[ARC Review] Absent by Kate Williams

Monday, May 20, 2013

Title: Absent
Author: Kate Williams
Format: Hardcover, 184 pages
Genre: YA, Paranormal, Ghosts
Release Date: May 21, 2013
Publisher: Raincoast Books, Chronicle Books
Source: ARC received from Publisher for honest review

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 Forever is a long time to be stuck in high school.

Seventeen-year-old Paige is dead, the victim of a freak fall from the roof during Physics class. Now she’s a ghost, permanently bound to the grounds of her high school. It isn’t all bad, she can find out everyone’s secrets, which can be amusing—for a while. But then Paige hears something that isn’t amusing at all: the rumor spread by the most popular girl at school that her death wasn’t an accident—that she supposedly jumped on purpose. Paige is desperate to stop the gossip, but what can a ghost do? Then Paige discovers something amazing. She can possess living people when they think of her, and she can make them do
almost anything. Maybe, just maybe, she can get inside the girl who’s responsible for the stories. . . and have a little fun turning the tables while she’s at it.

First of all I would like to thank Raincoast Books for sending me a copy of this book. I have always been drawn to stories that have ghost elements and I think  that is what initially drew me to Absent.

This is the story of Paige, who is a ghost trapped in her high school after falling of the roof of said high school. She is joined by two other ghosts, Brooke and Evan who also died inside the walls of their school and have no idea why they can't leave. Although this plot line has been done before, on many occasions I felt like this was very well done and had aspects that were very different.

A thought that the topic of suicide and its effects on those around the victim was quite refreshing and felt very real. I also thought the perspective of high school relationships through the main character was very well done. It was her separation from the secondary characters that made the story so new and refreshing.

I felt myself become invested in Paige and her quest to make her best friend accept the fact that she did not jumo off the roof, but fell. I found myself wanting to know the truth and waiting very impatiently for that truth to come out, what ever that truth may be.

I did find that the "reveal" of what really happened on the roof to be rushed and did not really stisfy my needs. I understood the reason the author used that as the reason for Paige's death, but I felt a little underwhelmed at the time. I wanted more, I wanted something that felt more realistic, but again, it did work on some levels.

Overall I really enjoyed Absent and thought the level of writing was beyond any of my expectations. I thought Paige was a very likable character that grabbed you from the very beginning. A short, emotional read that will leave you questioning the people you know and the people you thought you did.

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