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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Invisible Ghosts by Robyn Schneider (Extraordinary Means, The Beginning of Everything) is a combination light romance and ghost story about a teen who's struggling after the death of her brother. The book centers on Rose's regular visits with her brother's ghost, her budding relationship with a boy at school, and the complications that arise from both of those relationships. Issues around grief, guilt, and how to move on from loss factor largely into the story. Other important topics include dating and friendships. Most of the characters display typical teen behavior, such as lying to parents, some drinking, and making out, but there's nothing too extreme here. Characters swear rarely ("f--k," "s--t," and "crap"). Teens drink at three different parties, but no one is shown drunk.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In INVISIBLE GHOSTS, Rose Asher is grappling with grief and guilt five years after her brother Logan's death. She's also dealing with his ghost every day when she gets home from school. It's a secret she can't share with anyone, because she's not sure whether the ghost is real or in her head. Either way, she's happy to spend afternoons watching their favorite shows and hanging on the couch with him. At school, however, Rose has withdrawn from her old group of friends and makes do socially with a group of girls she doesn't connect with. Jaime, a cute boy she knew years ago, moves back, throwing her social life and her relationship with Logan for a loop. Jamie's own secrets further complicate things. As Rose figures out that she needs to live her life to the fullest and plan for her future, all her relationships go through serious growing pains.
Is it any good?
In this sweet but tepid romance, a teen girl hangs out with her brother's ghost and struggles mightliy with the complications and fallout resulting from the unusual situation. Invisible Ghosts offers an interesting premise in using the ghost as a way of showing that Rose is having a hard time moving on after her brother Logan's death. (He died from an allergic reaction to bee stings when he went looking for her after they had an argument.) How can she grow up and move on when he's stuck at age 15? Every advancement she achieves is a reminder of the life he never got to have.
The story starts to feel a little forced when love interest Jamie enters the picture with his own secrets, and it falters further under shallow characters and a predictable storyline. Repetitive phrasing and characters that completely drop from sight drag it down a little more. However, author Robyn Schneider does a good job with the teen dialogue and banter. She also nails teen girl social dynamics, especially when she shows that many young women dim their personalities and fly under the radar to avoid scrutiny in high school. Overall, this is a light, fun read, especially for teens who are into "shipping" fictional characters.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the way movies and books like Invisible Ghosts deal with grief. Do you find some situations sadder than others? Do you understand the concept of "survivor's guilt"?
How do you feel about ghost stories? Do you prefer them to be more vague, as in maybe the ghosts are real or maybe they aren't? Do you like the really scary stuff?
Have you ever held yourself back from pursuing what you want because you're afraid to fail?
- Author: Robyn Schneider
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, High School, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
- Publication date: June 5, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 13 - 18
- Number of pages: 320
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.