SUMMARY (Courtesy of goodreads.com):
Restless souls and empty hearts.
Brooklyn can’t sleep. Her boyfriend, Lucca died a year ago, and now their friend Gabe has died of an overdose. Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe's ghost is there, waiting for her. She has no idea what he wants or why it isn't Lucca chasing her through her dreams.
Nico can’t stop. He’s always running, trying so hard not to feel the pain of missing Lucca. But when he begins receiving messages from his dead brother, telling him to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.
As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn. But neither of them can admit that they're being haunted. Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest.
OPINION: 5 STARS
Reverberating- that's the main word that comes to mind after reading this book because many parts of it continue to stay in my head. This story and the characters have nestled their way into a niche all their own within my heart, right alongside some of the other angsty/tragic greats (Greats in my mind). This is a story of life and death, sorrow and happiness, good and bad all rolled into a ghost story. Whether you believe in ghosts or not doesn't matter- whether you agree with the way Schroeder has posed those we love coming back after their deaths doesn't matter. What does matter is the way she integrated it into the story and the way those ghosts played just as big a roll as any living character.
Brooklyn is your high school student struggling with the death of her boyfriend- even one year later when this book opens. What makes it more tragic is his death is just a short 6 months after the accidental death of a classmate- but for Brooklyn, losing Lucca is unimaginable. While the school moves on, she stays locked in her sorrow and loss. The only person who seems to really understand is Lucca's brother Nico- a senior and just one year older. While their paths have crossed in the past because of their mutual association with Lucca, these two aren't particularly close. Neither are there for each other until certain things pushes Nico towards her.
Nico is the older son but the one who takes all the fault- where Lucca could do no wrong, Nico can do no right. Or so it feels for him, made more clear after his brother dies. Though he never states it flat out, as a reader I couldn't help but wonder how many times in the past year his parents wished that just maybe it had been him that passed rather than Lucca. Would his parents be in the same distant, broken state if they had lost their eldest son or was it Lucca himself that did this to him? Of course, Nico's side is biased- we see what he sees, we think what he sees, but things that are hard to imagine like that still crossed my mind because of the way Nico was played out. My heart broke more for Nico than for Brooklyn and though her name is in the title, it is as much about Nico as it is Brooklyn.
Although the total word count of this book is low because of the style in which its written, the whole thing still slipped into my mind. Even reading in my downtime at work, I would forget about everything but this book and would become instantly engrossed each time I picked it up. At one point I even startled when the phone rang, staring at it like it was something offensive before it clicked that oh hey, I need to answer that. I wanted more, more and more as I read this book because Nico and Brooklyn were both painted so beautifully. They each have their own personalities and interests but much of that has vanished in the past year- made worse by the death of Lucca's best friend Gabe when he couldn't handle things anymore.
His suicide is never verbally called that but it is clear that's what happened. This is where I fell in love with this story even more- often times in our society, anyone who commits suicide is a coward and taking the easy way out. As Schroeder said in the book, there's a hundred places to go. But what if you are so lost and alone- where can you go? The way she explains this mind set is so simple but completely poignant. Schroeder has covered a few rough topics in one novel and she weaved it together in a magnificent way.
When I first flipped through the book, I thought it was written in verse- it is typed as though poems but it isn't poems. It is the same story but written in a different format and I actually think it did add to it on this one. It rapidly shifts between Brooklyn and Nico's perspectives but that never slipped me up, causing me to stop and reread to catch up. They each have a short time that is there own and then pass the microphone to the other- they are telling the same story and Schroeder twined it expertly.
Overall, I give this one 5 stars. I couldn't get enough of it as I read it and though it was a very fast read for me, it stuck with me and stood out so profoundly in my mind that I actually sat in silence thinking about this story after I had finished. There are a handful of books that really stick with me for a long time after I am done with them- there is an even smaller amount that makes me stop everything and just think about it.
As part of this ARC Tour, I needed to take a photo of one word to describe the book, something important in the book, etc. The word I chose is Fortitude- both Brooklyn and Nico had to show intense courage, strength and resilience and I think this word sums it up perfectly. I used my kids 100 piece Shrek and Madagascar puzzles to make most of the letters and used the ARC itself as the I in the center (It worked out great with 4 letters on each side).