed.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Mostly "s--t," "bastard," "hell," and versions of "damn" in moments of stress.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Mike and Ike candy.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Lots of teen drinking among seniors in high school in 1958 and 1959. They also drive drunk on country roads and fight drunk and smoke quite a bit. Michael, the main character, smokes once and Marie is either smoking or asking for a pack of smokes.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that All These Bodies is a paranormal murder mystery by Kendare Blake, the author of Anna Dressed in Blood and the Three Dark Crowns series. It concerns the murder-scene arrest of a teen girl covered in blood. Marie is accused of taking part in some way in 17 murders around the Midwest where victims are drained of blood. Even though these murders happened before the story begins, many details emerge during the long interrogation, including how bodies are slit open and how a toddler watched her family die. There are also fistfights among mostly drunk teens, and there's lots of teen drinking and smoking. A boy is beaten by his father, another boy is threatened by a gun and shot at by accident, there's talk of sexual abuse and an old story repeated about a girl dug up so her heart can be burned and consumed. There's innuendo about Marie's sex life and lots of sexism in the handling of her case in 1958/59 when the story is set. Seventeen-year-old Michael helps Marie tell her story. He's determined to get the truth and suffers threats, fights, and almost worse because of it.
Is It Any Good?
This macabre, supernatural murder mystery focuses on its great characters and unfolds in a socially conscious way. The great characters are both Michael and Marie Catherine Hale, drawn to each other and incredibly different. Michael is a steadfast pursuer of the truth and suffers about every kind of injustice from his community that's easily swayed by salacious headlines and gossip. Marie faces off against her terrible beginnings and a system that will only see her as a virginal victim or a sexually depraved murderer. As Michael's interrogation gets closer to the truth, the truth gets wilder and harder to grasp.
The lurking presence of Marie's accomplice in the small town adds some fantastic tension. Michael and friends are toyed with in creepy ways. It's a surprise that the teens can sneak out at all to get toyed with, given how terrorized the town is supposed to be, actually, but it does keep the threat alive in our minds as Marie's time with Michael runs short. Before Marie leaves the local jail for good, though, there are more bodies to discover and most twists to keep readers guessing right up until the last sentence.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.