Ghosts can’t seem to keep their opinions to themselves.
Seventeen-year-old Nate Shaw should know; he’s been talking to them since he was twelve. But they aren’t the only ones making his high school years a living hell. All Nate wants is to keep his secret and keep his head down until he can graduate. That is, until the new boy, James Powell, takes a seat next to him in homeroom. James not only notices him, he manages to work his way into Nate’s life. But James has issues of his own.
Between dead grandmothers and living aunts, Nate has to navigate the fact that he’s falling in love with his only friend, all while getting advice from the most unusual places.
Ghosts, bullies, first love: it’s a lot to deal with when you’re just trying to survive senior year.
I can say without a hint of hesitation that I truly loved this story and it was everything that I'd hoped it might be after reading the blurb.
Nate's life was lonely, as he had no friends, other than his loving, supportive aunt and his dearly-departed grandmother, but he tried his best to not let that bring him down.
James' life was full of turmoil and grief over the death of his beloved brother, after becoming heavily involved with drugs, but he was good at hiding his emotions and pretending that he was okay, when he truly wasn't.
I adored how James immediately hit it off with Nate, in spite of the fact that no one else in their high school would so much as talk to Nate. James didn't have time for their petty bullshit, instead he only saw that Nate was a great guy. A boy worth knowing. And maybe even loving.
The story was told from Nate's point of view and I enjoyed being in his slightly-neurotic head, as he met the new boy in school and they quickly became best friends, nearly inseparable.
The conflict in the story mostly surrounded Nate's growing feelings for James and James working his way through his feelings surrounding his brother's recent death.
But Nate had a bit of help, in the form of a couple of ghosts. Yep, you heard me right. Ghosts.
Throughout the book, Nate was visited repeatedly by his loving, dead Gran, who also had the ability to sense ghosts, an ability which runs in his family. She helped Nate deal with the many hardships in his life and not feel quite so isolated, just as any grandmother worth her salt would.
Nate was also visited by David, the ghost of James' dead brother, who helped Nate be the solid support that James needed to work through his anger and grief.
And the ghosts were every bit as entertaining as I'd dare dream they might be. They added a unique feel to the story that really made it a complete winner for me.
There was angst and drama, but the author kept both down to acceptable, enjoyable levels, for which I was extremely grateful.
As far as steam goes, this was a total slow burn attraction story, as best friends became boyfriends, but the lovers aspect wasn't dwelled upon too (hot and) heavily just quite yet. There were, however, plenty of cuddly, intimate moments between our two MC's, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
I adored the graduation ending scene, which left us with the boys graduating high school, about to go off to college together to continue their lives. It left them in a good place, which made me pretty darn happy.
Yes, this was your typical Young Adult read, with bitchy, self-important, shallow cheerleaders and high school bullies, but it also felt like so much more.
The story was both fun and engaging, with Nate's reluctant hope for a life better than his current one front and center for much of the story, so I really can't recommend this great 4.5 star read highly enough.
My ARC copy of the story was provided by the publisher in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
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