RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge Review: Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder


Title: Chasing Brooklyn
Author: Lisa Schroeder
Publication Info: Simon & Schuster 2010
ISBN: 9781416991748
Genre: Young Adult

RITA®, and the RITA statuette are service marks of Romance Writers of America, Inc.This RITA® Reader Challenge review was written by Steph, who is reading like a mad fiend and loading up her Kindle before she is deployed again.

Book Cover The synopsis: Restless souls and empty hearts

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.

Steph’s Review:

I am ashamed to admit, dear reader, that I, former Literature teacher, shaper of young and impressionable minds, guardian of the written word, judged this book before I had even read a single word.

Chasing Brooklyn‘s first page appeared on my Kindle screen and immediately I was filled with dread—the entire novel is written almost entirely in free verse—and I was pretty certain that an entire book of teen angst told in any manner other than prose just wasn’t going to cut it. As a general rule, I abhor books told in poem/letter/email/text form and absolutely was not prepared to like this book at all. Fortunately, I was wrong. I LOVED this book.

The story is set a year after the death of a teenager named Lucca and alternates POV between Lucca’s girlfriend, Brooklyn, and his older brother Nico. The author does a wonderful job of writing free verse that feels authentic to her young protagonists without being trying or annoying. It was the perfect way to tell this story of two young people trying to come to terms with their grief and move on with their lives.

It is also so refreshing to see a YA love story with a realistic teen relationship, and not one that somehow finds a way to work in the M-word (marriage). There is no silly forced love triangle and there is no stupid whining about a guy who is ABSOLUTELY PERFECT IN EVERY WAY. (Yeah, lets just make girls delusional earlier in life, why don’t we?)

One final note to all of those current “shapers of young minds”—this book would be awesome to hand out to reluctant readers—the brief sections are easy to digest, the vocabulary not too difficult, the voices very realistic.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    LizW65 says:

    Sorry, my first thought after reading this review was, “So, Lucca went to sleep with the fishes, huh?”

    I agree that on the surface, the style and premise sound perfectly dreadful; however after your recommendation I just might give it a try.  Is it available only in ebook format?

  2. 2
    AfroQueen says:

    Thanks for the review!  I’m a YA/Teen Librarian and I’m always looking for books to recommend to my teens.

  3. 3

    As a Young Adult librarian, I jump at the chance to recommend titles told in verse especially to reluctant readers. Some of my favorites, although not romantic, include “Make Lemonade” and “What My Mother Doesn’t Know.” My teens also love every single title Ellen Hopkins puts out. I also judged Chasing Brooklyn by the cover, but now that I know it is written in verse, I’m much more prone to read it. Thanks!

  4. 4
    Liza L says:

    Thanks for the review, Steph, my curiosity is triggered. I’m leery of novels told in verse/correspondence too, even though I read poetry. When I’m in the mood for a novel I want the text to butt out of my story appreciation time (but I did love Karen Hesse’s verse novel Out of the Dust—I think it was the first book that made me cry).

    Since I’m in the Barnes and Noble cafe, “working”, I may just have to wander upstairs and check this book out…

  5. 5
    Tiffany Harris says:

    Oooh, metaphysical. I just got into reading soulmate-centered novels after I finished The Soul’s First Kiss by Gregory Isaacson (http://www.gregorywisaacson.com). I love the idea of a metaphysical connection. I’ve been looking for similar-ish titles.. so I might check this one out :)

    I’m really skeptical about the free verse format, though. You pinky promise that it isn’t eye-rollingly annoying, Steph? I have never read a book I liked that was free verse.

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