Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider | ARC Review

Book: Invisible Ghosts

Authors: Robyn Schneider

Publisher: Harper Collins - Katherine Tegen Books

Pages: 320 Pages

Format: ARC

Source: Sent to me for review from HCC Frenzy

Rose Asher believes in ghosts. She should, since she has one for a best friend: Logan, her annoying, Netflix-addicted brother, who is forever stuck at fifteen. But Rose is growing up, and when an old friend moves back to Laguna Canyon and appears in her drama class, things get complicated.
Jamie Aldridge is charming, confident, and a painful reminder of the life Rose has been missing out on since her brother's death. She watches as Jamie easily rejoins their former friends--a group of magnificently silly theater nerds--while avoiding her so intensely that it must be deliberate.
Yet when the two of them unexpectedly cross paths, Rose learns that Jamie has a secret of his own, one that changes everything. Rose finds herself drawn back into her old life--and to Jamie. But she quickly starts to suspect that he isn't telling her the whole truth.
All Rose knows is that it's becoming harder to choose between the boy who makes her feel alive and the brother she isn't ready to lose.

She's done it again. Robyn Schneider has yet to write a book that I don't find utterly captivating and endearing. Honestly, I don't get why there's so much fuss around a very certain YA author, when Robyn Schneider is beating them at their own game. I mean, come on!
Invisible Ghosts is just the right amount of everything. Just sweet enough to make your heart flutter, just quirky enough to make you smile like an idiot, and just heartbreaking enough to make you go "... wait, when did I start crying?". The balance that she's achieve this this book is truly a work of art, and it all came together to make this an absolute page turner, and make me fall head over heels in love with these characters.
The premise to me sounded a little Zac Efron, Charlie St. Cloud, which I wasn't mad at, but this was so much more. Getting to meet Rose and Logan, and getting to see their sibling camaraderie reminded me so much of the relationship between my brother and I. The sibling banter is so honest and accurate, and my disbelief was immediately suspended. In my mind, her brother's haunting, if you will, was never something I had to get my head around. 
I think that contemporary YA books can easily feature characters that fall into certain tropes. And what I love about Robyn's books, and specifically in regards to Rose and Jamie, is that she toes the line of being cliche, but she ultimately subverts the trope. It's so refreshing to see these tropes about the boy-next-door who has now returned back, and the quasi manic pixie dream girl totally subverted. It feels like a cheeky smile from the author, as if she's saying "oh you think you know these people, but you actually have no idea who they are."
Rose was such a lovely character who was so relatable, but yet so individual. I loved the relationships she had with her mother, and I was fascinated with the tactics she used to protect herself. Her friends at the beginning, and her inclusion in the group, made me so angry at her for allowing people to treat her that way, but I also totally understood her choices.
And Jamie. Sweet, sweet, Jamie. He surprised me the most, and I can't really go into why, because that's spoiler territory. But he was sweet, and kind, but defensive, and scared, and so nuanced, that I just want to be his best friend now. Scratch that, I want to be best friends with both Jamie and Rose. And their entire rag-tag group of buddies.
The plot really surprised me, which was not something that I was expecting (obviously, duh). I very rarely read contemporary YA for the plot, as I usually find the characters the stand out feature, but this plot was so gripping. No spoilers, but there were moments, towards the last 3rd of the novel, where I genuinely couldn't predict what would happen next. And when a character did something that confused me, I realized that certain events were acting as plot development just as much as character development.
If you've made it this far, I'm grateful, but now I'm about to go all literature student on you. I was really fascinated about what the role the character of Logan played, as he was such an interesting thematic tool. Logan, the netflix obsessed older brother, who is now the younger brother, is unassuming at first. but as the novel progresses, he comes to take up a lot of space. I read Logan as representing the physical and emotional space that grief takes up, and a commentary on how, if you let it, grief will take over your life. Logan's character starts to develop (for those that have read, you'll know what I mean) but it's not Logan at all. It's Rose. If Logan is a symbol for her grief, it makes total sense that as she begins to grieve less, and live move, with the help of Jamie, that her pull between healing (and with that, forgetting) and grieving (and with that, remembering) begins to hurt her and affect her life.
I think that Robyn Schneider does such a beautiful job with all of her books, and I think that Invisible Ghosts is the perfect summer read, but also fall, winter, and spring read. There's something for everyone in this, whether it be the ghost story, the love story, or the fact that there isn't really a difference.
I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 stars, because I flew through this, and every page was one I was torn between savoring and just devouring. And I absolutely devoured this book. I love Robyn Schneider, I love her characters, I love her writing. I love it all. Please pick this book up. You will not regret it. 

Thanks for reading!

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