Series: Standalone Genre: Young Adult, Realistic Fiction, Verse, Contemporary Publication.Date: August 19, 2014 Pages: 423 (paperback) Published By: Skyscape Website: Edith Pattou Ghosting on Goodreads My review copy: Provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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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. (Goodreads)
I'm a sucker for verse novels. Something about them is extraordinarily beautiful. The authors ability to not only create a wonderful story, but to format them just so that you're enraptured with the feeling of poetry while experiencing the joy of prose. This novel is no different.
Ghosting is an enrapturing story of eight teens whose night of fun just before school starts changes the course of their entire lives. Broken in to two parts ("before" and "after"), this is an engaging story about how seemingly small and inconsequential actions can create a devastating turn of events. One of the scenes I found to be particularly powerful is when one of the characters is lying in bed and trying to figure out "the beginning" - the specific moment that lead to their lives changing forever. How many of us haven't gotten into some kind of accident or had something happen and thought to ourselves If I hadn't stopped for coffee I would have never witnessed that man dying or If I'd only gone left instead of right this could have been avoided.
In a cast of eight, I initially found it hard to keep of who was who. Which background and family members belonged to which individual. I would have to flip back a few pages to remind myself that this one has the abusive father, these two are sisters, or this one moved back from Colorado. However, the farther into the novel I got, the more their distinct voices became and it was easy to remember who was who.
While the novel started off on the slow side, it allows us to get to know these teens and their distinct personalities. Edith did a wonderful job of keeping me on edge while I waited for the shit to hit the fan. She did an even better job of building the suspense and tensity of the scenes before everything really fell apart. And when it did . . . oh boy, did it ever. I wanted to flip pages so fast, but was glued to each word on every page.
Whatever slowness I felt in "before" was made up tenfold in "after." I had to find out what was going to happen and was actually annoyed when it was 5:00 and I had to stop reading and leave work. Watching these characters evolve from typical teenagers to individuals dealing with a tragic situation to slowly moving beyond their trauma and living their lives is a remarkable experience. Even if you are not a fan of verse novels, the next time you in the mood for a novel about growth and survival, Ghosting is the novel for you.
Welcome to Bookish, Edith! First and foremost, I have to say how much I enjoyed Ghosting. What was your inspiration behind it?
Ghosting was inspired by a combination of things. It was inspired by memories from my own childhood--my best friend and I scaring ourselves by sneaking through grumpy neighbors’ yards or playing hide and seek in a nearby cemetery. And it was also inspired by actual events I have read about in newspapers. Kids daring each other to venture somewhere they perhaps shouldn’t and paying a price. There was a story I read some years back about a man in a house shooting at some teenagers he thought were trespassing, with tragic consequences. It got me thinking about issues of guilt and bad choices and, even more important, how you heal after an experience like that.
What made you decide to write your book in verse instead of prose?
It was when I first got the idea for Ghosting that I thought it would be interesting to try it in verse. I liked the immediacy of it, as well as the way I could use it to reveal the personalities of the characters. Once you get into the flow of it, the style of verse helps identify the character, by the way the lines are shaped on the page.
You introduce us to a wide range of characters in this novel and each voice truly stands out as an individual. I know this is basically asking you to pick a favorite child, but which character was the most fun or interesting to write?
It is like picking a favorite child! I really am attached to each one of them, even the seemingly less sympathetic. I went into the story thinking that Chloe and Brendan were the least interesting to me, but I wound up loving Chloe’s sense of humor, and having sympathy for the bully Brendan who had been bullied himself. And Maxie is sort of the outsider/author voice, and an artist like me. But I guess I have the softest spot for Faith. Her very spare and sweet and poetic voice was the most fun to write.
What do you hope readers will take away after reading Ghosting?
I hope they will take away a sense of hope. A sense that even when everything feels like it has fallen apart , that you have been tossed around in some very rough surf and that there seems to be no way back to shore, that it is in fact possible to heal and to find reasons to keep on living and doing the best you can.
One time I spontaneously . . . got a third piercing in my ear, to celebrate Ghosting being published.
I'm addicted to . . . guacamole and folding paper cranes. I taught myself how to do the latter after I’d finished a draft of Ghosting, and love doing it, especially while listening to music. And there’s nothing like a batch of fresh guacamole!
If I could live in any TV/movie/book universe, it would be . . . Narnia. I wanted to go there back when I was 10 after reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and even all these years later, I still have a yearning... A close second might be inside the novels of Charles Dickens. For all its chaos and messiness and lack of indoor plumbing, I do love Victorian England.
The last book I bought was . . . We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Loved it.
A movie that makes me cry is . . . Love Actually. And it also makes me laugh. It’s my favorite movie and I watch it at least once a year.
The favorite place I traveled to was . . . London. I feel very at home in London. Love the walking, the theaters, the museums, the parks, the shopping, and the pubs of course.
Thank you for stopping by, Edith! As for you, dear readers, do not miss the opportunity to read this wonder novel! I promise you that you won't regret it! :)