Date Read: July 11, 2014
Source: Review copy from Netgalley
Publication Date: August 19, 2014
Publisher: Amazon Children’s Publishing
Genres: Young adult, poetry (novel in verse)
Summary (taken from Goodreads): On a hot summer night in a Midwestern town, a high school teenage prank goes horrifically awry. Alcohol, guns, and a dare. Within minutes, as events collide, innocents becomes victims—with tragic outcomes altering lives forever, a grisly and unfortunate scenario all too familiar from current real-life headlines. But victims can also become survivors, and as we come to know each character through his/her own distinctive voice and their interactions with one another, we see how, despite pain and guilt, they can reach out to one another, find a new equilibrium, and survive.
Told through multiple points of view in naturalistic free verse and stream of consciousness, this is an unforgettable, haunting tale.
I began Ghosting with high hopes and was met with disappointment within the first few pages. My thoughts about the book at first were that it was an average novel in verse, without anything special to hook me to the story. I believe it was about 50 pages in when I decided that, actually, it might have been a decent introduction. By the end, I made a few connections back to the start that made the slow beginning feel worth it.
This book deals with a very important issue, however it’s a bit tricky for me to dive into it without giving spoilers. So this is all I’ll say: there is a shooting in the middle of the book, and it is dealt with perfectly.
It is not very often that a book changes my view on anything. During Ghosting, I actually paused a few times to think. A couple of lines made me stop, but this one from Maxie especially: “Did we get what we deserved?”
She asks this after overhearing people say it at a drugstore. And if their story had been on the news in real life, I may have thought – or even said – the same thing. Of course I would have felt bad for those involved, those hurt. But at least a small part of me would be thinking that they did wrong and were acting recklessly, that they should have known it could happen.
I did not think this during the novel. I didn’t once blame the characters for what happened to them. And next time I hear a similar, real-life story, I know I will think differently about it.
This really comes down to how the situation was handled. Even less likeable characters were shown as human, with good sides and bad. They felt real and, while dealing with such an important topic, I feel this was very important to the book.
Overall, the story wasn’t perfect, but I feel it came very close. I know there are those who feel disconnected from novels written in verse, and I do feel that they will be much less affected by this than I was. But if you do like reading verse, this is an excellent, thought-provoking read.