Skeletal by Katherine Hayton

Posted March 11, 2015 in Book Review / 0 Comments


I received this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book may be unsuitable for people under 16 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug use, alcohol use, language, and/or violence.
Skeletal by Katherine HaytonSkeletal by Katherine Hayton
Published by the author (self-published) on January 25th 2015
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Young Adult
Pages: 266
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Buy on Amazon

Three months before she died Daina Harrow faced a bully at school.
Six weeks before she died Daina Harrow suffered an assault in the park.
One week before she died Daina Harrow stole a secret people had killed to hide.

That was ten years ago. Ten long years.

Now, her bones have been found on a building site. A coroner's inquest has been reopened. A parade of witnesses is about to start.
And Daina's here. Watching every day as her mother cries in the courtroom. Watching every day as her friends, and her enemies, and her killers lie about her on the stand.
Watching, and making sure that no matter what the coroner hears, you know the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

So help you God.

Main points


This book was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to read. It made me physically ill. Almost every situation that I read about made me want to vomit. It was awful, and long. But it was still a great book.

Seriously, Daina had possibly the worst situation ever. Here’s why.

  • No father in the picture
  • Alcoholic/druggie mother (who ignores her most of the time)
  • Poor
  • Starving
  • Abuse
  • Bullying
  • Traumatic childhood experience
  • Blackmail
  • Hallucinations
  • No real friends or sympathy
  • No one believes her about anything important
  • Even when she tries to do the right thing, things (people) turn against her in really horrible ways, including extreme overreactions
  • Assault/rape
  • Suspension from school
  • Horrible pictures of her spread around her school
  • Gets wrapped up in something bigger because of blackmail

Now imagine trying to read an entire book about this. IT DOESN’T GET BETTER. Not really. The only semi-good part (which makes it the best part) is the very end. Normally with an ending like this (I won’t spoil), I’d be infuriated because after a whole book of pure torture and pain you just say ‘for the greater good’ and think it’s okay? But as you might know by now, I am a firm believer in the greater good. A firm believer. It may not justify everything (in fact, in this case it justifies very little) but it justifies the most important thing. Again, I won’t go into details, but it has a lot to do with point #16 (above).

You have to go into this book with a certain amount of cynicism. You can’t expect anything to go right. Daina has the worst luck, having a lot like that. You might think that in society today, we see a poor kid and think, “oh, that’s not their fault, poor little kid, I wonder how I can help.” But that’s certainly not always the case. Teenagers especially will use this as an excuse to bully the kid. And Daina really can’t stand up to her vile enemy Michelle, because Michelle is violent. She’s a puncher and a hitter and is also in possession of a knife and has no moral compass. She’s not the kind of bully you stand up to once and they don’t bother you again. She has no insecurities or childhood trauma that can justify and perhaps stop her horrible actions. She’s basically a walking devil. Even the teachers know it but they can’t do anything without proof. Proof plays a huge role in this story- rather, lack thereof. Along with idiot adults and rotten teenagers.

I mean, why would you read a book where the main character is dead in the first place? It pretty much tells you how awful her life was in the synopsis (although it barely scrapes the surface). Why pick it up when there’s not likely going to be a ‘psych! Back from the dead’ scenario? Well, justice, usually. We want to see the bad guys punished.

So it’s a depressing read. And by the end, you’re so mentally exhausted and physically ill that you don’t even care what happens to the bad guys. Nothing they suffer could be as bad as Daina’s life.

What makes it so awful for her was that she actually had ambitions. She didn’t just give in and commit suicide or something. She was still wicked smart and always looked for ways to better her situation, even if she was limited by poverty and people who hated her because of it. She saw a future for herself where she could break free from the prison of her home. And seeing all that life, or potential, snuffed out was just about the worst thing I could have experienced.

Why is this a good book, then? Why does it merit all 4 stars? It sounds like a Depressing Debbie Downer book. Who wants to read that?

Well, the same reason I read through The Fault in Our Stars. The same reason I read through Thirteen Reasons Why and The Truth About Alice. Because this is life. Because this happens all the time even if we can’t see it. I personally am frustrated by the fact that I have never actually witnessed bullying. I always like to believe that I would be the person to stand up to the bully and help the victim. But I’ve never been able to test this out. I’ve kinda been itching for a chance to, to see what I would really do, but seeing bullying/fighting would probably make my cynicism worse tenfold. So perhaps it’s a good thing that I don’t see it. All the same, I know it goes on around me, in different circles, in dark corners where there’s no one to hear it and stop it. And it still makes me sick. It still makes me want to take action. Reading books like these only fuels my desire for justice in the world. It’s a harsh slap in the face anytime life gets too comfy. I am privileged that this is my fiction and not my life. This book is reality, and it assures me that if I see it happening, I will not sit idly by. Books like these are the reasons I will take a stand.


plus and minus

Daina, plot, writing, ending                                         literally everyone who is not Daina

reaction upon finishing

 Oh this book. I’m about to be sick.

this book in one word



About Katherine Hayton

Katherine Hayton is a 41 year old woman who works in insurance, doesn’t have children or pets, can’t drive, has lived in Christchurch her entire life, and currently resides two minutes walk from where she was born. Fascinating, eh?

She’s the author of two spectacular un-bestselling books (unless you count tiny niche genres on Amazon, which of course you should) FOUND, NEAR WATER and new release SKELETAL.

Overall: four-stars


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