[ARC REVIEW] “We Are The Ghosts” By: Vicky Skinner

“We Are The Ghosts” came out yesterday, so it’s available now for you all to run and pick it up! I got an ARC of this book from my friends who visited C2E2 in Chicago a few months ago, and they picked it up for me!

Synopsis:

After her estranged brother suddenly dies, a girl embarks on a road trip to rediscover who her brother really was in this contemporary YA novel.

When Ellie’s estranged brother, Luke, dies in a car accident, she’s not sure whether to be devastated that she lost the person who was once her best friend or enraged, still, that he left without a word a year ago. Now, the only people who seem to understand what she’s going through are Luke’s best friend and his ex-girlfriend, who she bonds with over their desire to figure out where Luke went when he walked out of their lives.

As she gets closer to them, and closer to Cade, a boy who seems determined to get to know her better, she realizes that she’s not the only one with reasons to be angry at Luke. And when Ellie makes a discovery that changes everything, she and her new friends hit the road, hoping that following Luke’s trail will bring them answers about the life Luke was living away from them.

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Review:

Vicky has created a beautiful, heartfelt, and heart-wrenching masterpiece that will leave readers with a gigantic book-hangover. (This is me, speaking from experience.)

I really liked Vicky’s first book, “How to Breathe Underwater,” but absolutely adored “We Are The Ghosts.” But to be fair, I liked it more than a lot of the books I’ve read this year, it was just that good.

The dynamic between Ellie and Gwen (and Wes, sort of) started off a little awkward. Not in an awkward way because of Vicky’s writing, but because of the circumstances. Luke and Gwen had dated before Luke left, and Wes was Luke’s best friend, so…awkward. Ellie initially didn’t even invite Gwen to go on the trip with them, just like she didn’t technically invite Cade either, but both ended up making the road trip a lot more productive and interesting than it would have been with just Ellie and Wes in the car. There are aspects of romance involving Cade in the book, but the central storyline revolves around Ellie and trying to understand the life that Luke lived since he left.

Ellie and Luke’s relationship (as well as a few scenes with Cade) was shown either via a few small spoken stories or flashbacks. I kept expecting Luke to be a jerky older brother that wanted nothing to do with his little sister, but that never happened. My favorite flashback happens when Ellie is a freshman in high school, and is nervous about where she’ll sit at lunch; Luke, a junior, makes a big deal out of her being there and has her go sit with him and his friends. That was such a heartwarming moment, and so different from the normal sibling interactions that I have read before. He seemed like the perfect brother, that is, until he left. Throughout the book, we find out that Luke didn’t tell Ellie everything, but that is to be expected.

I still don’t understand Luke’s reasoning for completely cutting off contact with Ellie. If he wants to leave to escape their parents and their town, that’s one thing, but cutting off his sister who he clearly loved a lot was totally uncalled for, and there was no reason to do it. He could have still found a way to keep in contact with her, and just made her promise not to tell their parents where he was, or he didn’t even have to tell Ellie where he was, but he should have figured out a way to still be in her life.

I’ll admit, right up until a little bit after Ellie, Wes, Gwen, and Cade reached their destination, I was still holding out hope that it was all big mistake or misunderstanding, and Luke wasn’t dead after all. I knew that wasn’t going to happen, obviously, but I wanted it to happen so bad! Even though we never get to meet Luke in any new scenes, I adored his character, and the fact that he’s dead is still messing me up as I write this review over 24 hours after finishing the book. If Vicky were to make an epilogue saying that the entire book was a dream and Luke isn’t really dead, I wouldn’t even be mad.

Overall, this just might be my favorite book that I’ve read this year. It’s definitely not a fun or necessarily uplifting read, but it’s powerful and dynamic and deep, and 100% made me cry multiple times while reading it. If you only read one book this year, make sure it’s this one.

 

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