6 Oct 2021

#Review: THE GHOSTS WE KEEP by Mason Deaver



Author: Mason Deaver
Series: N/A
Source: Purchased from Audible
Publisher: PUSH Scholastic
Publication Date: June 1, 2021
Overall Rating:
Diversity Rating:

Perfect for fans of Adam Silvera and Becky Albertalli, this book will rip your heart out before showing you how to heal from tragedy and celebrate life in the process.

When Liam Cooper's older brother Ethan is killed in a hit-and-run, Liam has to not only learn to face the world without one of the people he loved the most, but also face the fading relationship with his two best friends.

Feeling more alone and isolated than ever, Liam finds themself sharing time with Marcus, Ethan's best friend, and through Marcus, Liam finds the one person that seems to know exactly what they're going through, for the better, and the worse.

This book is about grief. But it's also about why we live. Why we have to keep moving on, and why we should.
Amazon | Chapters | TBD
Content Warning: death, grief, suicidal ideation, suicidal tendencies, suicidal thoughts, misgendering, anxiety, self-harm, depression, panic attacks.

Ouch, my heart. This was such a good, heartbreaking, and fulfilling novel. The author's note at the end was so amazing and I really appreciate Mason putting so much heart and soul into this one.

Liam's struggles with grief felt so real, authentic, and raw. The loss of someone we love is devasting, especially when it happens suddenly and you feel as though you may have been able to change it. I thought Liam had the best character development throughout this, obviously because we focused only on them.

I did think sometimes that Liam was a bit obtuse and couldn't see past his nose (and his grief, to be fair). But as soon as we are introduced to Marcus, I knew him and Ethan were boyfriends. I know it's written in a way that the audience will catch on to it before Liam, but it was very obvious and painful for him to not get it.

There also was more opportunity for flashbacks to get to know Ethan better. I didn't feel as connected to Ethan as I would have wanted since the whole book was about processing the grief that accompanied his death. I didn't quite care that Ethan died so much as I cared that Liam was hurting.

Also everyone kinda sucked in this, which was actually pretty perfect because of how we all interpret sadness and grief in our own ways. I know that Liam's parents were also grieving but I feel like there was more opportunity for them to admit when they were not taking Liam's feelings into consideration.

And don't even get me started on Liam's "friends." They were TERRIBLE human beings. I wish (and hope) that Deaver writes a book about toxic friendships and the pain of losing people you are supposed to "trust" to be there for you. We got a bit of that in this book but I definitely think it would be a great theme to explore in a full novel.

I also appreciated that there was no sub-plot of romance. I think that this story would have felt watered down with that because too much time would have been spent on someone else rather than Liam's coming to terms with Ethan's death.

This story was so emotional and beautiful - I'm so glad I picked this up after how much I enjoyed I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST.

TLDR: I did enjoy this one a lot. I thought it was a good introspection of death and grief. I also really liked the characters. But I wanted a bit more of the flashbacks and about Ethan. I wasn't completely sold on the grief because I didn't care too much about Ethan or his death. This also has a lot of content warnings so make sure you have the mental and emotional strength to read this.


Have you read this book? Are you going to pick this up?

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