Two unexpected and heartbreaking deaths cause the lives of two very different teenagers to become intertwined as one struggles to deal with his grief and stay in this world, and the other finds herself inexplicably caught between this world and the next.
Caught in limbo, 15-year-old Ashlyn's spirit hovers over a teenager she doesn't know. The reason she is connected to Breckon, bereft over the death of his seven-year-old sister, is a mystery at first, but Ashlyn senses that it is her mission to save him. Through alternating points of view, Martin (The Lighter Side of Life and Death) explores the woeful stories of both teenagers. Breckon, wracked with guilt, starts injuring himself and grows dependent on sleeping pills, while Ashlyn gradually recovers memories of her life, including some disturbing revelations late in the book. This novel, which may be too bleak for some readers, focuses more on Ashlyn and Breckon's regrets and yearning than on their healing; the characters' voices are distinct, but Ashlyn's feels more overdone than believable ("I miss the beat of my heart.... I miss being able to swing my hips to the pounding beat of the latest chart-topping dance hit"). The book's permeating sadness will likely be felt more sharply than both characters' redemption during the somewhat strained conclusion. Ages 14-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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Random House Books for Young Readers
September 26, 2011
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