accident changed Brooklyn’s life forever. As she continues trying to pick up the pieces after her boyfriend’s death, another tragedy strikes on the one year anniversary: Gabe, the driver of the car that killed Lucca, and Brooklyn’s
friend, gives up on life. Unable to live with the guilt of surviving when he killed his friend, Gabe overdoses and ends his pain.
Nico is Lucca’s older brother. He gets to live in the house that feels the constant anguish of Lucca’s absence. Instead of turning to drugs or partying to deal with his sorrow, Nico runs. He runs to block out the world. He runs to block out his parents’ disappointment. He runs to block out the guilt he feels for being alive when his brother’s dead. He runs until…Lucca’s ghost gives him a mission: help Brooklyn.
Soon after Gabe’s death, Brooklyn begins having nightmares about him. She thinks they’re simply dreams until Gabe starts visiting her when she’s awake.
In this companion to I Heart You, You Haunt Me (2008), Schroeder explores the effects of survivor’s guilt. Each character in this novel is either directly or indirectly impacted by the death of Lucca and Gabe, and she shows that time knows no limits to sorrow. What makes this novel so effective is the fact that she addresses this issue from multiple perspectives (parents, siblings, friends, and boyfriend/girlfriends).
Although this novel is categorized as young adult, I truly believe that people of all ages could read it and glean meaning from its pages. If anyone has lived through loss, they can connect with the struggles of Brooklyn, Nico, and the parents. Depression is very real, and it’s usually gradual.
Each aspect of death has its own tragedy that people must work through. Just because people look “fine” doesn’t mean that they are. Sometimes, as a society, we don’t know what to say to people who are suffering, so we say nothing. Schroeder’s book shows us that, to make a positive impact, sometimes all we have to do is give someone a hug and ask, “How are you doing?” Then, listen.
I love this book; it is heartfelt and simplistic in its depiction of loss. However, for readers who like more description, more drama, and aren’t poetry fans, they probably won’t find as much enjoyment from this one as I did. Still, I think that everyone should give it a try.
**This novel can stand-alone, but the first one is good, too.