Edith Pattou’s Novel-Poetry hybrid, Ghosting is a 428-page long story told in free verse and stream-of-consciousness, switching perspectives between characters. It’s about six teenagers about to enter their senior year of high school on the last Saturday before school begins. Most of them don’t really like each other all that much, but they still are intent on getting the others to like them. The tensions escalate and culminate to a game of chicken gone wrong, possibly resulting in three dead kids, and undoubtedly resulting in a lifetime of trauma and horror.
It rips apart the smoky veil of cynicism and indifference put up as defense by teenagers with hot knives, bellowing in your face in the same breath that it uses to whisper in your ear. It’s like a cross between The Breakfast Club and Heathers, but without any of the coming-of-age themes or wit to water down the dark issues it’s dealing with.
A fun fact about this book is that it’s inspired by Jay Asher’s 13 Reasons Why. A fun fact about the author is that this is Edith Pattou’s first Realistic Fiction novel for young adults, and you can tell. It isn’t laced with hyperbole or false emotion, doesn’t sound like something you’d hold up in front of the class and present as an example, and you would really rather put it down and read something nicer, and less horrible. But that’s where Pattou’s skill comes in: you can’t. A striking example of her writing is on page 218, when Maxie describes a paramedic as “A man with pale eyelashes”. I think this is a great example of Edith Pattou’s great craft because of how she makes each character so differently. Maxie is a photographer, and has trained herself to see very small details, apparently including the color of this man’s hairs. Other characters like the analytical Anil or the hedonistic Brendan would probably describe the experience completely differently.
In conclusion, Ghosting is a fantastic novel-in-verse that I recommend for anyone interested in the dark side of boredom and frustration. I rate this book a 9/10. It is one of my top-ever books.