Tuesday 16 July 2013

Absent by Katie Williams

‘When you die,’ Lucas Hayes once told me, ‘It’s like every wound your body has ever had-every skinned knee, paper cut, pimple – opens up and says See? I told you so.’ Lucas had held Brooke Lee as she’d jittered and bucked, rolled and foamed, and – yeah – died, so I figured he knew what  he was talking about.
Published by Chronicle Books in May 2013
Pages – 180
Goodreads Summary
When seventeen-year-old Paige dies in a freak fall from the roof during Physics class, her spirit is bound to the grounds of her high school. At least she has company: her fellow ghosts Evan and Brooke, who also died there. But when Paige hears the rumour that her death wasn't an accident--that she supposedly jumped on purpose--she can't bear it. Then Paige discovers something amazing. She can possess living people when they think of her, and she can make them do almost anything. Maybe, just maybe, she can get to the most popular girl in school and stop the rumours once and for all.
The premise for this book had my interest straight away. I am a sucker for a ghost story, especially if there is a bit of body borrowing going on. Right from the start, the story reminded me of A Certain Slant of Light. It had that sadness to it, knowing you can’t change things about your life once you die – sort of a finality about it. As the story progressed it had hints of Dead Rules about it too, especially when Paige has concerns about the way she died. However, the ending of this book definitely made it stand out in it’s own spotlight of uniqueness. I did not see that ending coming. Kudos to the author for originality.
Paige wasn’t my favourite character in this book. I found myself getting  annoyed with her own self importance and need to change everyone’s opinions about her death. However, she did manage to do some good deeds by the end of the book, but  I think the changes that occurred in characters were accidental rather than planned.  My favourite character had to be Evan. So thoughtful and understanding, showing a maturity beyond his spiritual age. I felt his life could have been so different, but I’m glad he felt remembered by the end.
The book is quite a short story but definitely worth reading. There is a natural beauty in the writing that I really loved. The book handles some difficult subjects such as teenage suicide and sexuality acceptance. The innocence and the emotions of each character were at times hard to read but the author edged them with a little humour to ease the pain.The scene with the revealing of the mural had me in tears. It’s significance and meaning was so beautiful and yet raw. I’m putting this author on my radar for all future books published.

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