31 Shots of Shock: #1 – ‘The Wrong Grave’ by Kelly Link

31 Shots of Shock *Title: The Wrong Grave by Kelly Link
Date Read: 01 October 2009
Available Online?: YES – on Kelly Link’s own website. (although Rob read this story from Kelly Link’s published collection, Pretty Monsters (Canongate Books))
Briefly: Miles’s girlfriend Bethany has died in a car crash, and several months later, desperate to retrieve a bundle of poetry he put with her, Miles go back to dig up Bethany’s coffin.
Afterthoughts: Well my first foray into the fictional world of Kelly Link actually went quite well. It’s clear from the story’s theme and tone that it’s primarily aimed at the Young Adult reader (I think the overall design of the book in which this story is ensconced suggests that anyway). That said it’s certainly not limited solely to that age group (although a solitary f-bomb in this story probably rules it out for the really junior reader). Overall an OK story then – more comical than scary, and certainly not as terrifying a story as one may imagine digging up a dead girlfriend would be.
Notable Quote: “It was as if when he’d put those poems into the casket, he hadn’t just given Bethany the only copies of some poems, but had instead given away those shining, perfect lines, given them away so thoroughly that he’d never be able to write them out again. Miles knew that Bethany was dead. There was nothing to do about that. But the poetry was different. You have to salvage what you can, even if you’re the one who buried it in the first place.”

Rating: ★★★☆☆

*Story read as part of my 31 Shots of Shock reading challenge.

About Rob

Rob, a self-confessed bibliophile, is without any hope of rehabilitation. He gets unnaturally excited over anything book-shaped, and if book sniffing were a crime then he would have been locked up years ago (which wouldn't bother him in the slightest provided his cell was lined with books).


  1. I saved this post and came back after I read the story. This one seems typical of what I’ve read this season of youth-focused scary stories — they rely quite a bit on the “gross” factor. I guess the youngsters react more strongly to gross than scary. I think it’s much easier to get parents to approve of gross or creepy versus full-on scary too. I liked Link’s straight forward style and I will go read the next story before you get up your next post. 😉 I’ll write about these on my blog at the end of the book.

  2. Rob (Twitter: robaroundbooks)

    Thanks for reading along Kristen and apologies for my delay in getting going. You’ve probably noticed I’ve caught up with my review posts on the Link stories now so I’m well and truly up and running.

    Good point on the gross vs. scary. Although I didn’t think this story was particularly gross – then again I’m not a teen and my gross-meter has a pretty high setting:)