Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Book Review: I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder

Title:  I Heart You, You Haunt Me
Author: Lisa Schroeder
Publisher:  Simon Pulse
Paperback: 227 pages
ISBN: 1416955208 
Girl meets boy.
Girl loses boy.
Girl gets boy back...
...sort of.
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.

Overall rating: 9/10 flowers

Buy this book:  IndieBound | The Book Depository | Powell's | Amazon 
Add this book to your:  Goodreads | Shelfari | Library Thing | Visual Bookshelf

Lisa Schroeder's I Heart You, You Haunt Me is a beautiful verse novel that cuts right to the emotional core of a teenage girl's heartbreak after the tragic death of her boyfriend.  Ava's poetic, stream-of-consciousness narrative makes this story feel immediate, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful.  A fast and moving read, I found it to be a very accessible novel about grief and recovery, and it provides a wonderful introduction to novels in verse.

What I Liked:
-     This is the first verse novel I've read, and I honestly could not have asked for a better introduction to the style.  The story is compelling, the characters are well-drawn, and the verse-style narrative is remarkably accessible.  Before starting to read this novel, I imagined that the poetic style might make the book more challenging to read or might make the protagonist seem overly dramatic, but I found exactly the opposite to be true.  The free verse is extremely easy to follow.  It flows smoothly and feels like a natural way for Ava to tell her story.
-     Ava's emotions feel honest.  Both her happy memories and her grief are raw and beautiful,  and it is easy to sympathize with her conflicted feelings.
-     Feelings of loss and guilt are at the heart of this book, but the overall tone is not one of despair and hopelessness.  Ava's pain is real and palpable.  Her grief feels realistic and varies from day to day and moment to moment.  Her broken heart does not mend instantly and without conscious effort.
-    The book does not feel condescending or preachy, but it is wonderful to see Ava take steps toward healing, moving forward, and forgiving herself as the story unfolds.

What I Wished:
-     I wanted this story to be longer. Because of the brevity there are not many secondary characters or subplots. I don't mean to imply that the book feels unfinished, just that it seems more like a short story than a traditional full-length novel.

I Heart You, You Haunt Me is a touching story about the challenges of moving forward after losing someone you love.  I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys contemporary/paranormal YA novels and to anyone who is interested in (or even curious about) reading a verse novel.  It is a quick, absorbing read, so it would also be a good choice for reluctant readers.  You can learn more about I Heart You, You Haunt Me and Lisa Schroeder's other books on her website | blog | twitter | facebook |  YouTube.  You can read the first eleven pages of I Heart You, You Haunt Me HERE and you can hear Lisa read an excerpt of I Heart You, You Haunt Me HERE.


Midnight Sapphire Books said...

I almost bought this book last week ... I should have

Anonymous said...

It sounds incredible. I've been reading more novels in verse lately, so I'll be reading this one too.

Candace said...

I love this book also and pass it on to everyone who will take it. My sister just read it and loved it. My sister in law also read it and loved it and I'm sure I'll be convincing many more to read it as well. I haven't heard a single bad thing about this book!

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