This is the first novel I've read that was written in verse. In fact, it had never really occured to me, until quite recently, that someone would write a novel in this format. I was a bit unsure as to whether I would like it--would there be enough character development, what about backdrop and details and sub-plots? Girl meets boy. 1--but I need not have worried.
Girl loses boy.
Girl gets boy back...
Ava can't see him or touch him, unless she's dreaming. She can't hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she's crazy, but she knows he's here.
Jackson. The boy Ava thought she'd spend the rest of her life with. He's back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds.
It's true that there wasn't a whole lot of detail in regards to backdrop and apsolutely no sub-plots, there wasn't space for it in this spartan style, but it never detracted from the story. And you really can't complain about it not having enough character developement, even though the book is very short and only took a couple hours to read, because the whole book was based on the developement of Ava, who narates the story, as she grieves the boyfriend she lost and learns to live again.
Another thing about this book that is worth mentioning is the false impression I had of it as being yet another paranormal book. Yes, there is a ghost. Yes, he communicates with his girlfriend in ghostly ways--in her dreams2, by turning on the radio3, or by poltergeisting her room and breathing cold ghosty breath down her neck. But, and this is a big "but", this is not so much about Ava being haunted by her dead ex as it is about her dealing with the grief and guilt of his sudden death. And it's the second emotion, guilt, that really kept me reading. In fact, I was about to get bored with the story of Ava being sad and Jackson being dead when I was thrown a line of intrigue. How did he die? Why does Ava feel responsible? Why did Jackson come back at all4? Schroeder struck a very good balance by adding that aspect of mystery and shame, and the answers were revealed at the perfect pace.
& this was
than it was
1. Furthermore, would it rhyme? Because that's a deal breaker. I am happy to report that this book is not written in rhyme.
2. Which is insanely awkward though, thankfully, not dwelled on too long nor described in great detail.
3. Music plays a large-ish part in setting the emotional tone between Ava and the late, great, bald-pate Jackson.
4. Ghost Rule #1: a ghosts can't move on if they have baggage or unfinished business.