Release Date: November 14, 2011
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Pages: 320, Hardcover
Overall: Flippin' Fabulous
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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. Synopsis via Goodreads.
With a hauntingly different take on the typical YA love triangle, WHEREVER YOU GO is a painstakingly beautiful story about family, loss and love and all that it entails. Heather Davis has brought something special to WHEREVER YOU GO by touching on some of the deepest rooted emotions and aspects of life and putting it all into one, clean yet emotional and fulfilling novel.
Our main character, Holly, isn't living the life of the perfect teenager socialite. Holly isn't the most beautiful of girls, she isn't the most popular, in fact she is the opposite and she definitely doesn't come from money to help hide all the imperfections in her life. Instead, Holly comes from a broken home, living with her mom and sister in a run down apartment where there never seems like there is enough money even with her mom working two jobs, leaving the burden of her little sister on her. Things only further deteriorate when her Alzheimer's stricken grandfather, Aldo, moves in with them and she goes from being the primary care taker of her sister to her sister and her grandfather. One thing that Holly did have, despite curious minds, was a loving boyfriend, though, he was killed when they were in a car accident. The amazing thing about Holly was, even in the midst of her shutting down or throwing a fit was her uncanny ability to always end up putting others first. She complained and wished her situation was different, but when she opened her eyes to her grandfather and had encouragement from someone she didn't think she'd find a friend in, her true colors shone through and her true beauty took over.
Rob, Holly's dead boyfriend, is the second character we follow. Though he is dead, Rob is battling his unresolved emotions from his death and struggles with many emotions, including jealousy, seeing the world go on around him. Despite the sensitivity of of the situation, Rob finds purpose in his afterlife beyond his own need for closure. Rob helps Aldo in a way that not only helps him cope with his own situation but helps Aldo and Holly in their quest to help Aldo remember what he never wanted to forget. Rob's voice got a little aggravating at times, he saw things forgetting to look at the whole, but what more could you expect from someone who died young and with unfinished business. Even through his whiny aspects, learning about Rob and the truths behind his life touched base on some very realistic teenage scenarios.
Jason, the third character we follow is Rob's best friend and the person who is there, is alive, and can do everything Rob can't. Though he is rich, hot and popular, Jason steps away from the spotlight of his peers and starts perusing the need to get close to Holly and to help her. Despite stereotypes that I may have cast on Jason he quickly pushed those thoughts to the side and proved to me, while he isn't perfect, that he could think on his own despite the urgings around him and that he does in fact have a decent soul. Even though the way they got there, I think Holly brought out the best in Jason, giving him a glimpse of the man he could be and would be if he took the time to appreciate what was around him.
Through the point of views of Holly, Rob and Jason we are taken on separate yet parallel sets of emotional roller coasters. With each person we experience a different set of raw emotions and group of real situations. With a cast of characters that grew from the first page to the last with their life's lessons and morals following them, WHEREVER YOU GO is full of ups and down, sadness and happiness and most importantly hope. Everything about this story felt so real while it tackled everyday issues. WHEREVER YOU GO is a book I am confident in recommending to you for those willing to tackle all matters of the heart. With a beautiful cover to boot, you can't really go wrong.
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