Wherever You Go by Heather Davis
ARC, 309 pgs. Published in Hardcover
Published November 14th, 2011 by Harcourt
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Amazon Vine
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 Gois 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.
I really loved this book! It's kind of one of those books that it's hard to pin point everything that made it so good. But I think for me was that I could connect with it. With the story itself.
This probably isn't considered contemporary because there's a ghost. And we get his side of the story, he's definitely a main character. But other than that, this is most definitely a contemporary book. And no matter what it's categorized as, that's what it is for me. Plus, I believe in ghosts.
We get three narrations in this book and it's kind of odd how it's done and I wasn't sure if I liked it at first, but once I got use to it I realized I liked it. Holly tells the story in first person, Rob (the ghost) in second person (at least I think that's what it's called) and Jason in third person. It switches between the three without telling us who the narrator is, which some may find confusing but I didn't have any problems. Each voice was distinctive and I didn't find it hard to follow at all.
Holly and Jason are still grieving for Rob, Rob can't seem to pass over and is stuck being a ghost and watching all his loved ones go about their lives. No one can see him until Holly's grandfather, who has alzheimers, comes to live with her and he can see Rob's ghost. He and Rob spend a lot of time together talking and Aldo (the grandfather) is only lucid with him. His disease has really taken him over. But everyone just thinks he's hallucinating, they don't really believe that Roberto is Holly's Rob.
Holly doesn't hang out with Jasons group, Robs old group of friends. But Jason has always been drawn to her. And watching the two of them realize their feelings and work through things together all while going through Aldo's list of things he wants to remember was really great. It showed us how kind Jason is. What a good guy he is.
I work with elderly and especially with those who have alzheimers. I understand the difficult time that Holly's family has with caring for him and trying to help him retain some memory as well as trying to keep him lucid. Compared with patients I've worked with Aldo isn't so bad. But I can imagine to someone who isn't familiar with the disease and is dealing with a family member with it, it would be difficult. And Holly has so much on her shoulders since her mom works ALL the time. She's responsible for her grandfather, her little sister and has to go to school. It really is a lot for her to deal with!
I really liked how things played out in the book. I thought the story line was terrific though maybe moved just a little slow at times in the first half. The second half had me fully pulled in though and I had a hard time putting the book down. I liked how we could see how things were affecting all the different people, how the adults all had these major issues that made us not love them, or feel just a bit of anger towards them, but then later they would do things that sort of redeemed themselves. Made us realize that we all make mistakes and as long as correct them, or apologize for them, things can work out.
I would give this book 5 stars but I had a hard time connecting with Holly. I'm not sure what it was, but she just felt out of reach to me. A little cold and I just wasn't able to connect with her. I felt like I saw brief flashes of her personality, but that's it. Even though I didn't connect with her very well I did feel her pain and struggle. I felt bad for her and was cheering for her to find the strength to do what was right for her, not only for her family.
This book is a stand alone and it was perfect that way. I thought the ending was brilliant and left me very satisfied. And even though I didn't truly connect with Holly I really loved this book and I very highly recommend it!
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Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this book free of charge for review purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not paid or influenced in any way.