Teenager, Adam wakes in hospital after a failed suicide attempt to find he’s being haunted by a ‘ghost’ of himself that only he can see and hear. The ghost-Adam narrates the story and in the aftermath of the suicide attempt we watch through his eyes as Adam tries to cope with his frantically worried parents, returning to school, making new friends and dealing with his depression.
I thought the use of the ghost narrator was genius because he gives a bit of distance from an emotionally intense story, allowing it to remain light. He’s also new to the world and doesn’t know how things work and he’s completely dependent on Adam for company, which brings a lot of humour to a very dark subject. Most of all, he’s a fantastic metaphor for depression that I think would really help a young reader to understand the illness. As Adam starts to make new friends and joins a writing class the ghost is less than pleased to be replaced and tries to interfere with Adam’s recovery.
I thought this was a really clever and original way to handle a subject that gets done a lot and can be kind of grim. By the end I really felt invested in the characters and I completely believed in Adam’s emotional journey and was really touched by it.
She is the Seamus Heaney Children's Writing Fellow for Northern Ireland.
Return to REVIEWS HOMEPAGE