The Ghosts We Keep

Mason Deaver. Push, $18.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-338-59334-1
Sixteen-year-old musician Liam Cooper, who is nonbinary and cued as white, struggles to keep their life together after their older brother Ethan dies in a hit-and-run in their North Carolina hometown. To make things even harder, Liam’s been feeling distant from their only friends: kind Vietnamese American Joel, who’s trans and bisexual, and fellow musician Vanessa, who’s bisexual and has brown skin. Lost, Liam reaches out to Ethan’s best friend, Marcus, and they form a bond through their shared grief. With frequent flashbacks portraying Liam and Ethan’s complicated but loving relationship, Deaver (I Wish You All the Best) paints an unflinching portrait of the messiness of mourning and healing, neither vilifying nor sanitizing Liam’s anger, guilt, and loneliness. There are no easy answers to the questions Liam confronts (“I still found it so much easier to discuss frozen yogurt instead of my dead brother”), and their reactions have lasting consequences. Heavily telegraphed plot points sap narrative tension, but Liam’s hard-won hope makes for an emotional journey—including instances of suicidal ideation and self-harm—that’s as heart-expanding as it is heartbreaking. Ages 14–up. Agent: Lauren Abramo, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (June)
Reviewed on : 05/06/2021
Release date: 06/01/2021
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-338-81960-1
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