Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: Wherever You Go by Heather Davis

Seventeen-year-old Holly Mullen has felt lost and lonely ever since her boyfriend, Rob, died in a tragic accident. The fact that she has to spend most of her free time caring for her little sister and Alzheimer’s-stricken grandfather doesn’t help. But Holly has no idea that as she goes about her days, Rob’s ghost is watching over her. He isn’t happy when he sees his best friend, Jason, reach out to help Holly with her grandfather—but as a ghost, he can do nothing to stop it. Is his best friend really falling for his girlfriend?

As Holly wonders whether to open her heart to Jason, the past comes back to haunt her. Her grandfather claims to be communicating with the ghost of Rob. Could the messages he has for Holly be real? And if so, how can the loved ones Rob left behind help his tortured soul make it to the other side?

Told from the perspectives of Holly, Jason, and Rob,Wherever You Go is is a poignant story about making peace with the past, opening your heart to love, and finding the courage to move forward into the light.

If you read nothing but the first sentence, know this: this book -- hmm I use so many words on how a book tries to destroy the very essence of my soul, so what to use this time around? -- ah, how about cleaved? Ooh, yes, that will work. This book cleaved me.

I was drawn to it cause if I had a dollar for every book I’ve read about love lingering beyond the grave, I’d be quite rich indeed. Not that those kinds of books aren’t great! They can be! But this one’s premise - a ghost boy watching his girlfriend and best friend fall in love? Ooh. Ouch. I hurt over here for him.

But what this book turned out to be was so, so much more. What isn’t said in the summary is the full dynamic. Yes, we have Holly and Jason, innocent, yet destroyed teens just trying to figure out ‘what next?’, but then there’s Rob and Aldo. Rob, the dead boy and Aldo, Holly’s Alzheimers-suffering grandfather and the only person who can see and talk to Rob. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it for all its awesomeness. A boy who prematurely lost his life and a man who is losing it before his very eyes. Oh my god. Their interactions range from the heart-shattering to the absolutely LOL. No, really, I laughed out loud. And just in case you were wondering at this point in time, I will say that this is not a sappy, goopy ghost love story where Rob is tied to Holly because their love is so true and pure and whatever. So if you’re thinking that’s the case. Nope. I’ll be vague, but there are much darker things lingering here.

So, yes, it’s part love story and yes, it’s part ghost/ angel story (however you want to look at Rob) and yes, it made me tear up several times, but what it really is, what it is in the overall, big picture is a story of four different people, interconnected in some form or fashion and all of their lives beautifully weaving together. Where you see a family falling apart in one person’s life, you see another pulling in and tightening up as a unit in hard times. Where you see the rash, selfish feelings of youth in one person, you see the sweet, ingrained sentimentality of old age in another. Every element, character, story line is all balanced with another and maybe I’m going too English major here, but the interweaving of this story makes it quite masterful.

Okay, I will stop with the flowery English major words and sum it up to, if you want a different kind of ghost/ love/ healing book. Check this one out. Seriously. Okay. Now, I’m going to go make cookies or something as I let this book occupy my thoughts for several days.

I also recommend If I Stay by Gayle Forman and Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson.

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