Thursday, October 20, 2011

Book Review: Wherever You Go by Heather Davis

SUMMARY: 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 Gois 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.


The Short Version:
Captivating and affecting, Wherever You Go blends grief with new romance and coming of age in a poignant way. Shifting easily in perspective between the three characters, yet keeping the overall focus on Holly, this one will draw readers in and rally them behind her. Intense at times and sweet at others, Wherever You Go is a solid, well scripted and memorable read.

The Extended Version:
Holly is a very easy to like character, with a fierce and admirable loyalty to her family before all else. Now the primary caretaker for her grandfather with Alzheimer’s who’s moved in with them, and a mother who has to work long hours to help make ends meet, she is supposed to be the strong, infallible one. Still hurting over the death of her boyfriend, Rob, and now cast out of his social circle and living with survivor’s guilt, Holly’s story and struggle is aching, moving and endearing. Watching her not only learn to trust Jason, but fall for him as well, hits true and hard on raw emotions that come with not only her age but her circumstances, giving her character depth and intensity. Though seemingly closed off to the world, it’s clear early on that is the only way Holly can keep herself together and get through her day to day. Embarrassed by her family’s not only money situation but having her ill grandfather there, she is content to fly under the radar, even unwilling to immediately let Jason in. She goes through tremendous character strides and development, and will leave readers stunned and shocked more than once.

Rob’s character is presented in a unique way, not only with a second person voice for his chapters that make the reader feel as though they’re really the one going through everything, but because of the way both who he was in life and now in death are shown. Still in love with Holly, and having a hard time accepting that he can no longer help her, Davis does a remarkable job giving better rise to his turmoil and frustration. It’s easy to see why he and Holly made such a great couple, and the connection between them easily transcended his death. Though his family had money, and he seemed to have it all, he was far from stuck up and was charmingly sweet to Holly.

Jason is a bit of a mess in his own right, hurting over Rob’s death but also feeling increasing guilt over the group’s shunning of Holly. With stronger feelings for her than he knows what to do, and making plenty of mistakes along the way, Jason’s own story is woven throughout in a great way, while the overall book still stays central to Holly. Moving things along with Holly more slowly than he might otherwise do, and with a sweet note that rivals what was between Rob and Holly, the romantic element of this book is as strong and beautiful as the grief and loss one. Jason goes through strong development as well, not only coming to terms with his own issues but getting better insight into Holly as well.

Though there is a lot that happens in the book, and it often seems as though the world will never stop dumping on Holly, the premise itself is basic and strongly present. Blending Holly’s home life with things at school, and adding both Rob and Jason into the mix, there is something always happening and going on. The pacing has a steadiness to it that will keep readers engaged without a constant twisting roller coaster feel, and Davis does a great job easing the reader into not only the characters but their situations as it is now. Adding in a growing mystery about what actually happened the night Rob died, and giving him at least some human connection through Holly’s grandfather, the relationships between everyone drive the book.

The writing has a great flow, and though Davis not only has different narrators but shifts their perspective between first person for Holly, second for Rob and third for Jason, the jumps easy to fall into. Choosing the perfect scenes to show from each character’s side, and holding a heavy and constant emotional air, Davis’ writing shines throughout the book.

Hitting hard on some relevant and heartrending elements, and unflinching in its honesty, Wherever You Go does a fabulous job of blending not only grief and pain with new love and beginnings. With a well developed and focused cast, and a wrecking and emotional air, this one will definitely gut and grip readers.

Source: Netgalley
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Publication Date: November 15, 2011


  1. Thanks for the review, I've been looking forward to this one.

  2. Wonderful review! It sounds like a good book it seems to have great characters. I usually enjoy multiple POVs when it's written well.

    Xpresso Reads

  3. wonderful review! I cant wait to read this myself!!

  4. I love a story like this, where real life and beyond blend together. I'm also a big fan of emotional stories and this one sounds like it will fit the bill. This is a great review and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of this. Thanks for sharing :0)