Book Review: Ghosting by Edith Pattou

One summer night in a small midwestern town, teenagers engaged in teenage shenanigans learn life’s hardest lesson.  A prank goes awry when guns, alcohol, and misunderstandings are involved.  All these separate lives converge in one moment, and the result will alter lives forever.

Edith Pattou’s novel-in-verse combines the lives of eight teens with mixed results.  While the verse itself is serviceable, it doesn’t feel essential, which might make some readers question the stylistic choice.  However, the verse makes the story fly by, which should keep readers turning pages.  A compelling narrative becomes more engaging because of the sparse prose.

But that doesn’t mean that the entire novel is compelling.  All of the characters are rather flat in their characterization.  While this is likely to happen with any story that attempts to tell a tale from the perspectives of many people, it does a disservice here because it becomes difficult to keep all the teens straight.

Of course, that won’t matter to some readers.  Pattou keeps the novel clipping along at a good pace, and the sense of foreboding that permeates the novel’s first half will keep readers turning pages to find out what’s going to happen.  It’s a perfectly fine title to add to a contemporary collection, but perhaps not wholly a must-read title.

Ghosting by Edith Pattou. Skyscape: 2014. Electronic galley accepted for review via Netgalley.

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