Haunt Me by Liz Kessler
|Haunt Me by Liz Kessler|
|Reviewer: Jill Murphy|
|Summary: Some quite difficult themes of anxiety, bullying and self-harm in this beyond the grave love story, which at the same time creates a positive message about finding a path through them. Cute and enjoyable.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: October 2016|
|External links: Author's website|
Joe wakes up in his bedroom, unsure how long he's been asleep. He looks out of the window and sees his family going off with a removals van - WITHOUT HIM. Where are they going? What is happening? Why have they left him behind? A creeping suspicion turns to a horrible realisation in Joe's mind. He is a ghost. Erin and her family have moved house to give Erin a new start. Erin takes Joe's old room and it doesn't take her long to realise that Joe is still there. And these two sensitive, artistic young people bridge the gap between life and death through poetry and love.
And then there's Olly, Joe's brother. He's never cared much for art or poetry - you don't need to when you're the most popular boy in school, good at football and a babe magnet. But when Joe died, everything changed for Olly. Suddenly, being popular doesn't count for much. And when he meets Erin, he realises he has a whole new set of priorities.
Caught between two brothers, Erin must choose - not only between the living and the dead but also between life and death for herself...
Kessler deals with a good number of difficult themes in Haunt Me. It's about grief and letting go, as you'd imagine in a story featuring a ghost. It also covers anxiety, self-harm and bullying. Erin is trying to recover from all three and it's not easy. Olly is the one dealing with grief and regret and that's not easy either. Joe, the ghost, must come to terms with the way he died before he can let go. It all sounds quite dire and dreary and depressing, doesn't it?
So it is to Kessler's credit that her ghost story creates some very positive messages about new beginnings and the power of redemption. Despite the pain of grief and the aftermath of bullying, this is a cute and ultimately uplifting story to read. Haunt Me is very romantic and takes a light-touch approach to its serious themes, without trivialising them. It's honest but it's also tremendously kind. Some readers may prefer a harder-edged look at these issues but for those who like a romantic story infused with real-life themes, it's the perfect read.
Engaging, relatable and big-hearted, Haunt Me will find an appreciative audience.
You might also enjoy Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready, which also features a girl trying to stay in love with the ghost of her boyfriend. Or Breathing Underwater by Julia Green in which the central character speaks to the ghost of her brother. Or does she?
You can read more book reviews or buy Haunt Me by Liz Kessler at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Haunt Me by Liz Kessler at Amazon.com.
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