Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Review - Absent

by Katie Williams
Date: 2013
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Reading level: YA
Book type: prose novel
Pages: 184
Format: e-book
Source: library

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 rumor 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 rumors once and for all.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

When I came across this book at the library, I chose to read it because it was short.  I'd never heard of it before, or even seen its cover.  But the old adage about good things coming in small packages is true.  This was a surprisingly enjoyable novel that packed a lot into fewer than 200 pages.

This book had some similarities with Lauren Oliver's Before I Fall and David Levithan's Every Day, but it was unique in its own right.  I thought the characters were developed quite well.  The ghosts (Paige, Brooke, and Evan) were distinct personalities with their own lives and backstories.  The living (Usha, Lucas, Kelsey, Wes, Harriet, Heath, Jenny, and Mr. Fisk) were surprisingly well developed for a book so short.

There were a few things that struck me as odd or not quite right as I was reading, but most of them were addressed as the climax took the plot in a direction I hadn't seen coming... and that made everything make perfect sense.

Strong writing, strong characters, and an interesting story with a good ending make this book a pleasant surprise.  I'd recommend this one to fans of ghost stories, paranormal fantasies... and even contemporaries (if you don't mind that the main character is, technically, dead).

Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Pace: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Editing: 4/5
Originality: 4/5
Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 4 out of 5

1 comment:

  1. Ha-I liked the shortness too! But it was a good story especially for someone like me who loves ghosts and high school settings.