Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Book Review: Wherever You Go

Wherever You Go
Published By: Harcourt Children's Books
Publication Date: November 15, 2011
Buy it at Amazon or IndieBound
Source: Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult

Wherever You Go is a hybrid - it is a mixture of realistic fiction and supernatural. I, for one, found this sort of read to be a refreshing twist on the typical paranormal books that are flooding the YA market these days. I got my ghost fix, but this book also deals with some really tough issues that face teens today - being a caregiver in the household, increased responsibilities for teens living in a single parent household, depression, suicide, socioeconomic status, and teen drinking. These topics are tied together in a smooth fashion which really shows how much Heather Davis has grown as a writer. I have only read one other title written by Davis, Never Cry Werewolf, which I enjoyed. However, Wherever You Go is a different caliber of writing.

Wherever You Go is the story of Rob and Holly, a high school couple whose lives are changed due to a tragic car accident. Rob loses his life and Holly is seriously injured. However, Rob's death is only the beginning. He can't seem to move on and he starts to linger around the people he cared for during his life - his family, Holly, and his best friend, Jason. As the story progresses, Jason becomes a more integral role in both Rob and Holly's future. I honestly thought this was going to be one of those paranormal romances where the ghostly boyfriend haunts his girlfriend and they try to make their love work despite their different breathing statuses - a Twilight with ghosts type of deal. However, I couldn't have been more wrong.

Within this novel, readers get to follow the story line of the three main characters. At times, I had to do some rereading to immerse myself in which character was telling the story, but once I became used to the structure I really enjoyed how things bounced around. Getting the perspectives of Rob, Holly, and Jason allowed me to know these characters on a deeper level and truly start to care about what happened to each one of them.

In addition, I think this book is extremely relevant to teens today. Teens today have so many things to struggle with as they make their trek toward adulthood. My teen years weren't always easy, but I look at the characters in this book and my students and I feel a sense of guilt for how relatively tame my problems were compared to what they are dealing with on a daily basis. Holly must sacrifice so many of the pleasures of youth in order to care for her younger sister and her grandfather who is suffering from Alzheimer's while her mother works two jobs. Throughout this book, I was so angry at Holly's mom, but I honestly can't say how I would react if I was walking in her shoes. These characters and their problems became a constant thinking point for me. Even days later, I am still mulling over the decisions that were made and how so many lives can be affected. I feel like so many teens could benefit from Holly's story and perhaps find strength within the words.

Furthermore, I also loved the setting of this one - Seattle, Washington. It was such fun to read about places and streets that I have been to or could locate easily. I always love books that have a strong sense of place about them. This one was also particularly close to my heart since its my current home.

I always know that I have stumbled upon a great book when I form strong bonds with characters and I keep thinking of the book after I have savored the last word.This is one I highly recommend. I truly loved this blend of the real world and the supernatural. I hope to see more works along the line from Davis in the future.


One Last Gripe: I hated that some kids treated Holly differently simply because her family didn't have a lot of money. It's realistic but that doesn't make it any easier to witness. It bothers me how people can write off others simply over something like socioeconomic status when others can be such wonderful people with so many positive qualities to share.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: For this read I have two favorite things - Watching Holly as she became more confident and started making her own decisions AND watching Aldo's list happen

First Sentence: You've been by her side for six months, but she hasn't noticed you.

Favorite Character: Holly

Least Favorite Character: Mark



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 Go is 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.


1 comment:

  1. wow. thanks so much for an honest review. I haven't really heard much about this one, but you can tell you really enjoyed it and that makes me want to read it! It seems super deep, but that's good. I need a break from vampires and werewolves....

    Diana

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