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Ordinary Ghosts

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Family secrets and school secrets entwine in an engaging new novel from the author of You Remind Me of You, and Splintering. Sometimes when life haunts you, you're better off becoming the ghost. Emil Simon feels invisible enough. He counts as a nonentity at his elite preparatory school and makes barely a dent in his father's thoughts. When his older brother runs away, he en Family secrets and school secrets entwine in an engaging new novel from the author of You Remind Me of You, and Splintering. Sometimes when life haunts you, you're better off becoming the ghost. Emil Simon feels invisible enough. He counts as a nonentity at his elite preparatory school and makes barely a dent in his father's thoughts. When his older brother runs away, he entrusts Emil with a master key to Caramoor Academy. Soon Emil is sneaking into the school at night to explore ... and falling for a faculty daughter who sneaks in for reasons of her own. This is a novel about living with disappearances... and willing yourself to appear.


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Family secrets and school secrets entwine in an engaging new novel from the author of You Remind Me of You, and Splintering. Sometimes when life haunts you, you're better off becoming the ghost. Emil Simon feels invisible enough. He counts as a nonentity at his elite preparatory school and makes barely a dent in his father's thoughts. When his older brother runs away, he en Family secrets and school secrets entwine in an engaging new novel from the author of You Remind Me of You, and Splintering. Sometimes when life haunts you, you're better off becoming the ghost. Emil Simon feels invisible enough. He counts as a nonentity at his elite preparatory school and makes barely a dent in his father's thoughts. When his older brother runs away, he entrusts Emil with a master key to Caramoor Academy. Soon Emil is sneaking into the school at night to explore ... and falling for a faculty daughter who sneaks in for reasons of her own. This is a novel about living with disappearances... and willing yourself to appear.

30 review for Ordinary Ghosts

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Wardrip

    Reviewed by Karin Perry for TeensReadToo.com Emil's life has been turned upside down in the last year. His mother has died of cancer and his brother, who he has always looked up to, has disappeared without a trace. Emil and his father don't communicate about anything important and rarely see each other due to his father's work schedule. The only friend he has is Soma, a rule-bending, line-crossing boy who is in the same grade as Emil. Nothing exciting happens to Emil. He is average in every way. Reviewed by Karin Perry for TeensReadToo.com Emil's life has been turned upside down in the last year. His mother has died of cancer and his brother, who he has always looked up to, has disappeared without a trace. Emil and his father don't communicate about anything important and rarely see each other due to his father's work schedule. The only friend he has is Soma, a rule-bending, line-crossing boy who is in the same grade as Emil. Nothing exciting happens to Emil. He is average in every way. His brother, Ethan, was the bright, shining star with all the friends, good grades, and a way with the ladies. Emil just lives in Ethan's shadow. He attends Caramoor Academy, a private school with a hefty tuition. Since everything has happened in his family, Emil's grades have started to slip and his father is riding him harder than ever to make the grade; especially since he is paying so much for him to go to school at Caramoor. Emil does have the key though -- the key to notoriety, the key to exploration, the key to discovery. One day before Ethan left home, Emil was digging around in his bedroom and found an actual key. When he asked Ethan what the key unlocked he received a surprising answer: the key was a master key to the entire Caramoor Academy campus. Every door in every building was available to the person who held the key. Emil asked if he could have it and unbelievably, Ethan said yes. Normally the key was passed from one student to another each year. No one except the key holder was supposed to know who had it. The goal of the year was to pull off a monumental prank. Emil's chance at greatness comes when his father has to go out of town for a long business trip and he has four days and nights home alone. He decides to use his time exploring Caramoor Academy. He sets up a makeshift bed in the attic of the main building and proceeds to unlock every door he can find. One evening during his exploration, Emil sees the art studio lit up and hears music blaring from the room. He finds a girl inside spinning a clay pot. He is shocked and doesn't give her his real name because he doesn't want to get caught, but he also wants to find out what she is doing there. After some conversation, he realizes she is the daughter of the art teacher at the Academy. Over the next several days Emil and Jade, the girl in the art studio, form a relationship that leads them to many discoveries about themselves, about the death of Emil's mother and Ethan's role in it, and the importance of friendship. Eireann Corrigan has written a complex novel with true-to-life young adult characters that grow throughout the course of the story. Definitely for older teens, this novel covers topics such as grief, loss, family, and discovery with compassion and humor.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    This one grew on me. I didn't care for it much at first – Emil, the protagonist, felt like a sub-Holden Caufield caricature and the 1st-person narration seemed a little overwrought, like author Corrigan was trying too hard to get inside the skin of a teenage boy. But as the story progressed – about Emil's struggle to come to terms with the truth about his mom's death, his brother's disappearance, and his attraction to a mysterious girl – I found myself more interested in what he had to say, and This one grew on me. I didn't care for it much at first – Emil, the protagonist, felt like a sub-Holden Caufield caricature and the 1st-person narration seemed a little overwrought, like author Corrigan was trying too hard to get inside the skin of a teenage boy. But as the story progressed – about Emil's struggle to come to terms with the truth about his mom's death, his brother's disappearance, and his attraction to a mysterious girl – I found myself more interested in what he had to say, and it rang more true to me than it did at the beginning. This book rewards the patient reader; you have to be willing to wade through some self-indulgent (albeit character-establishing) narration at the beginning before things really kick into gear.

  3. 4 out of 5

    ???

    This is one of those books where 99% of the writing that goes on is thoughts inside the MC's head. It's based around a teenage boy who goes to an old boy's school- sometimes reading his thoughts, especially his drug-related/sexual ones are really uncomfortable. I tried to read this when I was a bit younger, but all that rebelliousness intimidated me a lot. So this is definitely one for older teens/adults. You kind of have to be in the mood for that frank, confidant tone. The MC Emil idolises his This is one of those books where 99% of the writing that goes on is thoughts inside the MC's head. It's based around a teenage boy who goes to an old boy's school- sometimes reading his thoughts, especially his drug-related/sexual ones are really uncomfortable. I tried to read this when I was a bit younger, but all that rebelliousness intimidated me a lot. So this is definitely one for older teens/adults. You kind of have to be in the mood for that frank, confidant tone. The MC Emil idolises his brother Ethan, who's something of a cool guy. There are stereotypes to the characters, but most of them have an added dimensionality-- like Soma. The only exception I can really think about is Jade, and I'll get to that. It's really interesting how Ethan's explored as a character. Emil has to pull these big stunts for people who don't care about him, in his brother's name, so he can prove his own worth. Then it really becomes about finding his own identity all coming-of-age style. I was floored by the way the author treated the topic of death. It was really subtle. It's not one of those novels where the mum dies and the kid cries over the gravestone and cries "nooo," because there's a lot more intricacy to it. Emil sort of talks about death as a culture-- from things like getting rid of old toothbrushes to writing apology cards glorifying someone you never really noticed. There are a lot of anecdotes that really sell this book. My favourite part was Emil's interest in the history of the school, and the ghost, which is where the title comes from. His message in the snow is one of my favourite parts of the whole book, even though the reaction is never got into. The dialogue is great, if a little overly witty at times. I'm not sure if the romance subplot with Jade was really necessary. She's meant to be a fun, banter-y Jesse to his James. To me this sort of love interest is kind of overplayed in YA- like I wince every time I think of Alex Rider and Sabina Pleasure. The main growth and development of Jade is when she explains why she dropped out of college. There are a lot of things left unspoken that you kind of have to figure out by yourself. Like what Emil's graduating speech would be like-- I really wanted to know, but the novel ended before he got there. The ending is really nice. Not gonna spoil. But it really lifted the book from 'hey this is really cool and kinda funny' to 'wow this was deep'. You get to know the MC so well you kind of want to shake his hand and ask him about life, if you know what I mean. Great book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karin

    Emil's life has been turned upside down in the last year. His mother has died of cancer and his brother, who he has always looked up to, has disappeared without a trace. Emil and his father don't communicate about anything important and rarely see each other due to his father's work schedule. The only friend he has is Soma, a rule-bending, line-crossing boy who is in the same grade as Emil. Nothing exciting happens to Emil. He is average in every way. His brother, Ethan, was the bright, shining s Emil's life has been turned upside down in the last year. His mother has died of cancer and his brother, who he has always looked up to, has disappeared without a trace. Emil and his father don't communicate about anything important and rarely see each other due to his father's work schedule. The only friend he has is Soma, a rule-bending, line-crossing boy who is in the same grade as Emil. Nothing exciting happens to Emil. He is average in every way. His brother, Ethan, was the bright, shining star with all the friends, good grades, and a way with the ladies. Emil just lives in Ethan's shadow. He attends Caramoor Academy, a private school with a hefty tuition. Since everything has happened in his family, Emil's grades have started to slip and his father is riding him harder than ever to make the grade; especially since he is paying so much for him to go to school at Caramoor. Emil does have the key though -- the key to notoriety, the key to exploration, the key to discovery. One day before Ethan left home, Emil was digging around in his bedroom and found an actual key. When he asked Ethan what the key unlocked he received a surprising answer: the key was a master key to the entire Caramoor Academy campus. Every door in every building was available to the person who held the key. Emil asked if he could have it and unbelievably, Ethan said yes. Normally the key was passed from one student to another each year. No one except the key holder was supposed to know who had it. The goal of the year was to pull off a monumental prank. Emil's chance at greatness comes when his father has to go out of town for a long business trip and he has four days and nights home alone. He decides to use his time exploring Caramoor Academy. He sets up a makeshift bed in the attic of the main building and proceeds to unlock every door he can find. One evening during his exploration, Emil sees the art studio lit up and hears music blaring from the room. He finds a girl inside spinning a clay pot. He is shocked and doesn't give her his real name because he doesn't want to get caught, but he also wants to find out what she is doing there. After some conversation, he realizes she is the daughter of the art teacher at the Academy. Over the next several days Emil and Jade, the girl in the art studio, form a relationship that leads them to many discoveries about themselves, about the death of Emil's mother and Ethan's role in it, and the importance of friendship. Eireann Corrigan has written a complex novel with true-to-life young adult characters that grow throughout the course of the story. Definitely for older teens, this novel covers topics such as grief, loss, family, and discovery with compassion and humor.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jaemi

    Emil Simon hasn't had the best year. First he suffered the loss of his mother, and then his brother. Alone now with his father, at a school he's not really comfortable at, Ethan spends most of his time imaging what's become of Ethan. He milks his teachers' sympathy as much as he can in terms of makeup tests and extensions. Still his grades are suffering. When his father has to take off for a week for business, Emil couldn't be happier. He sees this as his big chance, this week of freedom, and he Emil Simon hasn't had the best year. First he suffered the loss of his mother, and then his brother. Alone now with his father, at a school he's not really comfortable at, Ethan spends most of his time imaging what's become of Ethan. He milks his teachers' sympathy as much as he can in terms of makeup tests and extensions. Still his grades are suffering. When his father has to take off for a week for business, Emil couldn't be happier. He sees this as his big chance, this week of freedom, and he has plans. Plans involving trying out the master key to Caramoor, once in Ethan's possession, now in his. Strictly speaking, if the tradition still stood, he'd never have had it. But he does. And he feels compelled. For a week, Emil has the run of the grounds. He checks out the library, reads up on the local ghost lore, spends a few nights in the archives. HE also stumbles upon his art teacher's daughter, who comes in after hours to make pottery. Getting off on the wrong foot entirely, he introduces himself as someone else and continues to fill his story with further lies. It doesn't take long before his nightly meetings with Jade become Emil's favorite part of the day, even if she doesn't know who he really is or what he really does. His friendship with his best friend Soma take a roller coaster ride over this same period, but after a couple of days of silence, Soma breaks, and they manage to put things to rights. Just in time for Soma's mother to catch Emil not at home, call his father, and pretty much ruin everything again. When his dad arrives home, Emil has things he wants to say too. In major trouble or not. But he didn't expect to learn the hard truths he did. That his mother's death was even bleaker than he thought. That Ethan's disappearance wasn't really. As much as he's lied of late, people have been lying to him. Important people. About really big things. Being on the end of such a huge revelation, Emil knows he has to come clean with Jade, and does. Together, they break some more rules, as they head off to find his brother and confront him. This was a very different book from Corrigan's poetry-based novels, but I really enjoyed it. It was a little hard to get into, since the story jumps right in and I seemed to have a hard time keeping up with it, but it was well worth the read. Emil's plight is heavy and at times downright horrible, yet the reading of it is a lot of times light and humorous. And really, who wouldn't delight in getting to be in the shoes of someone who has the run of his school at night? Even if he never does something as dastardly as he seems to feel he should.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Originally posted here www.thetometravellers.wordpress.com I love YA books with a male MC. I don’t exactly know when I came to that conclusion but naturally, I’ve decided I want to read more of them. I’ve got a small list I’m trying to get through and Ordinary Ghosts seemed like a good place to start. While I did find it hard to read at times, (this is only because the book and font were weirdly small) I was intrigued from the start. I really liked Emil. He made me laugh. He’s clearly lonely and d Originally posted here www.thetometravellers.wordpress.com I love YA books with a male MC. I don’t exactly know when I came to that conclusion but naturally, I’ve decided I want to read more of them. I’ve got a small list I’m trying to get through and Ordinary Ghosts seemed like a good place to start. While I did find it hard to read at times, (this is only because the book and font were weirdly small) I was intrigued from the start. I really liked Emil. He made me laugh. He’s clearly lonely and definitely struggling, missing both his mother (who passed away only a few months before) and his brother (who mysteriously left town not long after). While never super close to begin with, his dad is now a bit of an absent parent in the way that he’s not dealing well with his own grief and has emotionally withdrawn from Emil. Instead, he is constantly getting on his case about school work and getting high grades. So it’s no surprise when Emil grasps the distraction of the key to Caramoor Academy with both hands and takes advantage of his dad’s 4 day business trip to go exploring at night. There, he meets Jade, daughter of the school art teacher and a relationship starts to blossom. What I liked: - Emil’s voice: it was honest and refreshing. Eireann Corrigan didn’t shy away from typical teenage boy drug use and swearing (can I just say, I love swearing. In books, in movies, in real life – ALL THE TIME) and I really liked that it was true to how teenagers are. - The relationship between Jade and Emil: Though it developed quite quickly for the time frame of the book, it was really well done. They had a bit of a false start, and there was, of course, the usual awkwardness, but they helped each other through some tough moments. And hands up for a well-written, first-time sex scene! - Eireann Corrigan’s ability to make Ethan’s presence so palpable, even though he is barely in the book: Emil’s brother is clearly someone who he looks up to and admires so Ethan is talked about a lot throughout the story. I was impressed that we really got a sense of who Ethan was even though Emil doesn’t actually catch up with him until towards the end of the book. Ordinary Ghosts is one I’ll be book pushing a bit from now on, I think. I’m sad/annoyed it’s not more well known. It’s one of those books that slowly creeps up on you and you don’t realise at the time how much you’re enjoying it, but I really felt it when I had finished. I want to read more of her books. Definitely give this book a go if you, like me, are into male protagonists. You won't regret it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    A lovely character-driven story. It felt like I was really in the head of an actual teenage guy, not Edward Cullen or Seth what's-his-name (is it Riggs? Anyway, the guy in Wicked Lovely). Corrigan is a really good writer and she ties all the elements of the story in well. The climax was very emotional and even shocking. Typical theme of family secrets, but untypical secret. I can't imagine having to make a choice of that magnitude. After reading the part where he was on acid, it was funny, althou A lovely character-driven story. It felt like I was really in the head of an actual teenage guy, not Edward Cullen or Seth what's-his-name (is it Riggs? Anyway, the guy in Wicked Lovely). Corrigan is a really good writer and she ties all the elements of the story in well. The climax was very emotional and even shocking. Typical theme of family secrets, but untypical secret. I can't imagine having to make a choice of that magnitude. After reading the part where he was on acid, it was funny, although took me a while to get around to eating chicken again. I can't provide a plot synopsis because it was a while ago that I read this, and I can't remember any names, but basically, this guy's mother has died and his brother ran off when it happened, only sending home a postcard or two every so often. He doesn't have a good relationship with his dad, and I think he doesn't like himself, either, because he's always been in his brother's shadow and he doesn't know who he really is. So this book is about the guy trying to find his brother, sneak into school after hours, falling in love, keeping his relationship with his best friend from falling apart, dealing with his father, and coming to terms with his mother's death from cancer. Which, you have to admit, is a lot to stuff into one book, but Corrigan manages it beautifully. This is a really amazing book despite the drug use and the sex. It's about confronting your fears, family relationships, becoming yourself, all the typical character-driven things, but the skill of the writer renders it completely fresh and new. This review kinda sucks, but the book itself doesn't.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    This book started our VERY slow, I wasn't even sure if I wanted to continue reading it. I mean I was at pg. 100 and still questioning which usually makes me toss a book. This one I stuck with for some reason and I wasn't too terribly disappointed with it. It really picked up in the second half, that's where all the content was. This book was very much about the mind of a high school boy. I spent the whole time reading assuming it was a male author but it turns out that it wasn't! I was extremely This book started our VERY slow, I wasn't even sure if I wanted to continue reading it. I mean I was at pg. 100 and still questioning which usually makes me toss a book. This one I stuck with for some reason and I wasn't too terribly disappointed with it. It really picked up in the second half, that's where all the content was. This book was very much about the mind of a high school boy. I spent the whole time reading assuming it was a male author but it turns out that it wasn't! I was extremely surprised. I don't know what it's like to be a teenage boy but the author seems to really nail it, especially considering she doesn't know either. My favorite part of the plot line was how Emil's idolization of his brother continues to grow throughout the whole book. He becomes more and more like his brother. He believes being like his brother will get him what he wants when in the end he finds he just needed to be himself. His idolization of his brother comes crashing down around him as he learns a hurtful truth and it's definitely for the better. I didn't really understand his obsession with sneaking into the school at night just to check things out. Especially with the fact that he had his whole house to himself through the majority of the book. I just kept felt myself getting annoyed every time he snuck into the school, I'm not really sure why. This book was a great coming of age story. It does a really good job of explaining Emil growing up and becoming independent of his brother and finding faith in himself. I also liked that there was a little romance thrown in :)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    On the one hand, I really really liked it. On the other, I was a little confused by the lack of plot. But maybe it's how the character's evolve over a two week period that's the real story here. Not exactly what Booklist said in their review, but I think that that makes the story all that much better. When the book opens, Emil's brother has just left shortly after their mother dies of cancer. Dad is withdrawn and Emil, being a 16 year old boy, doesn't exactly know what to make of the situation. On the one hand, I really really liked it. On the other, I was a little confused by the lack of plot. But maybe it's how the character's evolve over a two week period that's the real story here. Not exactly what Booklist said in their review, but I think that that makes the story all that much better. When the book opens, Emil's brother has just left shortly after their mother dies of cancer. Dad is withdrawn and Emil, being a 16 year old boy, doesn't exactly know what to make of the situation. On one hand (fav. phrase of the day) Emil has idolized his brother for so long that he is devastated by his apparent escape. On the other hand, he has no clue who he is without his brother around. That's the heart of the story, figuring out who you are when the thing that defines you is gone. There are many drug references, sexual situations/descriptions and some cursing, but in the context of the story everything fits. It's written somewhat in a stream of conscience style, which fits since Corrigan is a poet first. It reads like the movie "Juno" at times and it's very dense. There is no wasted space in the 300-odd pages. Chapters are short and quick. I might give this to a reluctant reader who is older, 10th grade and up. It reminded me of Sara Zarr's Story of A Girl in terms of the story.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Carly

    This book has probably one of the most memorable male protagonists I've read. He would fit right in with Holden Caulfield. But the whole time they were together, he'd be super introverted and in his head & wishing he could be like Holden, because Holden doesn't hold back with what's on his mind, whereas Emil goes over and over and over things in his mind so much that he often never takes any real action. I got sucked into this book within the few first chapters. The story is intriguing and origi This book has probably one of the most memorable male protagonists I've read. He would fit right in with Holden Caulfield. But the whole time they were together, he'd be super introverted and in his head & wishing he could be like Holden, because Holden doesn't hold back with what's on his mind, whereas Emil goes over and over and over things in his mind so much that he often never takes any real action. I got sucked into this book within the few first chapters. The story is intriguing and original. I was a little disappointed by the end, which is why I'm giving it only 3 stars. I felt like the story peters out, just when it should be hitting its peak. I understand that is probably the way the author wanted to end things, but still, I felt somewhat let down by the anti-climactic ending. But overall, Eireann Corrigan creates a great story with great characters. Emil Simon feels like a real 16 yr old high-school boy. I felt like I was inhabiting the mind of one of my students! There are a lot of drug & sexual references, so it won't be going into my school library like I had hoped. I understand the need for them to create the character though. Overall I did enjoy reading the book, with reservations.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lucy

    Emil’s life kind of sucks. His mom died from cancer less than a year ago. His perfect older brother Ethan picked up and left one day not long after. And his dad is the strong, silent type. Emil’s not much more popular at school, either. But when he’s snooping in Ethan’s room one day, he finds the key. Not the key to happiness, or contentment, or anything like that. No, it’s the master key that opens all of the doors at Caramoor, Emil and Ethan’s exclusive private school. Every year, one supreme j Emil’s life kind of sucks. His mom died from cancer less than a year ago. His perfect older brother Ethan picked up and left one day not long after. And his dad is the strong, silent type. Emil’s not much more popular at school, either. But when he’s snooping in Ethan’s room one day, he finds the key. Not the key to happiness, or contentment, or anything like that. No, it’s the master key that opens all of the doors at Caramoor, Emil and Ethan’s exclusive private school. Every year, one supreme jokester is given the key, and is expected to pull off some fabulous prank with it before passing it on to another deserving student. But Ethan is gone, and now Emil has the key. The question is, what is he going to do with it? This is one of the greatest teen boy books of all time. Emil’s voice is perfect teen boy—angsty, horny, smart, sarcastic, and funny. I loved reading this book. I loved every minute of it. I loved Emil’s relationship with his best friend Soma, and his relationship with Jade. This book is perfectly crafted. It’s entertaining and it’s smart and it’s spot-on. Read it, and then give it to all of the teen boys (and girls) you know.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nayla

    First off, I caught those references. I can't estimate the exact percentage of references without knowing all of them, so I'll have to let it go at that. Second, I wish there was an epilogue or a short story sequel of what the next key holder gets up to (names omitted so I don't have to figure out the spoiler formatting). Down to business: if this story feels like an updated Catcher in the Rye, it sort of is, but one with more of a living emotional core at the center of it. The logic of the story First off, I caught those references. I can't estimate the exact percentage of references without knowing all of them, so I'll have to let it go at that. Second, I wish there was an epilogue or a short story sequel of what the next key holder gets up to (names omitted so I don't have to figure out the spoiler formatting). Down to business: if this story feels like an updated Catcher in the Rye, it sort of is, but one with more of a living emotional core at the center of it. The logic of the story is more poetic, an honest reflection of life and loss than an adventure with a beginning, middle, and an end, but it would probably fall into the coming-of-age genre. In any case, in the wake of a personal loss, you might consider this book to be a literary psychopomp compelling you through the nuts and bolts of grief towards catharsis and perspective, so in that sense it may be a Hero's Journey sort of a book, except that the hero might be the reader and the process of reading the book in and of itself is the journey. Reader beware, this book is exactly what it says on the tin - *ordinary* ghosts, not supernatural ghosts, but the memories we all wrestle with.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    When I went into the bookstore, I wasn't originally looking for this particular book but I was looking for a book by this author (they didn't have the book I wanted)I was pleasantly surprised by the parts of this book that I liked. As usual, I had fun with the romance aspects but I really liked the different relationships that were written, almost in a criticizing manner. The relationship between a distant father and his estranged (and one missing) sons, the relationship between a young woman te When I went into the bookstore, I wasn't originally looking for this particular book but I was looking for a book by this author (they didn't have the book I wanted)I was pleasantly surprised by the parts of this book that I liked. As usual, I had fun with the romance aspects but I really liked the different relationships that were written, almost in a criticizing manner. The relationship between a distant father and his estranged (and one missing) sons, the relationship between a young woman teacher and her male students, the relationship between friends by default, the relationship between a dying mother and her family and the budding relationship between a lonely college dropout and a lonely high school student.

  14. 5 out of 5

    caitlin e.

    While I loved Eireann Corrigan's poetry as an adolescent, I can't say I loved this book. I think the problem with writing a young adult fiction novel with a teenaged male protagonist is that you are always going to draw parallels with Holden, and this one definitely did. Ad nauseum. It's difficult for a woman to write for a teenaged boy. It's hard to get it right without being horny-all-the-time, and I think Eireann wrote a wussy character who cried a lot and admitted it a lot. There needed to be While I loved Eireann Corrigan's poetry as an adolescent, I can't say I loved this book. I think the problem with writing a young adult fiction novel with a teenaged male protagonist is that you are always going to draw parallels with Holden, and this one definitely did. Ad nauseum. It's difficult for a woman to write for a teenaged boy. It's hard to get it right without being horny-all-the-time, and I think Eireann wrote a wussy character who cried a lot and admitted it a lot. There needed to be a sense of machismo that was lacking. I also was disinterested in the lapse of the ghost plotline.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Oram

    This book has such a strong voice. I love it when that happens. The main character was so entertaining and I just loved being inside his head. That's really what made me enjoy this book so much. The concept of the story promised to be intriguing but the actual plot didn't quite live up to what I thought it would be. Over all it dragged just a little but I was still never bored because I was usually laughing at something the main character was thinking. I also enjoyed the romance in this book. It This book has such a strong voice. I love it when that happens. The main character was so entertaining and I just loved being inside his head. That's really what made me enjoy this book so much. The concept of the story promised to be intriguing but the actual plot didn't quite live up to what I thought it would be. Over all it dragged just a little but I was still never bored because I was usually laughing at something the main character was thinking. I also enjoyed the romance in this book. It was well done and fun to watch even if I wasn't the biggest fan of the girl.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Zharia

    The book "Ordinary Ghosts" is based on a boy named Emil. In the story Emil tries to cope with the death of his mother and the absence of his brother. After reading I had came to the conclusion that I disliked this book. I feel as though it should have been more exciting. Some parts left me wanting more or it lacked information for me to fully understand what was going on. I suggest this book to people that like a challenge as to finding out the ending of the book on their own verses the people The book "Ordinary Ghosts" is based on a boy named Emil. In the story Emil tries to cope with the death of his mother and the absence of his brother. After reading I had came to the conclusion that I disliked this book. I feel as though it should have been more exciting. Some parts left me wanting more or it lacked information for me to fully understand what was going on. I suggest this book to people that like a challenge as to finding out the ending of the book on their own verses the people that will already know the ending after reading a few chapters.

  17. 5 out of 5

    C

    This book wasn't particularly great but wasn't terrible. At times the teen protagonist's voice is engaging and interesting, but other times he gets stuck on a syntactic skip (i.e. "ricockulous"--and somewhere Beavis and Butthead giggle) and repeats the word as often as possible in as many variations as possible until the reader (i.e. me) wants to set herself on fire. If he could manage to jump the scratch more often, the voice would take on a little more authenticity. This book wasn't particularly great but wasn't terrible. At times the teen protagonist's voice is engaging and interesting, but other times he gets stuck on a syntactic skip (i.e. "ricockulous"--and somewhere Beavis and Butthead giggle) and repeats the word as often as possible in as many variations as possible until the reader (i.e. me) wants to set herself on fire. If he could manage to jump the scratch more often, the voice would take on a little more authenticity.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Debrarian

    Absorbing tale of a modern Holden Caulfield whose mother recently died of cancer, whose brother helped her get the pills for the overdose and has since disappeared, whose father is cold and distant, and who sneaks onto the gracious prep school campus at night to explore buildings with a master key, plan a prank, and hang out with the girl who, mysteriously, works late at night in the pottery studio.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    Emil Simon searches for meaning and mooring following his mother's death from cancer and his older, more popular brother's disappearance shortly afterwards. Using the master key to his all boys prep school that his brother left him, Emil takes advantage of his father's 9 day business trip to prowl the campus late at night. It's there that he meets his art teacher's daughter who has secrets of her own. Emil Simon searches for meaning and mooring following his mother's death from cancer and his older, more popular brother's disappearance shortly afterwards. Using the master key to his all boys prep school that his brother left him, Emil takes advantage of his father's 9 day business trip to prowl the campus late at night. It's there that he meets his art teacher's daughter who has secrets of her own.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Martha Schwalbe

    Page 280, "I don't know who comes out as the favorite -- the kid who's willing to collect the pills or the one who would never let you take them." Having never been confronted by this thought it's difficult to answer but it's a compelling question and really at the heart of the book. It takes a while to get into the story but for me it was well worth. I suggest putting it into the hands of a competent reader to find out how it reaches out to the young adult group. Page 280, "I don't know who comes out as the favorite -- the kid who's willing to collect the pills or the one who would never let you take them." Having never been confronted by this thought it's difficult to answer but it's a compelling question and really at the heart of the book. It takes a while to get into the story but for me it was well worth. I suggest putting it into the hands of a competent reader to find out how it reaches out to the young adult group.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Caitlín (Ink Mage)

    I have a hard time deciding between three stars and two stars for some books ("it was ok" seems more like it should be in the middle to me), and this was one of them. It wasn't great, the story kind of wandered around, like the author couldn't decide what kind of book she wanted it to be. And maybe it was just me, but the end didn't really make sense. I have a hard time deciding between three stars and two stars for some books ("it was ok" seems more like it should be in the middle to me), and this was one of them. It wasn't great, the story kind of wandered around, like the author couldn't decide what kind of book she wanted it to be. And maybe it was just me, but the end didn't really make sense.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Why this book isn't getting equal amount of raves as say that Twilight crap is beyond me. This is a fantastic book. One of the few books with a male protagonist I've read recently. It's heartbreakingly good. Just read it. Why this book isn't getting equal amount of raves as say that Twilight crap is beyond me. This is a fantastic book. One of the few books with a male protagonist I've read recently. It's heartbreakingly good. Just read it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Trinity Earle

    It was a very good book but I found it had no real story climax. The book we kind of just there. It didn't get u to the part where your frantically turning pages wanted 2 know what's next. But the end did have a nice surprising twist. It was a very good book but I found it had no real story climax. The book we kind of just there. It didn't get u to the part where your frantically turning pages wanted 2 know what's next. But the end did have a nice surprising twist.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    This book was well written, but I got bored reading it. This is only because I'm not a person who really likes reflective, sad books. I only read it because my friend gave it to me to read. This book would be perfect for anyone who likes this genre. This book was well written, but I got bored reading it. This is only because I'm not a person who really likes reflective, sad books. I only read it because my friend gave it to me to read. This book would be perfect for anyone who likes this genre.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Is it terrible that I didn't finish this book? I'm a self-conscious reader - always have been. Perhaps this is why I love Dave Eggers so - a self-conscious writer. Is it terrible that I didn't finish this book? I'm a self-conscious reader - always have been. Perhaps this is why I love Dave Eggers so - a self-conscious writer.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jasminn

    Wasfed $20 on this book.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kathy Quimby

    Would go well with LOOKING FOR ALASKA and THE SECRET LIFE OF FRANKIE LANDAU BANKS, as a complicated school & life story.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    Much better than I thought it would be.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rowan Creech

    A good book that takes you for a ringside view of the teenage angst of a boy as he sorts through the grief at the death of his mother and the dynamics that take place between father and son and an estranged brother. Truly empathetic and eye opening.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Alex R

    After I was ordered to check out a book from the library because I forgot to bring one to class, I ended up picking up this book, thinking the cover looked interesting enough. Well, I ended up really liking this book. The author, to me, really captured what teenagers think and do. Emil is a student at Caramoor Academy and he has problems like any other teenager. Except his problems run deeper than most. His father is strict and a drunkard, mostly because he is still dealing with losing Emil's mot After I was ordered to check out a book from the library because I forgot to bring one to class, I ended up picking up this book, thinking the cover looked interesting enough. Well, I ended up really liking this book. The author, to me, really captured what teenagers think and do. Emil is a student at Caramoor Academy and he has problems like any other teenager. Except his problems run deeper than most. His father is strict and a drunkard, mostly because he is still dealing with losing Emil's mother to cancer. Emil's brother, who was a legend at Caramoor, has recently disappeared and his father is not doing much to find him. Emil also has failing grades that he needs to keep hidden from his father. After Emil's father leaves for some work in Atlanta, Emil decides to explore and stay at Caramoor Academy with the skeleton key his brother left him. While there, though, he discovers that the art teacher's hot daughter, Jade, is there every night. As he tries to find out more about Caramoor Academy, he also tries to learn more about Jade. My favorite parts about this book were Emil's thoughts and how he acts around Jade. I also loved Emil's best friend, Soma. He is such a random and interesting person. I would reccommend this book to anyone who loves a good teenage book that is actually believable.

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