|Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publish Date: January 5, 2010
My Source: Library
by Lisa Schroeder
Brooklyn can’t sleep. Her boyfriend, Lucca, died only a year ago, and now her friend Gabe has just died of an overdose. Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe’s ghost is there waiting for her. She has no idea what he wants or why it isn’t Lucca visiting her dreams.
Nico can’t stop. He’s always running, trying to escape the pain of losing his brother, Lucca. But when Lucca’s ghost begins leaving messages, telling Nico to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.
As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn. But neither of them can admit that they’re being haunted. Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest. –(summary from Goodreads.com)
My Thoughts: Chasing Brooklyn was my first ever verse novel. I was challenged/inspired by one of my favorite fellow bloggers, Ashley, to read a verse novel by Lisa Schroeder. This was the only one of Schroeder’s books checked into my library at the time, so I grabbed it and here I sit, spilling my thoughts out to the world.
Here are my thoughts on Chasing Brooklyn:
1. Alternating POV. Sure, it can backfire when it isn’t executed well…but in this case the author did a great job. The story is told in what appears to be journal or diary entries by both Nico and Brooklyn. Each entry is really short and is labeled with the date and person speaking. Not only that, but the first line of each entry is brilliantly printed in what appears to be the handwriting of either Nico or Brooklyn. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this in the beginning; I initially thought I might think it would “junk” up the page…but the further I got into the book, the more I realized that it went with the flow of the story. And it actually looked beautiful on each page.
I know it is hard to see here, but the left side features Brooklyn’s handwriting and the right side is Nico’s. There was never a point in this book where I felt confused as to which person was narrating. It doesn’t always happen this way with alternating points of view. I do not know if this is typical of verse books or Lisa Schroeder, but I definitely thought it worked well in this case. It was seamless.
2. Shorter in length. Even though this little book was 412 pages in length, it was actually much shorter than most of the prose novels that I tend to read. I attribute this to the absence of “fluff” language in the story. The author used the brevity of the verse to be straight to the point and tell us exactly what she wanted to say. She did not feel it was necessary to add extra explanations or words and lengthen the story. This felt amazing to me. In most books-even the really awesome ones-there are natural hills and valleys with our excitement and focus. Not here. Every word was necessary to the story and had me on the edge of my seat. No fluff. No extras. Just the information I needed to know. In actuality, it took almost no time to read this book…and I actually made myself read it slow to make sure I really gave it a chance. It was shorter, but it packed a powerful punch.
3. Writing style. Reading Chasing Brooklyn made me feel like I was sitting in a cloud. Or floating on a raft in a gentle stream. Or something super soft and flow-y. In all of my cheesy-ness, what I’m trying to say is that the author’s words were soft and gentle and kind and compassionate and careful. The subject matter of grief after losing somebody you love is to be approached in a very loving way, and the words Ms. Schroeder used were just so…loving. She did a great job choosing her words well.
4. Lovely story. This is absolutely contemporary YA fiction. I’m VERY used to reading fantasy stories or dystopian stories or even paranormal stories, so this is way different than what I’m used to. This was really real, very true to life. This can really happen to people and in fact, it does all the time. So I think it sort of got me in the heart and the gut a little bit. It is much different than what I’m used to, but I’m open to reading more like it.
Well, Ashley, you were successful in two ways: 1) You accomplished making me like a verse novel. 2) You got me to read another contemporary YA author. I needed to broaden my literary horizons in both of these areas and this book helped me. I definitely plan to read more verse novels. I’m not sure that I’m the biggest verse fan out there yet, but I am certainly looking forward to picking another one up. So that’s good, right? AND with the whole contemporary thing…I have a LONG way to go before I think I can carry on an intelligent conversation about YA contemps, but at least I can add this book to my list. It’s a start and I think I’m headed in the right direction.