Chasing Brooklyn — Lisa Schroeder

2/5 stars
Goodreads summary: Restless souls and empty hearts.

Brooklyn can’t sleep. Her boyfriend, Lucca, died only a year ago, and now her friend Gabe has just died of an overdose. Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe’s ghost is there waiting for her. She has no idea what he wants or why it isn’t Lucca visiting her dreams.

Nico can’t stop. He’s always running, trying to escape the pain of losing his brother, Lucca. But when Lucca’s ghost begins leaving messages, telling Nico to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.

As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn. But neither of them can admit that they’re being haunted. Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest.

________________________________________________

This book has 3175 ratings on GR with a 4.14 average rating. And since I’ve been reading (and enjoying!) some real drivel lately, I figured this was a big step up from my current fare and I’d like it as much as everyone else does. From the reviews, I think I was expecting something more like Hold Still, which deals beautifully with someone learning to live again after suffering a loss, or as evocative as an Ellen Hopkins novel. (I really need to get it through my thick skull already that just because a book is written in verse, does not mean I will like it as much as I like Ellen Hopkins’ books.) It was High Expectations City, Population: Me.

Alas, this book did not impact me as powerfully as it did the thousands who read and enjoyed it. I read the last word in the last sentence on the last page. I said to myself, “Self, is that it?” I flipped the page. Yes, that was it; the rest was previews of the author’s other books. I closed the book. I scratched my head. I asked myself, “Self, did you read the same book as everyone else?” I checked the ISBN and yes, it was the same book. Huh.

The story had so much so potential, but I just didn’t care about any of the characters and that complete disconnect between them and me was never bridged. Brooklyn’s grief read more like moping than the deep, endless sorrow of a girl who lost her first love and is falling for said love’s brother. Nico was okay. The lullaby he sings to Brooklyn made me feel queasy, though. As for the ghost element, I like the idea of the helpful ghost of a lost loved one trying to help you let go and move on with your own life, but the execution made it felt more absurd than poignant. Sometimes if I don’t like the protags in a book the secondary characters make up for it, but there was really no one else to like in Chasing Brooklyn. Families and friends are so distant from Brooklyn and Nico that they may as well have not been written in at all. I think that sense of complete self-absorption was another reason I just couldn’t get into this one.

Based on the reviews here and on her other books, I’ve gleaned this is Schroeder’s strongest work to date, so I probably won’t be reading the others.

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