Wherever You Go Hardcover – Nov 15 2011
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About the Author
HEATHER DAVIS is the author of Never Cry Werewolf, Wherever You Go, and The Clearing, which was nominated for a RITA Award for Best Young Adult Romance. She lives in Seattle. Visit her website at www.heatherdavisbooks.com.
Top Customer Reviews
Soon Holly begins to feel overwhelmed by all her responsibilities at home. Things only get worse when her grandfather claims to be communicating with the Rob, and when Rob's friend Jason begins spending more time with Holly. When Jason reveals that he wants to get to know her better, Holly is torn between this chance to move on and her resonating feelings for Rob.
This novel was both touching and heartbreaking. I immediately related to Holly, and I felt like she didn't deserve all the heartache in her life even though she was strong and able to push through all the tragedies and be happy. This novel begs the question: how long does it take to move on after the death of someone we loved? Can we ever truly love someone the same way that we loved them?
This book was an emotional roller-coaster ride. It made me cry like a baby at points and smile in others. I loved the character of Jason, and that he was always there for Holly - even when she didn't know it. I also really liked the character of Aldo (Holly's grandfather). He added that little bit of humour (not in a bad way) that was needed in the story.
The writing was well done, although the point-of-view changes confused me a little in the beginning. Other than there was nothing I disliked about the book!
I recommend this to anyone who enjoys more thoughtful YA - contemporary literature especially. I think you'll definitely enjoy this novel if you liked If I Stay by Gayle Forman. Check it out if you're in the mood for a good cry!
I did quite enjoy the book being told from multiple perspectives (I have read numerous reviews where people have complained about this, citing that the shifts in perspectives was a bit confusing, but I didn't have a problem with it, Heather did a marvelous job, in my opinion, differentiating between the characters). However, I must admit, I did have a bit of difficulties getting into the book, the pacing of the book was a bit slow for my taste and while I found the second half of the book to be much more enjoyable than the first half, I was a but disappointed that there wasn't a really grand climax (or "AHA!" moment).
That being said, while the book didn't do much for me I am know that fans of Lurlene McDaniel's books will love this book as it has the same sort of vibe to it (in fact, I am going to force- in the nicest way possible- my little sister who loves Lurlene McDaniel books to give this a go). If you are looking for a lighter book that pulls at your heartstrings, I highly recommend this.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This is the story of a girl whose head is just barely above water. Holly's boyfriend died last fall in a horrific car crash. Her mother is always working. Her sister is in need of constant supervision. Her grandfather joins their family when his Alzheimer's gets so bad that he can't be left alone. She has one friend at school and it seems like everyone else hates her. She has feelings for her dead boyfriend's best friend. It just can't get worse.
Her family is charming and wonderful, even when you want to scream at them in frustration. Her mother is just trying to keep her family afloat, even if it means working several jobs and spending little to no time at home. Her little sister has a good heart and is very lucky to have Holly there for a great role model. Her grandfather sinks farther and farther into the disease, descending where no one - except the ghost of Holly's boyfriend, Rob - can communicate with him. They're well-written and very realistic.
The teenagers in this book are also well done. You hate some of them, you can't help but love some of them, especially Jason, who can only be described as head-over-heels in love with Holly. He's so sweet, and despite the huge difference in their lifestyles, you definitely have to root for Holly and Jason to get together.
The ghost element was interesting. I admit that I was a little worried about this part, but Heather definitely pulled it off. It was subtle enough that you didn't feel like it was an overwhelmingly paranormal novel. In fact, Rob's parts were some of the most emotional in the book. To be a ghost, looking from the outside into the life that you used to live - it would be a truly terrible, painful thing.
And speaking of emotions: do not read this book unless you intend on being put through the emotional ringer. I cried buckets at several different times - and I am definitely not usually a crier. It takes a lot for me to tear up, but this book definitely got to me. Maybe it was the Holly's feeling of despair and utter hopelessness, Jason's sheer frustration that things couldn't go the way they should, Aldo's descent into a place where communication was no longer an option, or Rob's anger at being stuck in a place where no one but Aldo can see him - but he can see everything, including the things he doesn't want to see. It was very reminiscent of Sarah Dessen or Deb Caletti.
I was very impressed with the writing style. When I realized that three characters narrated - in three different types of speech - I worried. Holly's passages are written in first person past, Jason's in third person past, and Rob's in second person present. This is truly unique, but adds a unique and wonderful element to the story. Surprisingly enough, they flow from one to the next without disturbing the story whatsoever.
This was my first novel by Heather Davis and I'm thrilled. It was wonderful and I look forward to many more. I was definitely encouraged to seek out her previous novels.
Holly is being watched over by her dead boyfriend, who is jealous of his best friend Jason's burgeoning interest in 'his' girl. As Jason and Holly grow closer, Rob has to rethink his life and his actions, and wonders if things would be different if he could talk to those he left behind. This is not your standard 'ghost boyfriend' type book, since Rob cannot communicate with the living, at least not initially (and to say more would probably be considered a spoiler).
What made the book so difficult for me to read was Holly's situation. She acts as a parent to her sister, she is the 'wife' to her mother (cooking, cleaning, shopping), she is the caretaker for her grandfather, and she is overwhelmed. The sad part is that this is not an unusual situation in today's society. "Wherever You Go" works on many levels-it's a comment on teens having to grow up too fast, taking responsibility for one's actions, the problems caretakers face, and the necessity of asking for help when you are overwhelmed.
I had a really hard time getting into this book. The first half of it is so slowly paced that I could have read an entire other book while waiting for something interesting to happen. Once I was about halfway through the story though, it did start to pick up and start to capture my interest. Another thing that I didn't like about the book was the swapped point of views from three different people involved with no heading to the switch. Most books that are told from different points of view have a chapter header at least telling which characters head we are in. This one just used little symbols and I had to keep back tracking in the story to figure out whose head I was in.
The saving grace of this book is definitely Holly's Grandfather. He added the soft and caring touch that this book needed. He is also the only one who can see Holly's dead boyfriends ghost, Rob. He made the story heartbreaking and touching at the same time.
Would I read this story again? Probably not. Would other readers enjoy the book? Probably. This is one of those books that you just have to read for yourself to know if it was a great read or just a mediocre read.
I was reluctant to begin the book because I thought I would dislike the whole "ghost" aspect. But for a story with a ghost, it didn't seem too far fetched. At heart, it's a story of a hard-working teenage girl forced to grow up too early. Holly already has to be a pseudo-mother to her younger sister, Lena, but when her mother moves her Alzheimer's-patient grandfather into their apartment, Holly's stress multiplies. Add to that the fact that, at only 17, Holly has already experienced the tragic death of Rob, the boy she loves, from a car accident that almost killed her, too.
Rob's friend, Jason, has always like Holly - even when the rest of his and Rob's friends were just pretending because she was with Rob. He reaches out to Holly and she is skeptical of his motives. After Jason does a series of nice things for Holly, including helping her fulfill some of her sick grandfather's wishes, Holly starts to let him in. Jason is almost too good to be true. Events happen and we wonder if Holly will get to be happy. I won't spoil anything here.
I highly recommend this book for teens and adults. Readers who have suffered the loss of a teenager or are caring for someone with Alzheimers will find it especially poignant.
Holly is the driving force at the root of this story. Told in first person from her point of view, she's been sentenced to play the parent to her younger sister and has had the added responsiblity of taking care of her grandfather as he slips further into the grips of Alzheimer's disease. She's going through all of this while trying to cope with the death of her first love Rob. Holly's chapters were sometimes hard to get through because I felt so bad for her. Her patient and calm demeanor sometimes made her a bit cold to the rest of the world since her capacity to care is being used up so much at home. I really liked the constant power struggle between her and her mother but I wish she would have fought back a little more. It seemed just a tiny bit unrealistic that she simply went with parenting her sister and grandfather so easily. I was definitely happy to see her start to rebel some and fight for her own time as the story went on. I'll also say that I got pretty frustrated with her because she was really intelligent and kind but fell for the same old stupid mistakes halfway through the novel.
Jason's perspective was told in third person which worked well because he was intensely lonely and in a lot of pain, trying to cope with the loss of his best friend. I'm not sure first person would have been bearable. I really did like his character because he wasn't the perfect, smooth guy. He was shy and had a generally good heart. He wanted to believe the best in people. Watching how patient he was with Holly and how supportive he was with Holly's grandfather was so stinking sweet!
The last character and point of view is Rob and he's in second which was really interesting. Nothing pulls you into a story than when the writer is telling you what you are doing. His quest to find the reason he's still hanging out around ever one and his budding friendship with Holly's grandfather are really great additions to this story. The insight he gains really make for some of the most beautiful passages in the novel. I loved the chats he and Aldo had as it revealed a lot about Aldo that we didn't get to see from any other perspective.
Even though there is a ghost in this novel, it is by no means a paranormal romance. This book doesn't question the logic behind the ghost being there or anything but rather, it is about healing after a tragedy and how two people can find each other (and I'm not just talking about Holly and Jason but also Aldo and Rob). The ending is so incredibly beautiful thanks to the painstaking efforts Ms. Davis's puts into the writing. It seriously packs a punch. My biggest compliant with this novel is that it just felt too long. I really feel like I could have come to the same conclusion with a few less pages and it wouldn't have felt so weigh down. I also had a problem with how easily Holly believed the gossip when Jason had worked so hard to prove to her his intentions. It just seemed out of character to me. I guess when it comes down to it, this story might just have been a bit too quiet for me.
Wherever You Go painstakingly works its way from a quiet opening to a quiet crescendo with beauty and charm. The three perspectives really serve to round out the story. While a bit long, it's definitely a gorgeous story about love in all forms. The ending will haunt you with its simple truth and beauty.