Never Gone by Laurel Garver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Own on Kindle.
I don't usually read YA and I *never* read ghost stories. (I'm a scardey cat)
I couldn't put this one down.
I love how Garver wove the seemingly normal of the horror that is death into a net of confusion created by the main character, Dani. Events and people who should have been safe - who were trying their best to help - became seemingly sinister through eyes that couldn't see clearly. The reader is able to sympathize with Dani while remaining aloof enough to see she is making completely irrational decisions.
The main night of confusion in the story reminded me strongly of Madeleine L'Engle's Ring of Endless Light after Vickie holds Robin. Not in style, but in feel. The scrambling, jumbling, overlapping, confused thoughts were a great device to bring the story to a head.
I think by not reading much YA, nor much contemporary fiction, some things that are typical to the genres stood out to me - like all the references to pop culture. It is normal for teens to think and react and be influenced by these things - Harry Potter, retro music (U2 and Depeche Mode and Tears for Fears, yipes!), and Lord of the Rings movies. But those were jolts out of the story for me because I'm not used to them in my reading.
I appreciated the specifically Christian thinking throughout the book. The disconnect between what we know and believe and what we think and do can cause such confusion sometimes.
Glad I read it. It gave me a lot to think about. Until 1 AM. Crying. That's a test of a good book ;)
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Nota Bene: Laurel is a long-time blog friend. I even had the opportunity to meet her once. She blogs now at Laurel's Leaves where she discusses the writing process, editing, self-publishing, and right now book promotion. I purchased her book for Kindle and read it of my own volition. This review is completely my own thoughts.