Author: Edith Pattou
Publisher: Skyscape, an imprint of AmazonPublishing
Date Published: August 19, 2014
Synopsis 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.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I first downloaded the ePUB of Ghosting. I recognized Edith Pattou’s name from her novel East, a story that I loved as a child and I’ve read over and over again. I figured Ghosting would be a tragic story based on it’s description, but the synopsis sheds little light on the terrible and powerful story that’s within.
I was drawn to the character of Maxine. She is one of those people who follows her passion (photography) and although she wants to make friends, she doesn’t succumb to peer pressure to do anything too far out of her comfort zone. She is sensitive and perceptive to the emotions and needs of those around her. She seems to have a very natural openness to her that draws not only the characters to her, but the reader as well. She’s a beacon of hope throughout the story and when she struggles, it really touches your heart. I found myself cheering for her to find away to fit in and to survive her situation.
It’s a night of fun gone awry. New friends and old get together for a party, but when drugs and alcohol mix with irrationality and mischief-making, a simple night of blowing off steam turns to tragedy. While I felt that the story itself was a little bit didactic (“Hey kids, drugs and alcohol are bad. You know what happened to the teens who did things they weren’t supposed to? They died.”), Pattou turns it into a fast paced, stylized narrative through the text’s form. Written as a free verse, the story is imbued with a rhythm almost like a heartbeat racing with adrenaline. Her sentence structure pulls you through the story, not letting you pause for a second. Her writing style thrusts you into the story, as though you, the reader, are right there in the van. Her choice of form brings the story to life. While it rushes you through the story, it also causes you to pause to really take in what each character is saying. The sentences are deliberate and pointed, each holding a significant meaning to the overall plot. It is because of the story’s free verse structure that I’ve given it 4 stars, because without it, I don’t think the story would have come alive for me in the same way.
It’s definitely a book worth looking into. And it’s a book that could have a huge impact on a lot of young readers. It’s a very heavy YA that makes bold statements about substance abuse, violence, friendship, relationships, and more.