Thursday, May 22, 2014

Review: Absent - Katie Williams

Absent by Katie Williams
Genre: YA, supernatural
Published on May 21, 2013
Published by Chronicle Books
Pages: 184
Read From: 5.10.14 - 5.10.14

Seventeen-year-old Paige is dead, the victim of a freak fall from the roof during Physics class. Now she's a ghost, permanently bound to the grounds of her high school. It isn't all bad: she has the company of her fellow ghosts Evan and Brooke, who also died there. And she can find out everyone's secrets, which can be amusing - for a while. But then Paige hears
something that isn't amusing at all: the rumor spread by the most popular girl at school that her death wasn't accident - that she supposedly jumped on purpose. Paige is desperate to stop the gossip, but what can a ghost do? Then she discovers something amazing. She can possess living people when they think of her, and she can make them do almost anything. Maybe, just maybe, she can get inside the girl who's responsible for the stories. . . .and have a little fun turning the tables while she's at it.


Cover Blurb: Yes or No? I do like the simplistic, slightly creepy cover art. It's what caught my attention in the first place. However, I wish the actual story had been as intriguing as the cover.

Characters: It's safe to say that I didn't exactly care about anyone. It's not that I disliked them, but I really could not have cared less whether or not they got what they wanted - or what they deserved. This is mostly due to how short the book was. Paige had every right to be angry and upset, and I didn't fault her for her quest for revenge against Kelsey, who spreads nasty rumors about her supposed suicide. But I was not emotionally invested in the outcome. Lucas was a jerk; I don't care how much the Author tried to justify some of his actions. You can't ignore that there were things that simply came down to selfishness. Brooke was a bundle of bad attitude, Evan was just kinda there, and everyone else just faded into the background. Even Kelsey, the classic popular mean girl. Lucas is about the only one I had strong emotions about.

The Romance: It's a little odd. And I can't say that I was much interested in Paige's love interest. He was a pot-head; I don't dig pot heads, thank you very much. Thankfully, though, the romance didn't really take centerstage; it was just there, and had a rather unsatisfying conclusion. Without giving away spoilers, it just really work for me.

Plot: Paige was normal high school girl, hanging out with her best friend and getting picked on by the popular girls. She didn't hate high school, and she was pretty happy. Until the day she fell off the high school roof during a Physics class experiment. Now she's a ghost, permanently stuck at the high school, and powerless to comfort her friend or stop the nasty rumors popular girl Kelsey is spreading about her fall - that it wasn't an accident at all, but suicide. Paige can't stand the idea of becoming "the girl who jumped," but as a ghost, she can't do much about it. Until she discovers that whenever people think about her, she can enter their body and make them do and say pretty much whatever she wants! Maybe Paige can restore her good name after all! So the premise was relatively interesting; the last book I read about a ghost stuck on a school campus was Liv, Forever, and I loved it. With Absent being such a short read, I thought it couldn't hurt to try it. Well, sadly, it fell into the "boring" category. I kept waiting for something sinister to be thrown in - and for a while, it looked like there might be! But it eventually boiled down to a high school struggles story, and I don't really care for those.

Believability: Not applicable.

Writing Style: First person, present tense. The flashbacks are told in past. You guys are probably tired of me saying this: I don't like present tense. Oddly enough, I didn't mind it in this book all that much. The style itself, though, wasn't anything special. Paige had a distinctive voice, and I did enjoy it somewhat, but overall it was nothing special.

Content: Nothing beyond references to drugs.

Conclusion: This is where it started to get a tiny bit interesting, because the Author pulled a sudden twist that I was not expecting. However, she pulled back in the end, and tried to redeem all of the nasty characters in ways that I was not buying. Overall, Absent could have been better if the Author had stayed on the sinister path. But she didn't, so it was merely okay. A short read, but not one I'd do again.

Recommended Audience: Girl-read, seventeen-and-up, fans of supernatural and contemporary.

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