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The Ghosts We Keep

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for The Ghosts We Keep

  1. 4 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    I knew I'd love this book before I even started 😭💛 It's a story of grief and secrets, of loneliness and heartache, and it really hits hard. The portrayal of grief is raw and messy, which I appreciated. I feel like often books don't show the side of mental illness/trauma where people implode, where wounds are given and received, where people just HURT. This captures a lot. Liam's brother dies in a random hit and run, and Liam's life just falls apart. The story is both about the grief of losing th I knew I'd love this book before I even started 😭💛 It's a story of grief and secrets, of loneliness and heartache, and it really hits hard. The portrayal of grief is raw and messy, which I appreciated. I feel like often books don't show the side of mental illness/trauma where people implode, where wounds are given and received, where people just HURT. This captures a lot. Liam's brother dies in a random hit and run, and Liam's life just falls apart. The story is both about the grief of losing their brother AND the heartache of friendship breakups. Also their friends were awful?! I was so so mad at both the entire time. Liam finds a little solace in trying to connect with Marcus, his brother's best friend, and some really heartbreaking secrets are revealed. The story makes you ache. I am super soft, but every time Liam lashed out, I was totally on their side. I think their parents should have apologised honestly, and they so did not give Liam enough grace as they grieved. The parents weren't malicious, I just didn't like them. Liam's loneliness bled off the page and I felt for them a lot. There's plenty of queer rep!! Liam is nonbinary (he/them pronouns) and Joel/Vanessa are bisexual (Joel is also a trans boy and Vietnamese) Plus other queer characters too. And it talks about the pain of misgendering, also of coming out (or choosing not to come out) and of just figuring yourself out. It's not easy. Also side note: I actually appreciated SO MUCH that Liam didn't have a romantic subplot, not with all the grief they were managing. A raw and aching book, I absolutely loved reading it today.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Reading_ Tam_ Ishly

    *2021 Favourite* The whole story is a process of grieving. We have lost Ethan suddenly and we are dealing with the loss every single day. Liam, Ethan's younger brother, is suffering and lost as he feels his parents do not understand him and his best friends are abandoning him. He's a loner yet he wants to be with someone he can trust and share the pain. But things seem to go wrong the harder he tries. There are secrets to discover, to evolve with the pain, an understanding he has to come in terms wi *2021 Favourite* The whole story is a process of grieving. We have lost Ethan suddenly and we are dealing with the loss every single day. Liam, Ethan's younger brother, is suffering and lost as he feels his parents do not understand him and his best friends are abandoning him. He's a loner yet he wants to be with someone he can trust and share the pain. But things seem to go wrong the harder he tries. There are secrets to discover, to evolve with the pain, an understanding he has to come in terms with. There are some parts of self-harm, anxiety and episodes of panic attack which I feel might be triggering for some. There are memories, precious and limited. Limited. That's just so sad. I was crying the whole time reading this book. Everything has been captured so well in the way it was written. The story is so realistic and it explores in depth the grief and sorrow of the different people who mattered in the life of someone gone recently. The confusion, the trauma, the void, the reality when everything seems so unreal. I do not blame the friends for behaving the way they did because it's just not possible to drag others with us and to make them our shadows until the end. But yes, they could have been better. And what can I talk about Marcus. You deserve all the love. I appreciate how the parents played their parts. I hope, I really do hope we have parents like them. They are no way perfect and they didn't do everything the best or knew what to do. They were honest. They were being mature and responsible. We all deserve parents like them. It's not easy for anyone. But as is said, it's a slow learning process. Let's be there for each other during such difficult times. This book just embraced me whole. Thank you, author. This book means a lot. Emily Dickinson? I love her poems too.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nenia ✨ I yeet my books back and forth ✨ Campbell

    Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest This was a really painful read and not always for the reasons I thought it would be. I knew about Mason Deaver from their debut novel, I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST, which I'm reading right now and quite enjoying. I liked this book, too, but not as much-- and that's partially because Liam, the protagonist, is a difficult character to like. Grief manifests in different ways, and for them, it's withdrawing away from friends and family and an int Instagram || Twitter || Facebook || Amazon || Pinterest This was a really painful read and not always for the reasons I thought it would be. I knew about Mason Deaver from their debut novel, I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST, which I'm reading right now and quite enjoying. I liked this book, too, but not as much-- and that's partially because Liam, the protagonist, is a difficult character to like. Grief manifests in different ways, and for them, it's withdrawing away from friends and family and an intense anger that stems from helplessness. Which is totally understandable but not always easy to read. Told in "before" and "after" chapters, we get to know Liam's late brother, Ethan, who seemed like a golden boy/star athlete/popular, but had problems of his own. Through Liam's eyes, we get to know more about him (Ethan) and his best friend Marcus, as Liam also struggles to deal with the fact that their two best friends don't really seem to want to do anything with them anymore now that they (Vanessa and Joel) are dating and they (Liam) are depressed. Apart from that, there really isn't a "plot": character development drives the story forward as Liam attempts to get closure and navigate their grief. So there were a couple things I loved about this book. In some ways, it reminded me a lot of the book MY HEARTBEAT by Garret Freyman-Weyr, one of the first LGBT+ books I ever read as a teen (and I had the edition with the Keith Haring cover, too), only with a nonbinary protagonist instead of a female protagonist. This book is sadder, though, and it isn't really a love story like MY HEARTBEAT was, but that, to me, meant the focus was more on the message of the story here, which may have suited THE GHOSTS WE KEEP better. I also liked Liam's mom and dad a lot. The mom and dad in I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST are awful, so it was nice to see a book about a nonbinary kid with nice parents. And Marcus-- oh my God, the poor boy broke my heart about a thousand times over. I actually related to him a lot more than I did Liam, to the point where I found myself wishing that he was the narrator, but I think I might have ended up a total mess if he was, so maybe that's a blessing. I could see this book getting mixed reviews when it comes out because Liam does lash out at everyone (sometimes when they have a right to, but sometimes in ways that seem unprovoked). The way they treated Marcus, in particularly, was pretty awful, and left me feeling kind of chilled, although I felt like their big confrontation with Vanessa and Joel was totally warranted. I guess this book is sort of a study on grief and the different forms it takes and how it informs and tests our relationships. There's also an "it's okay not to be okay" message I've been noticing more in books about YA mental health books. I liked THE GHOSTS WE KEEP but I didn't love it, basically, but it's definitely worth a read! Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review! 3 stars

  4. 4 out of 5

    katie ❀

    THIS SOUNDS PAINFUL BUT I AM READY FOR THIS

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marieke du Pré

    Grief is a complicated, ugly, messy thing. And it makes you do complicated, ugly messy things. 
How do we cope when someone we love dies? More specifically, how does a teen cope when their brother suddenly dies? 

When I requested the ARC of The Ghosts We Keep, I didn’t realize that this story would hit so close to home. Because right now, I have two grieving teens. One cries, hugs, and talks about his feelings. The other one doesn’t show emotions at all and keeps us at a distance. I see his Grief is a complicated, ugly, messy thing. And it makes you do complicated, ugly messy things. 
How do we cope when someone we love dies? More specifically, how does a teen cope when their brother suddenly dies? 

When I requested the ARC of The Ghosts We Keep, I didn’t realize that this story would hit so close to home. Because right now, I have two grieving teens. One cries, hugs, and talks about his feelings. The other one doesn’t show emotions at all and keeps us at a distance. I see his pain at night when he curls up on the couch, almost in a fetal position, surrounded by lots of pillows, building a wall, hugging them to find comfort. So, how does a teen cope? Well, my teens do it in very different ways, and I believe we all do.

Liam and their brother Ethan are like a lot of siblings. They quarrel and, at the same time, support each other through thick and thin. Liam has two close friends: Vanessa and Joel, but Liam feels left out when they fall in love with each other. Liam wants that feeling too and has been crushing on Ethan’s best friend Marcus for a long time. And then Ethan dies. This story is told in multiple timelines, before and after Ethan’s death.

As I said, we all cope with grief differently. After Ethan dies, Liam tries to pick up their life, and at the same time, struggles so much with their pain. They want to be normal again, the grief to slip away, but it doesn’t.

Don’t expect a love story because it isn’t. This is a story about hurt, desperation, and sadness. Liam isn’t always the nicest person, and I understand why. Grief can hurt so much and makes us do or say ugly things sometimes. There’s a scene in this book, and I could picture my own sons in it, both reacting as Liam did, full of disbelief. Liam made remarks and walked away. One of my sons would be screaming and crying and screaming more. The other one would stay quiet while protecting his brother’s things with his life.

The Ghosts We Keep starts as an easy read. My feelings about the ‘easy’ part changed when I was in bed, closed my e-reader, and realized that I was reading about a grieving teen and had two at home myself. That made me want to grab my e-reader again and read on and on. It also made me reflect on myself, and on the way my kids are coping right now.

This book is for everyone who has been grieving once, is still grieving, or has people in their surroundings who are grieving. Mason Deaver has done an excellent job by showing us Liam’s struggles. It’s raw and angry, even ugly at times, but also reflective. During the story, Liam grows as a person, and they find ways to deal with their pain and the pain of the ones surrounding them.

When I started writing this review, it was never my intention to make it this personal. But sometimes that’s what happens when I’m reflecting on a book. This one just ticked all the right boxes for me at the right time. 

There’s one tiny thing I’d like to point out, though, a personal preference, and I know there’ll be a lot of readers who won’t agree with me. I think this story would have been even more powerful if it had been written in present tense instead of past tense. Present tense (and first-person!) makes me feel like I’m part of the story instead of reading it. I doubted about the rating, and in the end I decided to round 4.5 stars up to 5.

I received an ARC from Scholastic (Push) and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cody Roecker

    I can't write a coherent review because I'm too busy wiping tears from my face but do know this: I will cherish this book forever and always. This is a special novel about grief, and I felt it so hard. It means so much to me, and it's going to mean so much to you. Eventually I'll write a blurb for this, but I'm gonna just steep in my emotions for now I can't write a coherent review because I'm too busy wiping tears from my face but do know this: I will cherish this book forever and always. This is a special novel about grief, and I felt it so hard. It means so much to me, and it's going to mean so much to you. Eventually I'll write a blurb for this, but I'm gonna just steep in my emotions for now

  7. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    4.5 stars. For a poignant look at grief and moving on, and learning how easy it is to miss things that are right in front of us, pick up Mason Deaver's newest YA novel, The Ghosts We Keep . The unthinkable happens for Liam when their older brother Ethan is killed in an accident. Like any pair of high school-aged brothers, their relationship had its ups and downs, with Liam often feeling as if their parents loved Ethan more because he was athletic and had a girlfriend, while Liam is non-binary a 4.5 stars. For a poignant look at grief and moving on, and learning how easy it is to miss things that are right in front of us, pick up Mason Deaver's newest YA novel, The Ghosts We Keep . The unthinkable happens for Liam when their older brother Ethan is killed in an accident. Like any pair of high school-aged brothers, their relationship had its ups and downs, with Liam often feeling as if their parents loved Ethan more because he was athletic and had a girlfriend, while Liam is non-binary and more into music. With Liam and their parents each trying to deal with their grief in the best way they can, Liam is struggling. They feel like a third wheel because their two best friends, Joel and Vanessa, are dating now, so Liam keeps pushing them away even though they try to see if they can help. Liam is finding it harder and harder to concentrate in school and be understanding of what their parents are going through, and they feel their mental health deteriorating. Liam seeks out the only other person they think might understand—Marcus, who had been Ethan’s best friend since childhood. While Marcus and Liam are grieving differently, each are dealing with the loss of someone important to them and neither knows how to communicate the gravity of that loss. But little by little, Liam begins to understand that there was so much Ethan was keeping secret, so much that Liam wish they knew. The Ghosts We Keep really was such a beautiful, emotional story on so many levels. Nothing that happened was surprising but I love the way Deaver lets the story unfold. (I loved their first book, I Wish You All the Best , and they’ve said this was a more personal book for them.) The loss of someone we love can be devastating, especially when it happens suddenly. This book looks at grief from many different angles and shows that there’s no perfect way to grieve, but it’s easier when you let someone in. Storygram Tours and I Read YA provided me with a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available!! Check out my list of the best books I read in 2020 at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2021/01/the-best-books-i-read-in-2020.html. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com. Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Katie B

    I enjoyed how this book was more character driven rather than relying on a fast moving plot. On a surface level you could say not much happens in the story but it really is such a worthwhile read because it incorporates two important subjects. As an added bonus it explores how friendships can evolve over time. Liam Cooper's older brother, Ethan, was killed in a hit and run accident. Losing someone is hard enough but on top of that relationships with Liam's two best friends are on shaky ground. T I enjoyed how this book was more character driven rather than relying on a fast moving plot. On a surface level you could say not much happens in the story but it really is such a worthwhile read because it incorporates two important subjects. As an added bonus it explores how friendships can evolve over time. Liam Cooper's older brother, Ethan, was killed in a hit and run accident. Losing someone is hard enough but on top of that relationships with Liam's two best friends are on shaky ground. The story alternates between the present day with Liam grieving and the past in which you see pivotal moments leading up to Ethan's death. Liam is a nonbinary character and it's something the author gradually works into the story. Along with witnessing a family grieving the loss of Ethan and complex friendships, it was a fascinating and heartbreaking read. Each reader has the potential to take away something different from the story as certain parts might resonate more than others. Perhaps it is because I'm old enough to be Liam's mother, but I appreciated the story didn't only focus on the loss of a brother but went into how the death affected the parents and Ethan's best friend. Highly recommend reading this book if you enjoy YA fiction and/or want to support diverse reads. I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher. All thoughts expressed are my honest opinion.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mason Deaver

    I had the idea that Goodreads would be a good place to leave trigger warnings for readers. Trigger Warnings are available for all of my books on my website, but not everyone knows to check there, so I wanted to share them here. They're marked as spoilers just in case! Content Warnings For The Ghosts We Keep (view spoiler)[Off Page Death of a Sibling Detailed Description of the Deceased's Body Discussions of Gender Dysphoria Brief Mentions of Transphobia Suicide Ideation and Self Harm Beginning on P I had the idea that Goodreads would be a good place to leave trigger warnings for readers. Trigger Warnings are available for all of my books on my website, but not everyone knows to check there, so I wanted to share them here. They're marked as spoilers just in case! Content Warnings For The Ghosts We Keep (view spoiler)[Off Page Death of a Sibling Detailed Description of the Deceased's Body Discussions of Gender Dysphoria Brief Mentions of Transphobia Suicide Ideation and Self Harm Beginning on Page 258 and concluding on Page 265 in the Finished and Advanced Copies of the Book (hide spoiler)] If you notice any content or trigger warnings missing from this list please feel free to email me at [email protected]

  10. 5 out of 5

    micah ➳ canonicallychaotic

    fuck

  11. 4 out of 5

    booksandzoe

    WOW. I loved this book❤️ This book is very reminiscent to History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera in terms of queerness, format, and themes of grief, loss, and love, but I wouldn't draw any connections beyond that. Going into the novel I was expecting a toxic romance between two who have lost somebody they loved, but that wasn't at all what this was. And thank god for that, because what we got was so much better. The Ghosts We Keep follows a nonbinary teen who just lost his brother to a car acc WOW. I loved this book❤️ This book is very reminiscent to History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera in terms of queerness, format, and themes of grief, loss, and love, but I wouldn't draw any connections beyond that. Going into the novel I was expecting a toxic romance between two who have lost somebody they loved, but that wasn't at all what this was. And thank god for that, because what we got was so much better. The Ghosts We Keep follows a nonbinary teen who just lost his brother to a car accident. Liam has to deal with the loss of their brother, the distance of their parents, and the toxicity of their friend trio; when the load is just too much to carry alone, they forge a connection with his deceased brother's best friend. The two of them form a relationship despite having almost nothing in common, and help each other heal. This isn't a spoiler since the plot summary does not allude to it whatsoever: there is no romance in this book between the main character and his brother's best friend. If that's what you're looking for, you won't find it here, but you'll still find a beautiful love story in this book. I loved how raw and personal this book was. The author included a note in the beginning of the book as to how this is a personal story to them, and the authenticity of their experience really shines through onto the pages. This book will pick and scratch at your heart, but will also bandage it up nice and neatly through the beautiful moments this story also manages to capture. This book is mainly a sad story, but there is plenty to smile at hidden within as well. The entire cast of this book is queer! Which I absolutely loved! But at the same time, queerness isn't the main storyline. Theres definitely a need and a place for books following characters who are discovering their queer identities, but this book isn't one of them, and I love it all the more for that. Queer people need books about queer people that aren't about identity discovery too! Despite this, the book is still unapologetically queer. It's very similar to Perfect on Paper in the way that while the characters aren't on a constant journey of self discovery, their queerness is intrinsically wrapped into every aspect of their identity, just like a real world queer person. The main character is nonbinary, and uses they/he pronouns, which I loved because I'd never seen that in a book before! My only issues with this book is that I wish it was longer. I feel like the relationship between Liam and Marcus could've been developed a LOT further. The current length of the book just doesn't scratch that itch I have for a fully fleshed out story with painstaking detail and lengthy character development. I think this book still functions well at it's current length, but I think it had more potential. All in all I loved this read!! I read it all in one sitting, completely unable to put it down because I loved the characters so much, and I never wanted it to end :)

  12. 5 out of 5

    daphnereads

    I’m so incredibly thankful that I was able to read this early. I did not expect to love The Ghosts We Keep as much as I did, but this novel was absolutely brilliant and I’m gonna be thinking about Liam’s story for a very long time. The Ghosts We Keep follows Liam Cooper who is trying to navigate life after the death of his brother. After Ethan dies, Liam is hit hard, they just lost one of the people he loved the most, but it’s also affecting other relationships in they’re life. His friends are le I’m so incredibly thankful that I was able to read this early. I did not expect to love The Ghosts We Keep as much as I did, but this novel was absolutely brilliant and I’m gonna be thinking about Liam’s story for a very long time. The Ghosts We Keep follows Liam Cooper who is trying to navigate life after the death of his brother. After Ethan dies, Liam is hit hard, they just lost one of the people he loved the most, but it’s also affecting other relationships in they’re life. His friends are leaving him behind, and they never talk to their parents anymore. Liam starts spending time with Ethan’s best friend, and they finally find someone who understands what they’re going through. But the road ahead for Liam may get worse before it gets better. I don’t think I’ve ever related more to a character than I did Liam. When things with his friends were crumbling, I saw so much of myself in them. He was constantly being left behind and always feeling like the second choice, and I went through a lot of that stuff growing up. People forget that friendships are just as important as any other relationship, especially in high school, so seeing complications between Liam and their friends was refreshing to see. Liam was an extremely complex and layered character, following them and being able to understand him created an amazing reading experience. Loss is the main topic of this novel, and Mason Deaver handled it so well. Grief manifests in different ways for different people, and Liam did become an unlikeable person after Ethan’s death, but his experience was so authentic it made my heart ache. I could feel every bit of Liam’s pain, I could see the downward spiral he was going down, and honestly it made me love them so much more. Everything about this novel resonated with me in a way that I’ve never felt before. It took me a while to write this review because I couldn’t find the words to describe just how much I adored this story, and I didn’t know how to explain what made me love it so much. But I hope everyone gets a copy of this novel because I will never stop talking about how amazing it is.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kate (GirlReading)

    my heart hurts so much but like, in a good way, you know? mason deaver has truly done it again and honestly, I'm just so incredibly exited about them as an author. their stories and characters are so authentic and full to the brim heart. just like with i wish you all the best, I couldn't put this beautiful book down. I loved it and am already anxiously awaiting mason's next release. TW: self harm, suicidal ideation, misgendering, depression my heart hurts so much but like, in a good way, you know? mason deaver has truly done it again and honestly, I'm just so incredibly exited about them as an author. their stories and characters are so authentic and full to the brim heart. just like with i wish you all the best, I couldn't put this beautiful book down. I loved it and am already anxiously awaiting mason's next release. TW: self harm, suicidal ideation, misgendering, depression

  14. 4 out of 5

    birdie

    no i wasn’t crying on the bus ha ha ha wdym?? the ghosts we keep is a novel that’s really close to the author, mason deaver, something you can definitely tell while reading it. i think i was about two chapters in when i started crying, and the. towards the ending i shed a few tears as well. i loved reading about a protagonist who uses he/they pronouns, even though it is far from the main focus of this book. liam’s story is one of navigating grief, and it was done really really well. the thing is, w no i wasn’t crying on the bus ha ha ha wdym?? the ghosts we keep is a novel that’s really close to the author, mason deaver, something you can definitely tell while reading it. i think i was about two chapters in when i started crying, and the. towards the ending i shed a few tears as well. i loved reading about a protagonist who uses he/they pronouns, even though it is far from the main focus of this book. liam’s story is one of navigating grief, and it was done really really well. the thing is, while i enjoyed this book and its representation + the portrayal of grief, i feel like it lost its grip on me for 1/2 of the time. it started off strong and the ending was great, but everything in between was not my thing i guess. the dialogue also just didn’t click with me, which was quite the struggle. what i did really appreciate is that this story doesn’t have a romance for liam!! it would’ve been unnecessary and at some point i was scared there was gonna be one, but luckily not. liam’s story is powerful like it is. i adored the author’s note and how mason deaver said they told this story like they wanted to tell it! yes you go!! either way, this was definitely not what i expected it to be but still a recommendation! blog | bookstagram | twitter | more

  15. 4 out of 5

    may ✨

    4,5/5 (review contains brief talk of suicide ideation & death) I’m always a bit wary of saying that a book will save lives, because reading can open your mind to new things and perspectives and maybe introduce solutions you wouldn’t have thought of, but ultimately you’re the one who decides what happens in your life and the power of doing anything really belongs to you. So I wouldn’t say that this novel will save lives. But I thoroughly loved how everything was talked about. From the main characte 4,5/5 (review contains brief talk of suicide ideation & death) I’m always a bit wary of saying that a book will save lives, because reading can open your mind to new things and perspectives and maybe introduce solutions you wouldn’t have thought of, but ultimately you’re the one who decides what happens in your life and the power of doing anything really belongs to you. So I wouldn’t say that this novel will save lives. But I thoroughly loved how everything was talked about. From the main character being non-binary (and the way they identified and connected with the world) to the talk about grief and mental health. It’s a book I would’ve loved to read when I was a teenager and struggling with things. I don’t know how to review this without getting personal, but that’s one thing about this book. It feels so personal and relating to the characters really felt like someone went inside my head and started poking at memories, pleasant or not so pleasant. But maybe, memories that needed poking? What I can say is that I’ve been struggling all my life with the idea of death inside my own family, whether it’d be my own and the pain it would cause my parents and sibling. Or any of them dying. I also used to think a lot about dying when I was a young teenager, but though things are still hard sometimes, I’m glad I stayed. This is a quite short novel but it depicts complex situations and emotions. I loved that it throws the reader inside this family that has lost a member and is struggling with this pain, and at the same time makes you connect with a character who is confused and feels like they don’t belong. It’s brilliantly executed in my opinion. A thing I loved so much and that made me love the book from the first chapters is the nb representation. This is so personal, again, but this specific rep worked so well for me. I always enjoy reading about non-binary characters, but sometimes their thoughts about their gender and the way they make it connect with the outside world really feels validating because it’s so close to my own thoughts about gender. I loved that for Liam, it was such an intimate and private thing shared with people they chose. The use of the correct pronouns by specific people was so satisfying!! Also loved to see a young adult novel with creative characters who are into art and wish to make a career out of it but also question important things like… are they gonna be able to earn a living? Like, as someone who’s worked a creative job. I’ve read too many books (especially YA) with characters doing music and somehow always being successful. I like a book that doesn’t romanticize (or at least, not as much) working in artistic fields by pretending that it’s easy if you are passionate enough, or on the contrary, romanticize being a struggling artist. A book that normalizes the idea that not being able to make money with your art doesn’t mean that you’re not talented or that people don’t want to see or hear your things. And that questioning whether you will be able to pay your bills if you decide to work in music (or really any other artistic field) is a totally valid and mature thought and doesn’t make you any less of an artist. Apart from all that, I enjoyed the quick dialogue in many scenes. This really is a character-driven book, doesn’t have a big plot or anything. It’s really about Liam’s journey. The length was just the right one for me. I think the reason I loved this so much is because I really connected with the main character, though the story was maybe missing a few things to make it a favorite for me, hence the 4 stars. A gorgeous book nonetheless!!

  16. 5 out of 5

    eli

    CHECK OUT THE TW BEFORE PICKING THIS UP

  17. 4 out of 5

    Iris

    HELLO MASON DEAVER IS PUBLISHING ANOTHER BOOK AND IF THIS ONE IS ANYTHING LIKE I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST Y'ALL NEED TO GO ADD IT TO YOUR TBRS RIGHT NOW (and if you haven't already, add I Wish You All the Best while you're at it!!) This sounds (1) like it's going to have a nonbinary mc again(!!), (2) very sad, and (3) basically guaranteed to be amazing if it's even half as good as their debut HELLO MASON DEAVER IS PUBLISHING ANOTHER BOOK AND IF THIS ONE IS ANYTHING LIKE I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST Y'ALL NEED TO GO ADD IT TO YOUR TBRS RIGHT NOW (and if you haven't already, add I Wish You All the Best while you're at it!!) This sounds (1) like it's going to have a nonbinary mc again(!!), (2) very sad, and (3) basically guaranteed to be amazing if it's even half as good as their debut

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hsinju

    I’m so bummed that I didn’t really enjoy this book. The characters are kind of awful and they didn’t get enough retaliation. All in all, I think there is too much negative energy for me to like The Ghosts We Keep, but I do appreciate the reps. The music aspect is kind of odd. I doubt anyone who played Tchaikovsky can only remember Beethoven’s “Für Elise.” I also find the dialogues weirdly excessive and that the tones were told rather than shown (these may be ARC issues though). There is also some I’m so bummed that I didn’t really enjoy this book. The characters are kind of awful and they didn’t get enough retaliation. All in all, I think there is too much negative energy for me to like The Ghosts We Keep, but I do appreciate the reps. The music aspect is kind of odd. I doubt anyone who played Tchaikovsky can only remember Beethoven’s “Für Elise.” I also find the dialogues weirdly excessive and that the tones were told rather than shown (these may be ARC issues though). There is also something off about the time, because we would get a scene on a specific day and then Liam would start talking about something that happened weeks or years later. Theme Analysis The main theme of The Ghosts We Keep is grief, and here I analyze other elements of the story that has grief threaded within. The book opened with Liam working at a froyo shop right after Ethan’s death, so the aspect of food immediately came to my attention. As the story develops, we get some scenes from right after the funeral where family friends keep sending food as condolences to the Coopers, who are now a family of three, and they end up having so much food they need to give some to Liam’s Nana. This is food as something meant for comfort, and yet—like all those empty but well-meaning “how are you feeling” greetings—a burden when excessive. But there is also no doubt how food is a love language, too, especially when Liam and their father go to diner as their alone time later in the book. Then there is music. Liam creates music. He plays the piano and writes songs and so does his best friend Vanessa. It is something they shared. But very early in the story, we also learned that Liam was wearing a Dear Evan Hansen T-shirt when they found their brother’s body. It is a bond Liam shared with Ethan. And the fact that this story dealt with death and some misguided actions of angry, sad, and frustrated teens, it mirrors a lot of the main idea of the musical Dear Evan Hansen, where Evan, who struggles with social anxiety, becomes a celebrity when he decides to fake a friendship with the dead boy Connor who he doesn’t really know, and everything blows up from there. Both the book and the musical share the theme of grief and messy teens doing what they think are right. Also, both Evan and Liam relearn familial love through the process of hurting, being hurt, and becoming better people. Review Even if you’d never been through the teenage rebellion phase, you must know someone who had. In Deaver’s The Ghosts We Keep, we have a full cast of queer high schoolers who aren’t happy and nice. They are teens with all the messiness of trying to understand themselves, each other, and the world. Liam “Lee” Cooper (16, nonbinary, gay, he/him/they/them) lost their brother Ethan, who was the star baseball player of the high school, to a car accident. Their parents are dealing with the loss of a son, their best friends Vanessa (bi, Black?) and Joel (bi, trans, Vietnamese) are dating, and Liam feels left out all the time, which leads them to hang out with Ethan’s best friend and teammate Marcus. But Liam never expects to learn more about his brother, himself, and everyone around him. The title of the book is The Ghosts We Keep. There are many ghosts in the story, none of them in the paranormal sense. The ghost of Ethan’s legacy, Marcus’ secret, Liam’s undiagnosed depression, etc. A lot of things are going on internally for Liam, but they don’t really understand them. Liam lashes out at his parents and friends’ and brother’s friend, but we get that his self-defense mechanism when feeling hurt is to hurt others instead. Almost all characters are struggling with Ethan’s death, the Coopers, Marcus, and peripherally, Vanessa and Joel. They don’t always make the best decisions when dealing with emotions and we feel the intensity of their struggles. There is no romance involving Liam in The Ghosts We Keep, but there are other romances in the story. As someone who uses both she/her and they/them pronouns (and don’t really mind any other pronouns), it is wonderful to see Liam using both he/him and they/them pronouns! I also appreciate that almost all the secondary characters (sans the parents) are queer, with at least one transguy, two bi teens, and one gay guy on top of Liam being gay and enby. The story is set in a town in North Carolina and there are religious ceremonies, with little to no homophobia (there is some unintentional misgendering though), so that was refreshing to see as well. Queer teens in books are almost never allowed to err, but Deaver’s The Ghosts We Keep is messy and heavy and not pretty, and I like the candid representations of these high school students who are far from perfect. Despite the restless and sad atmosphere of the book, it ends on a hopeful note of learning how to move on while keeping the memory of the deceased. content warnings: grief, death of sibling, misgendering, suicidal thoughts, self harm, PTSD, depression, ageism I received an e-ARC from PUSH Scholastic via Edelweiss and Hear Our Voices Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Adri

    CWs: child/sibling death; grief; references to deadly car accident; PTSD, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks; brief mention of vomit; self harm and suicide ideation; some instances of misgendering Mason Deaver has truly outdone themself in this nuanced exploration about how grief defines and changes us. While The Ghosts We Keep is certainly a heavy, harrowing, and possibly triggering story for some readers, I think it's also very much a necessary story that puts the reader on a path toward CWs: child/sibling death; grief; references to deadly car accident; PTSD, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks; brief mention of vomit; self harm and suicide ideation; some instances of misgendering Mason Deaver has truly outdone themself in this nuanced exploration about how grief defines and changes us. While The Ghosts We Keep is certainly a heavy, harrowing, and possibly triggering story for some readers, I think it's also very much a necessary story that puts the reader on a path towards catharsis. So often in fiction—and in life—death can be romanticized as it gets processed, and that's especially true for the dead, who we are often told to remember "kindly." But grief and loss is so much more complicated than that, and this is a book that intimately understands the ups and downs of that process. I love this story explores different degrees of grief. Not every single person has the same kind of relationship with the deceased, by definition. Some are parents, some are siblings, some are friends, some are lovers, and some are merely acquaintances. This is a story that shows how different people grieve in their own ways, all of which are appropriate and valid according to the unique relationship they had with the person who passed away. No single relationship can truly capture the fullness of one life, and therefore no two people's grief will look exactly the same. And that doesn't mean one way of grieving is "less" than the other, just that they're different. Liam is realizing that they're at a very different point with their grief as compared to their parents, their family, and their classmates. While his parents might be ready to start sorting through Ethan's belongings, for example, Liam may not be at that point yet, and he has to learn that that's okay. The story also explores how people outside of the immediate family relate to death and loss. If someone's only experience with loss is through a distant family member or a friend of the family, then that's a very different experience than losing a sibling or a son, and thus makes it almost impossible to "relate" to Liam's experience. Again, that doesn't mean what those other people experienced wasn't "real," but merely that it's a different type of loss that doesn't always neatly project onto the way someone else is grieving. This loss is something that Liam has work through themself at their own pace, even when they can't understand their own feelings or end up lashing out at other people. Grief is not this nice, convenient, neat, one-size-fits-all experience, and this story really gives Liam the space to go through it, for better or worse. I also love how this story centers a non-binary character without necessarily being about non-binaryness at all, but also intimately understanding how Liam's non-binary identity is tied up in his grief. When someone close to us dies young, there can be a tendency to venerate the dead and compare yourself to them, wondering if you "deserve" to live when they didn't get that chance. Liam is not only grieving the loss of their brother, but feeling burdened by being their parents' "last shot" at having a "normal," successful kid. That feeling is compounded by his queerness, because he's always thought of Ethan as "the normal one," "The Golden Boy," and his parents' shot at having some semblance of a "family legacy." He's very aware of how his future looks different than anything his parents would've imagined for Ethan, and how he can't give his parents the same things Ethan could have, just because of who he is and what he wants for himself. This leaves them feeling a lot of shame and anxiety, simply because there is no defined, clear-cut path towards queer futures, and in fact queer futures are sometimes beyond our imagination simply because they've been erased from public consciousness. So Liam finds themself wondering how they can possibly fill the void that Ethan's left behind in their family, and if they're even meant to try in the first place. I also appreciate how honestly this story tackles toxic friendships and friendship break-ups, which we don't see often enough in YA. Liam's best friends, Vanessa and Joel, are not only seeing less of Liam now that they're dating each other, but they find Liam's grief to be "a downer" and "an inconvenience" simply because Liam isn't ready to open up about it. So not only is Liam left dealing with anger, confusion, and heartbreak all at once, but they're also struggling to navigate how people expect them to perform grief. He's cycling through all these emotions, which can sometimes be destructive, and that only gets compounded by friends who are mishandling his processing of grief. Sometimes the people closest to us aren't the right people to help us through difficult things, and sometimes those relationships exacerbate toxic behavior and situations, even if all parties are trying to come from a "good place"—and it's important to know when to walk away from relationships that aren't serving us. But as much as this story deals with loss—losing a brother, losing connection to other people, losing friends—it's still ultimately about what Liam gains. Through all of this, Liam gains a new friendship with Ethan's best friend, Marcus. They gain a new understanding of their brother as they go through his things and hear from the people who were closest to him. They gain confidence in their right to process and explore their feelings as they see fit, even if it's not "correct" by someone else's standards. They gain the knowledge to recognize when to let go of—or change—relationships that are hurting them and, more importantly, how to ask for help. So is this a sad book? Yes. But it's also powerful, insightful, hopeful, and cathartic. It's a story about grief, obviously, but it's also perfect if you're looking for a story with a queer MC that isn't inherently about queerness, or if you want a story without a romantic storyline, or a story that beautifully handles growing through friendship break-ups. There's so much packed into this book, and it's written with such care and nuance, as only Mason Deaver can display. This is the second perfect book that Mason has written, in my humble opinion, and I think if you're in the right place to handle it, then it is absolutely essential reading.

  20. 5 out of 5

    asena

    i finished this book on the way from the place i grew up to my current home. being on an airplane, i could make no sound, so my throat kind of hurts now. mason deaver has written one of my favorite books of all time, a book i read in one sitting and that i think about everyday & probably will never forget. i wish you all the best found me when i had just started identifying as non-binary and it was... a reality check for me. the book itself is one of my most favorite things to look at, rememberin i finished this book on the way from the place i grew up to my current home. being on an airplane, i could make no sound, so my throat kind of hurts now. mason deaver has written one of my favorite books of all time, a book i read in one sitting and that i think about everyday & probably will never forget. i wish you all the best found me when i had just started identifying as non-binary and it was... a reality check for me. the book itself is one of my most favorite things to look at, remembering the joy of seeing myself completely in a book & also the sorrow of the unfortunate realness of it. when i heard mason was coming up with another book with a non-binary main character that dealt with grief this time, i was already into it. if you know me well, you know that grief themed books usually tend to be my favorites. trusting mason on this, i was so ready for june 1 to come. i got to another book first, but when i started the ghosts we keep last night, i already guessed this was going to the favorites shelf. mason’s writing is always so genuine and open, like i’m reading their day in written form. always so close, always so real. again, when i finished the book and read the author’s note, i was devastated to imagine how this could be from a semi-real point of view. i absolutely loved how they combined both fiction and reality together and made into this soul-wrecking book this is. this book is about a non-binary teen who had just lost their brother, still struggling with their own identity being foreshadowed, dealing with grief on top of that, and also with shitty friends. this book is about how dealing with grief is never a linear line, but it has all these waves and shit (i’m bad at math, you know what i’m talking about). as the author said themselves, “there’s no love story, the main character is a pain in the ass, the friendships are frustrating, and so much of it is bleak.” this is just a book you read, relate, cry and think about so often, but never have the guts to open the cover page ever again. also known as — my favorite kind. it has been only 30 minutes since i finished this book and started writing this review, because if i hadn’t started any sooner i would combust. and probably forget what i was to say. i still have this lump in my throat caused by me hiding my sobs, and now i realize there’s one in my heart as well, with my heart crumbling for liam, for marcus, and for ethan. trigger warnings ahead: (view spoiler)[death of a family member, self-harm, suicide ideation, gender dysphoria, mentioned transphobia, homophobia, depressive episodes, panic & anxiety attacks, misgendering. (hide spoiler)]

  21. 4 out of 5

    Saima

    4.5/5 stars. ✨ full review here ✨ content warnings: (view spoiler)[death of a family member, self-harm, suicide ideation, mentioned transphobia, gender dysphoria (hide spoiler)] This is one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking books I've ever read. Deaver is able to talk about grief in such a profound way, showing the difficulties and how ugly and tough it can be, yet all the while manages to make this book so uplifting too. I loved the journey this took me on, crying several times throughout be 4.5/5 stars. ✨ full review here ✨ content warnings: (view spoiler)[death of a family member, self-harm, suicide ideation, mentioned transphobia, gender dysphoria (hide spoiler)] This is one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking books I've ever read. Deaver is able to talk about grief in such a profound way, showing the difficulties and how ugly and tough it can be, yet all the while manages to make this book so uplifting too. I loved the journey this took me on, crying several times throughout because it made me feel so much. It's hard to see how much Liam struggles with the loss of their brother, and how this inner turmoil effects their relationship with their parents and friends. It's hard to read but so real, and I empathised with them and their grief the entire way. All in all, The Ghosts We Keep offers a real and raw look into grief but also manages to be hopeful and heart-warming.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Gabriele | QueerBookdom

    DRC provided by PUSH via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. Representation: queer non-binary protagonist, bisexual Black secondary character, bisexual trans Vietnamese-American secondary character, gay secondary character, queer tertiary character. Content Warning: grief, death, transphobia, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, suicide ideation, self-harm. The Ghosts We Keep by Mason Deaver is a beautiful, moving novel about grief, loss, how those feelings affect us and the very slow proce DRC provided by PUSH via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. Representation: queer non-binary protagonist, bisexual Black secondary character, bisexual trans Vietnamese-American secondary character, gay secondary character, queer tertiary character. Content Warning: grief, death, transphobia, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, suicide ideation, self-harm. The Ghosts We Keep by Mason Deaver is a beautiful, moving novel about grief, loss, how those feelings affect us and the very slow process of healing. Ethan Cooper dies at eighteen after being run over by a car during a routine run. In the aftermath of his death, his younger sibling Liam is wrecked by the grief they feel for the loss of their older brother. This is the second novel by Deaver I read and I love how they always manage to trap me in the web of their wonderful words and how emotional I become when reading one of their books. When I started the book I was not feeling really great and strangely enough this story about grief actually helped me a little. I loved reading about a character who is not perfect and makes mistakes and says things he should not; Liam’s whole process towards healing; and the way queerness is so normalised in the novel. The only thing I hated were Liam’s so-called “friends”. I hated Joel the tiniest bit less than Vanessa because he actually tried, although too late, to mend the broken relationship, but they were both such horrible friends to Liam, it made me so furious. Mason Deaver’s books are ones I will always recommend because the writing and content really connect with me. I noticed it with their first book, which was the book that first made me realise I am not a man, at least subconsciously (it took me another year circa to fully realise I am non-binary). And every time I read one of their books, even one so sad as The Ghosts We Keep, I feel good in a sense. The Ghosts We Keep is an extremely sad novel, which I weirdly devoured quickly, that I cannot not recommend.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Eva B.

    A gutwrenching exploration of grief told by a narrator who—while sometimes difficult to love—was always sympathetic. Grief is an issue that I admittedly have a difficult time with—not due to any personal trauma with losing loved ones, but just because I experience grief very differently from most people, but this book captivated me from the start. I’m very glad that this didn’t veer into romance territory and instead stayed closer to a character study of the grief that losing their brother bring A gutwrenching exploration of grief told by a narrator who—while sometimes difficult to love—was always sympathetic. Grief is an issue that I admittedly have a difficult time with—not due to any personal trauma with losing loved ones, but just because I experience grief very differently from most people, but this book captivated me from the start. I’m very glad that this didn’t veer into romance territory and instead stayed closer to a character study of the grief that losing their brother brings Liam. Yes, he’s often unlikable and has some reactions that hurt to read and that I didn’t always like or understand from my own perspective, but were always understandable from theirs. I loved this even more than I WISH YOU ALL THE BEST and cannot wait to see what Mason Deaver writes in the future.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    5+ Ow. My heart. For the entirety of listening to this audiobook I was on the brink of tears and there were multiple moments where I actually cried. This book, it's everything. It's a raw and messy and complicated look into grief and heartache and writing this review immediately after finishing is probably a bad idea because I have so. many. feelings. This is not a love story. There is not a romantic subplot for a main character and that is something that I appreciated so much. The fact that the 5+ Ow. My heart. For the entirety of listening to this audiobook I was on the brink of tears and there were multiple moments where I actually cried. This book, it's everything. It's a raw and messy and complicated look into grief and heartache and writing this review immediately after finishing is probably a bad idea because I have so. many. feelings. This is not a love story. There is not a romantic subplot for a main character and that is something that I appreciated so much. The fact that the focus was on grief and just allowing them to process their grief is so important and I think any sort of romance would have muddled that. I'm truthfully at a loss for words about how to describe this book other than emotional and heartbreaking. Especially with the authors note at the end and knowing that the author wrote this about their own experience just breaks me a little bit more. So if you're looking for a book that will make you cry uncontrollably, this is the one for you. Please look at the CW's though I will list them below. It's okay if you can't read this book. Your own mental health needs to come first. CW: grief, loss of a sibling, sudden death, self harm, suicidal ideation, misgendering, discussions about coming out Rep: nonbinary MC (he/they), bisexual side characters, trans side characters, additional queer side characters.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Finitha Jose

    After reading 'I Wish You All the Best', I was as anxious as the author about this latest release. Will this live up to the fame garnered by the first one or become a disappointment? Well, I found mixed reviews on this, but for me, this was even better than the former work. There is no plot as such to speak of. This is more or less a record of how Liam and their family cope with the grief of losing the eldest son of the family. A word of warning, Liam is not an easy character to like. As the boo After reading 'I Wish You All the Best', I was as anxious as the author about this latest release. Will this live up to the fame garnered by the first one or become a disappointment? Well, I found mixed reviews on this, but for me, this was even better than the former work. There is no plot as such to speak of. This is more or less a record of how Liam and their family cope with the grief of losing the eldest son of the family. A word of warning, Liam is not an easy character to like. As the book asserts, grief can always make you do complicated, messy and ugly things and considering Liam's age, it does create a lot of complications. They lash against the parents, withdraw from friends and practically shuts the whole world off and drowns in grief. I won't blame them. Part of this reaction comes from a feeling of guilt, thinking of the time lost and gone forever. Along with that comes the burden of the only son left now, the one who needs to take the vacant position of the family's golden son. They don't have anyone to turn to, neither can they acknowledge that they need professional help. Yes, it's a total mess. As expected of Mason Deaver, the words are honest and raw and each page adds another spear to your heart. There are no miracles or surprises, but the book delivers what is intended just like a teacher who doesn't have to raise his voice to keep the class in control. I was glad it didn't pursue Marcus' point of view. That would have broken me completely. Favourite quotes: "I didn't know how I was feeling; I couldn't feel anything except numbness. Simple, reliable concepts like time moving forward, or even the space around me, didn't feel real. It felt more like a dream that I'd wake up from soon" "Because grief is a complicated, ugly, messy thing. And it makes you do complicated, ugly, messy things" "Sometimes poetry is more about the feeling the words give you, the emotion, the placement, and not necessarily the words themselves" "What I wanted was to disappear. To blink out of existence, to be forgotten by everyone who ever knew me. I didn't want to be here anymore, to have to think, to have to feel. What was the point anyway? The older I got, the more people would vanish" "I'd still love him, whether he was here or not. Because he'd always be here with me, no matter what happened. He was a ghost I'd keep with me for the rest of my life"

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ocean

    This is such a messy, heartbreaking story. The portrayal of grief is so accurate that it took me back to when my dad died 11 years ago. I sobbed while reading this book. Liam is a very relatable character, he doesn't deal with his grief very well which reminds me of myself when I was 15 and had just lost my dad. I really felt for Marcus, losing someone so important to him and the way it all went down was heart wrenching. I have so much to say about how I feel for Liam, for Marcus, for Liam's par This is such a messy, heartbreaking story. The portrayal of grief is so accurate that it took me back to when my dad died 11 years ago. I sobbed while reading this book. Liam is a very relatable character, he doesn't deal with his grief very well which reminds me of myself when I was 15 and had just lost my dad. I really felt for Marcus, losing someone so important to him and the way it all went down was heart wrenching. I have so much to say about how I feel for Liam, for Marcus, for Liam's parents, but I just don't have the words. This book has really torn me up. It's devastating how a life was lost and other lives were forever changed. Friendships ended. Relationships stretched to breaking point. I really appreciated how this story addressed mental health, in particular Ethan's family going to therapy. That healing process after such an awful loss is a long and messy road, but Deaver did a great job addressing how grief can come out as anger, exhaustion, and losing interest in your hobbies, amongst other things. An excellent portrayal of loss and grief. The nonbinary rep and trans rep were well-written, none of it was super relevant to the story but I liked that - these characters could just exist as themselves without their identities being major plot points. To say I enjoyed this book would be a lie, it absolutely destroyed me, but it's such a powerful and important story and is unlike anything I've ever read before. I didn't enjoy the book, because it's too sad to be enjoyable, but I did love the book. It means a lot to me, and I'm sure anyone else who has lost a loved one will experience just as many emotions as I did while reading this. Mason Deaver is an incredible author. TWs: death, car accident, self harm, suicidal thoughts, grief, mental illness, panic attacks, PTSD Rep: nonbinary and queer main character, trans man side character, gay side characters

  27. 4 out of 5

    Arvie

    I really don’t know what to say because up until now, I’m still crying; this book is heart-wrenching and it made me feel things. This book is all about grief and the journey towards healing, and if you’ve read History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera, and you’ve cried every sentence in the said book, you should prepare yourself because this will for sure make you cry like there’s no tomorrow. I really don’t know what to say right now, I felt hollow and like I’m missing something but I don’t kn I really don’t know what to say because up until now, I’m still crying; this book is heart-wrenching and it made me feel things. This book is all about grief and the journey towards healing, and if you’ve read History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera, and you’ve cried every sentence in the said book, you should prepare yourself because this will for sure make you cry like there’s no tomorrow. I really don’t know what to say right now, I felt hollow and like I’m missing something but I don’t know what. Gah! I really love this book but I will put this alongside History Is All You Left Me to the I-love-this-book-so-much-but-I-will-not-read-it-again-because-I-will-just-cry-and-cry bookshelf — this is not a negative review, I really love this but it really hurts???? And that’s why this book is so good. I really love this and I highly recommend this to all people who are suffering from grief and who wants to feel like someone or something understands them. Thank you Mason Deaver for writing another masterpiece!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Bradley (AudioShelf)

    This was such a phenomenal story. A sad, but moving novel about the many aspects of grief that people refuse to speak about. The first thing I’d like to say is that this author does an amazing job with showcasing the difficulties of losing a loved one. The changes within the family unit, the loss of friendships, and the loneliness there is when you lose a sibling and you’re left being the only surviving child. I want to give Mason Deaver a standing ovation for this. Thank you, Mason. Some people This was such a phenomenal story. A sad, but moving novel about the many aspects of grief that people refuse to speak about. The first thing I’d like to say is that this author does an amazing job with showcasing the difficulties of losing a loved one. The changes within the family unit, the loss of friendships, and the loneliness there is when you lose a sibling and you’re left being the only surviving child. I want to give Mason Deaver a standing ovation for this. Thank you, Mason. Some people might not like this book. The reason being is because (spoiler) its not a love story. I think the most powerful part of this book is the bond that Liam creates with the lost soul of their brother. They find out the truth to who their brother is/was. This story is their emotional journey of acceptance that this is Liam’s new life now—a life without a sibling. Liam’s friends play a huge role in their grief—the idea that death is hard on some people and that they may not be able to find the right words or actions to take when it comes to be a friend of a person who is grieving. Relationships change and grief definitely plays a role in that. I can resonate with this book on so many levels, since losing my older sister 2 years ago. It’s been the hardest thing I have ever gone through and I’m reminded every day that she’s not here. I think this book will make you want to hold your loved ones and cherish the time you spend with them. I think that’s pretty powerful, if you ask me. P.S. Loved the non-binary rep in this book. Liam uses the pronouns he/him and they/them

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    I did an entire Reading Vlog for this book. This book is a deeply sorrowful story of a sibling trying to come to terms with the death of the older brother they looked up to, and coming to realize there was a whole lot that they never shared with each other. It is also the story of a toxic friendship, and learning when to step away from situations that aren't good for you. Liam was going through a lot in this one, and although they didn't handle it perfectly, they were doing what they could to get t I did an entire Reading Vlog for this book. This book is a deeply sorrowful story of a sibling trying to come to terms with the death of the older brother they looked up to, and coming to realize there was a whole lot that they never shared with each other. It is also the story of a toxic friendship, and learning when to step away from situations that aren't good for you. Liam was going through a lot in this one, and although they didn't handle it perfectly, they were doing what they could to get through it. Sometimes that meant diving into their craft, sometimes that meant avoiding topics, and sometimes that meant demanding answers. Although I predicted some of the events in this book, it didn't take away from the impact of vicariously experiencing this deep need for answers, relief, and closure. Content warning for attempted self harm, misgendering, grief, off page death of a loved one, and panic attacks. I talk about my thoughts on this book in this BookTube video.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    *4.5 stars (may raise this to 5..we'll see in the morning lol) i read this book. i sobbed. then i read mason deaver's author's note/acknowledgments. i sobbed some more. so much love for this story (and mason deaver ofc). the ghosts we keep is a story about liam, a nonbinary teen dealing with the aftermath of his brother ethan's death. the story is told in dual timelines, jumping between scenes before ethan's death and after. the chapters are all dated, so i never got confused as to what was happe *4.5 stars (may raise this to 5..we'll see in the morning lol) i read this book. i sobbed. then i read mason deaver's author's note/acknowledgments. i sobbed some more. so much love for this story (and mason deaver ofc). the ghosts we keep is a story about liam, a nonbinary teen dealing with the aftermath of his brother ethan's death. the story is told in dual timelines, jumping between scenes before ethan's death and after. the chapters are all dated, so i never got confused as to what was happening. i always love myself a good dual timeline story. this story was messy but beautiful. as liam says in the book, grief is never straightforward or linear, and the ghosts we keep really reflected that idea. it was raw and didn't project some "perfect", seamless experience of grief. liam felt every emotion, and i felt it with them. mason deaver noted how personal this story was to them, and i feel like that came through within the novel. liam was such a well-crafted character, and i really enjoyed seeing their growth throughout the novel. i think something important to note is that he isn't perfect, and that's what makes them such a complex character. just because a character has flaws doesn't necessarily make them unlikable; it just makes them realistic, and i think liam is a great example of this (aka don't hold characters to an unachievable standard and then fault them when they don't meet that...they're human lol). the side characters were also all complex, and mason deaver brought a lot of nuances into their characterization, making for very 3-d characters. also, there was great representation in this book! most of the major characters were queer, which was really nice to see :) my only thing is that i wish we had more - specifically more development of marcus and liam's friendship, especially toward the end of the novel. amazing book, 100% recommend!!

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