Sunday, October 27, 2013

Breathing Ghosts

Title: Breathing Ghosts

Author: Laekan Zea Kemp

Genre: YA/Contemporary

Release Date: September 30, 2013

Source: Received from the author in exchange for an honest review

My Rating:

She is a winding cosmos, bleeding and bursting into night.  She is a dream.  She is dead. 

River has just lost the one thing that matters most to him—Nia—and all she's left behind is a pile of scribbled love notes detailing their past and a pin-holed map planning out their future.  Hopes and dreams confined to one dimension now that she's gone and River’s too afraid to leave his hometown, crippled by the same anxiety that’s plagued his mother for as long as he can remember.  

But after a strange encounter with the only girl he ever loved a week after laying her to rest, River, armed with nothing but her map and his memories, decides to finally leave and never look back. And with the help of a pair of eccentrically named siblings as well as a mutt with three legs, he sets out to do the very thing Nia always knew how to do better than he ever could—live.  

From the moonlit beaches off of Florida's east coast, to the forests of Mississippi, to Bourbon Street, Cadillac Ranch, and the Arizona desert, River is faced with not only Nia's ghost but his own and he learns that in life there are no accidents, only miracles.

~ Goodreads

Holy guacamole!!  I think I've just found my newest favorite author!  Breathing Ghosts is a whirlwind of emotions, incessantly sucking the reader into a vortex of absolute rawness.  River's story is just so intense and alluring, and I loved every minute of it.

River is alone; his girlfriend - Nia - is gone, his mother barely speaks to him, let alone defends him when her "boyfriend" turns to River in a drunken rage.  River is lost.  He doesn't know who he is or what he wants, and his life starts to fall apart after the only person anchoring him to this life is taken away in a flurry.  River wants to escape.  He wants to escape his haunting town, his decrepit life as a loner, and the part of him clinging to fear.

As River takes on a journey Nia planned for the both of them, he starts to catch glimpses of her ghostly form.  His life is turned upside down as his adventure turns into something he never expected - a journey leading him to explore the utter breathlessness of life.

What I Liked:
The writing.  It's so lyrical and beautiful and just wow.  I'm not sure how Laekan did it, but she made every sentence sound gorgeous with surgery-like precision.  Every sentence and thought wrapped around my mind like a symphony, creating a perfect cacophony of emotions.

River!  I absolutely loved River, even though he was such a mess.  I feel like the fact that he was searching for himself throughout the entire book gave him sort of a vulnerability that most people can't help but feel empathy toward.  Especially when it came to Nia, oh my gosh, River was so lost!  He's like the wandering soul that doesn't know where to call home.

Nia.  Nia's sort of the mystery character in B.G., the one character you're dying to know more about, but only receive brief glimpses of her relationship with River.  She was the one lone star that has to escape the confines of ordinary and live life on the edge.  The scenes including Nia were so heartbreakingly difficult to read because River and Nia's relationship was so tangible and electric and real that you could practically feel it in the air.

Oh my gosh, the CAR CHASES.  So, I'm a little obsessed with watching high-speed chases on TV, so when I read the first car-chase scene in B.G., I was so happy out of my mind that I was practically delirious - in a good way.  Terror, anxiety, and a wild instinct to escape flooded my mind as I attempted to flee the bad guys with River in a hulking monstrosity of a truck.  It was seriously perfection in a chapter.

cool car gif photo: road fast sunway.gif

What I Didn't Like:
Only one itsy-bitsy downside: So.  Much.  Sadness.  I adored River and Nia, but it felt like there was this bubble of sadness surrounding both of them.  Especially the brief flashbacks, goodness, some of those scenes tore at my heart.

Overall, I'm giving Breathing Ghosts a 5/5 because it's a gorgeous story of the little - and large - things in life that can mend even the most broken hearts.

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