Cover of Ghosting by Edith Pattou. An origami crane on a plane red background

About the Book

Title: Ghosting
Published: 2014

Cover Story: Very Zen
Drinking Buddy: All My Rowdy Friends
Testosterone/Estrogen Level: Tick, Tick, Tick…
Talky Talk: In the Blink of an Eye
Bonus Factors: Free Verse/Multiple POV
Bromance Status: The Kid Who Survived a Tragedy and Everyone Simultaneously Celebrates and Avoids

Cover Story: Very Zen

I like the minimalist approach, and the origami crane plays a small role in the story. Readers may be daunted by the 400+ pages, but this is a book in free verse, so there’s not a lot of words on each page.

The Deal:

One night, six teens (soon joined by a seventh) leave a party and go ghosting, visiting a cemetery and a supposedly haunted house. They’ve been drinking and raising hell, some more than others. And they just have to run up and touch the door knob of the haunted house before they leave. Good scary fun.

Of course, it’s not as fun when they spook the poor old lady who lives there. And her teenage grandson. Her grandson who is special, in the Boo Radley sense.

He thinks he’s Marshall Dillon. And he has to protect his grandmother from the bad people. And he has a rifle.

Once the bullets stop flying, four of the seven kids are badly wounded.

Where do they go from here?

Drinking Buddy: All My Rowdy Friends

Two pints of beer cheersing

So many characters.

In junior high, it was the EMFAX team: Emma, Maxine, and Felix.

But then Maxine moved away, Emma got popular, and Felix kind of stopped caring about anything.

But now Maxine is back from Colorado. She’s shy, unsure, and hides behind her camera.

There’s Emma, who has a hard time relating to her old friend who, let’s face it, isn’t is popular as Emma now is. Heck, Emma’s now with Brendan, her handsome, cool, hard drinking, angry boyfriend.

And her younger sister Faith, who worships Emma and rides her bike out that night to pass along an important message. Wrong place, wrong time, kiddo.

They’re all joined by Chloe, the good looking, somewhat shallow cheerleader, and her boyfriend Anil, a serious Indian-American who just manages to avoid being a stereotype.

And Felix. Maxine’s old friend. He used to be so smart and athletic, but now all he wants to do is get high.

Once I had a handle on who everyone was (and there’s a nice little cheat sheet in the inner flap), it was interesting to read the story from everyone’s point of view (including Walter the shooter and the chief of police). No one is as shallow as they seem.

Testosterone/Estrogen Level: Tick, Tick, Tick…

The first quarter of the book, you know something bad is about to happen, though you’re not entirely sure what, or to whom. But you know things are going to be bad. And not just with the accident. There’s Felix’s dad, who showed off his PTSD when he was on leave from Afghanistan. Faith, with a secret she can only share with her sister. Brendan, with his obnoxious father. Anil, with his conflict about the future. This is all going to hit the fan at once. You can try to watch, but you may find yourself skipping pages…the literary equivalent of covering your eyes during a horror movie.

Talky Talk: In the Blink of an Eye

It’s kind of a cliché to say that teenagers think they’re immortal, but there’s truth to it. Until you attend that first funeral, death kind of seems like something that happens to other people, never to you or your friends. So go ahead and take that risk. You’re going to live forever.

So maybe Brendan had a gun in his glove box. The perfect thing for giving a little scare to that pussy, Anil.

Maybe Faith shouldn’t have tried to join her sister, but she really needed to talk to her.

Maybe Maxine should have warned Brendan he was in no condition to drive.

Maybe anyone should have made sure Walter didn’t have access to a gun.

But it’s too late now.

Bonus Factors: Free Verse/Multiple POV

Movie Poster for Amores Perros

This book is written in free verse, from the point of view of all the major characters. This lets us get into everybody’s head. It’s interesting to see how different people view the same situation, and how panicked, spur-of-the-moment actions can seem like heroics in the eyes of others.

And the lack of scenery descriptions and dialogue mean this is a nice, quick read.

Bromance Status: The Kid Who Survived a Tragedy and Everyone Simultaneously Celebrates and Avoids

A hard-hitting, exciting story that I will never read again.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received neither money nor booze for writing this review.

Brian wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.