by LIsa Schroeder
Interest Level: Upper Grades
Before I review this book, I would like to share how I got it. This Friday will be three weeks since my fifteen year old daughter Hailee lost her best friend Mariano in a car accident. While trying to find a way to help her heal, I began to search for songs so I could create a playlist for her, similar to the one in Schroeder's book CHASING BROOKLYN. I wondered if there was an actual playlist to go along with the book so I decided to search a little. I found Lisa's blog and a reference to the playlist Brooklyn used while training. I also saw that she was planning to work on the "From Joy to Sorrow" playlist, so I commented and asked her if she had ever gotten it done. I explained that I had already put a dozen or so songs together, but would love to see the titles she had come up with. She said she hadn't gotten to it (I can't imagine how busy she must be--her blog alone is FANTASTIC, not to mention book releases and all the other fabulous things that a best selling YA author must get to do) She said she'd love to see the songs I had come up with, so I emailed them to her, along with a few more details of what Hailee was going through. Her reply took my breath away. She asked if it would be OK if she sent Hailee a copy of I HEART YOU YOU HAUNT ME because many teens had told her it had helped them deal with loss. Would it be OK???? Are you kidding me?
When I got home yesterday, there it was: the package! Inside were copies of CHASING BROOKLYN and I HEART YOU YOU HAUNT ME. She had personally inscribed them with a message that Mariano would want joy for Hailee, not sorrow and that he will live on with her forever, in her heart. She also included a beautiful, heartfelt note to Hailee. Even as I type this, I am getting all teary-eyed. I CAN'T WAIT for her session at TLA--and now Hailee is begging me to take her with me so she can thank her in person. What an amazing, thoughtful person Lisa Shroeder is!
OK...now about the book....
This novel in verse opens with Ava attending her first funeral, for her boyfriend Jackson. She is mired in a grief so painful and real that she can barely breathe. Her grief is coupled with tremendous guilt, because she feels Jackson's death was her fault.
About a week after the funeral, she's in her bathroom, when she suddenly feels a splash of cool air and she senses that someone is behind her, and when she glances in the mirror, she sees, just for a split second, not just her reflection, but someone else--Jackson's. So begins the continuation of their love story. From the book jacket, "Ava can't see or touch him, unless she's dreaming. She can't hear his voice, except for the faint whispers in her mind. Most would think she's crazy, but she knows he's here. Jackson. The boy Ava thought she'd spend the rest of her life with. He's back from the dead, as proof that love truly knows no bounds."
I really don't want to say much more about this book because I think it is one that the reader needs to experience it all the way. I do know, without a doubt, that reading it is going to provide healing for my baby girl--as soon as she's ready. Lisa Schroeder totally ROCKS MY SOCKS OFF!!