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Violet Ghosts

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Acclaimed author Leah Thomas tells the story of a teen determined to right the wrongs of female ghosts haunted in the afterlife. Dani’s best friend, Sarah, is a ghost. But maybe that’s normal when you've spent your childhood running from an abusive parent. Dani and Sarah might be more than friends, though Dani dares not say so. Dani is afraid that if he tells Sarah he’s tran Acclaimed author Leah Thomas tells the story of a teen determined to right the wrongs of female ghosts haunted in the afterlife. Dani’s best friend, Sarah, is a ghost. But maybe that’s normal when you've spent your childhood running from an abusive parent. Dani and Sarah might be more than friends, though Dani dares not say so. Dani is afraid that if he tells Sarah he’s trans, she won’t bother haunting him anymore. Sarah’s got good reason to distrust boys, having been strangled by one. After Sarah and Dani come across another ghost haunted by her own brutal murder, they set out to bring peace and safety to spirits like her. But when an old rival reenters Dani’s life, their unexpected friendship gives Dani a strange new feeling of belonging. As Dani starts to find his place in the living world, he’ll need to let go of his ghosts. With her signature lyricism, Leah Thomas has woven a poignant supernatural story for the #MeToo age.


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Acclaimed author Leah Thomas tells the story of a teen determined to right the wrongs of female ghosts haunted in the afterlife. Dani’s best friend, Sarah, is a ghost. But maybe that’s normal when you've spent your childhood running from an abusive parent. Dani and Sarah might be more than friends, though Dani dares not say so. Dani is afraid that if he tells Sarah he’s tran Acclaimed author Leah Thomas tells the story of a teen determined to right the wrongs of female ghosts haunted in the afterlife. Dani’s best friend, Sarah, is a ghost. But maybe that’s normal when you've spent your childhood running from an abusive parent. Dani and Sarah might be more than friends, though Dani dares not say so. Dani is afraid that if he tells Sarah he’s trans, she won’t bother haunting him anymore. Sarah’s got good reason to distrust boys, having been strangled by one. After Sarah and Dani come across another ghost haunted by her own brutal murder, they set out to bring peace and safety to spirits like her. But when an old rival reenters Dani’s life, their unexpected friendship gives Dani a strange new feeling of belonging. As Dani starts to find his place in the living world, he’ll need to let go of his ghosts. With her signature lyricism, Leah Thomas has woven a poignant supernatural story for the #MeToo age.

30 review for Violet Ghosts

  1. 4 out of 5

    emma

    I cannot deal with a book that is sad and soulless. A book that is filled with trauma, starring a protagonist undergoing unrelenting suffering, featuring a plotline that just seems to bring on more and more unbearable pain is bad enough. But when the characters feel half-baked and the story doesn't feel real and even what may be a moment's hope at the end feels cheap? That's the worst. The synopsis of this book will make you think it's about a trans main character who loves his pretty best friend wh I cannot deal with a book that is sad and soulless. A book that is filled with trauma, starring a protagonist undergoing unrelenting suffering, featuring a plotline that just seems to bring on more and more unbearable pain is bad enough. But when the characters feel half-baked and the story doesn't feel real and even what may be a moment's hope at the end feels cheap? That's the worst. The synopsis of this book will make you think it's about a trans main character who loves his pretty best friend who he's known his whole life. It is not. It is about a character's realization that he is trans (he is deadnamed more often than notand addressed with the wrong pronouns more than the right ones) while he is sexually harassed by the aforementioned best friend, who he is not into romantically. It's just very painful and difficult. There is another romance that feels similarly cheap and shoehorned in. I don't want to say this is a bad book. But it did not work for me at all. Bottom line: Whatever is happening with book marketing lately needs to STOP. --------------- pre-review more books about ghosts, i say i mean...not books like this one, maybe. but others. review to come / 2 stars (thanks to the publisher for the ARC) --------------- reading all books with LGBTQ+ rep for pride this month! book 1: the gravity of us book 2: the great american whatever book 3: wild beauty book 4: the affair of the mysterious letter book 5: how we fight for our lives book 6: blue lily, lily blue book 7: the times i knew i was gay book 8: conventionally yours book 9: the hollow inside book 10: nimona book 11: dark and deepest red book 12: the house in the cerulean sea book 13: the raven king book 14: violet ghosts

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sofie |

    Thank you NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA for the eARC for review! ____ When Dani discovers the ghost of Sarah under his bed, he's not scared. In fact, she becomes his best friend. But Sarah hates men, having been murdered at the hands of one, and Dani is scared to tell her he's trans. When the pair discover another ghost in the woods years later, the new trio decide to convert the old lobby of Dani's apartment into a ghost sanctuary. But seeking out ghosts of violent deaths means running into a few Thank you NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA for the eARC for review! ____ When Dani discovers the ghost of Sarah under his bed, he's not scared. In fact, she becomes his best friend. But Sarah hates men, having been murdered at the hands of one, and Dani is scared to tell her he's trans. When the pair discover another ghost in the woods years later, the new trio decide to convert the old lobby of Dani's apartment into a ghost sanctuary. But seeking out ghosts of violent deaths means running into a few more dangerous beings, too. TW: sexual assault, rape, murder, toxic relationship, sexual abuse, physical abuse, suicide, transphobia, homophobia, dead-naming This book was nothing like what I was expecting. The blurb made it seem a bit more mysterious, a bit more high energy. But Thomas has written an expressive, impactful story about a trans boy who can never seem to escape his own ghosts, literally and figuratively. Violet Ghosts was a quick read! It had a handful of complicated characters, characters who have all been traumatized by something, either in life or death. Readers get the wisps of a thrill, a darkness to the book, but unfortunately, it never feels too fully formed. I can't speak on it too much, as I am not a victim of trauma in the ways that Sarah, Patricia, and Dani are, and everyone processes their past in their own ways, but the book felt almost.... passive on the atrocities that these characters face. It focuses more on trying to exorcise evil ghosts than to make any sort of commentary about what our characters are going through. Perhaps this was the point. All I know, is I was left for wanting. I think this could have made a really great thriller if Thomas had chosen to take it in that direction. As it stands, it felt a bit lacklustre for me.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    This book was really hard to read as it is to review. First of all, take the trigger warnings here seriously in this book- they happen on and off page. This is an intense book about serious issues. This book follows Dani who can see and communicate with ghosts. After meeting and bonding with a ghost named Sarah over mutual trauma, they become very close. But Dani has a secret, and that he is trans, and knows this won't go over well with Sarah. When Dani and Sarah discover more ghosts, they get This book was really hard to read as it is to review. First of all, take the trigger warnings here seriously in this book- they happen on and off page. This is an intense book about serious issues. This book follows Dani who can see and communicate with ghosts. After meeting and bonding with a ghost named Sarah over mutual trauma, they become very close. But Dani has a secret, and that he is trans, and knows this won't go over well with Sarah. When Dani and Sarah discover more ghosts, they get the idea of avenging and saving other ghosts haunted by trauma, but their efforts drive Dani and Sarah apart more and more. I started this book over a month ago, but wasn't really enjoying it for several reasons- so I put it down. But I couldn't really get it out of my head so I decided finish it and get my thoughts out. Not all books are supposed to be fun and likable. This book is about trauma, and how to effectively overcome trauma. If someone is going to take trauma seriously in fiction and make it a happy story, I have no idea what that would look like. And I feel it's incredibly important to tell those uncomfortable stories- but to say I had a good reading experience with this book wouldn't be true. I didn't enjoy it. I'll start with the good. Dani was a fascinating and nuanced character. I liked him a lot. He wasn't perfect at all but he really did have a big heart and was just trying to figure his shit out- and has so much going up against him. Rooting for Dani was probably my favorite part of this book. I also really liked the metaphor with the ghosts and trauma. I feel like making the "dealing with your ghosts and demons" metaphor into something real worked very well and was powerful. And the message of this book is truly important and good. The romance of this book started a little annoying to me and it took me a while to warm up to it, but by the end of the book I did start to like Seiji and Dani together, and they could compliment each other well. As for what I didn't like. I didn't like the trans part of this storyline really at all. And that sounds strange coming from me as I'm usually dying for more trans stories in fiction (as a whole, 2021 has actually been pretty great for that). And a lot of this book is about Dani's identity as a transman, dealing with that, and figuring out how to tell Sarah. But to me it really seemed that a major part of Dani being trans in the story is so we could see Sarah cast as the villain to be both a "man hating lesbian" and expose terf talking points. And the book pretty clearly tells you both of those points are wrong and gross, there isn't ambiguity there. And those are important things to say! But a lot of Sarah's storyline is about how some close bonds change into toxic relationships. Dani's being trans arc felt to me like more of a way to discuss other narratives through Sarah than to explicitly tell a trans based story. I tried to find information on the author but I couldn't see anything indicating she is trans or nonbinary. So this whole part of the book really gave me a weird vibe. I could very well be off base and misinterpreting everything. I'm trying to be very careful with how I am phrasing this criticism, but this was the impression the book left on me. This book has important things to say about trauma and an interesting story to tell it. But some parts of this book just didn't sit well with me. 2.5/5 Thank you to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for providing me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    rachel ☾

    ... pitched as The Lovely Bones meets Freaks and Geeks, the story of an isolated teen and their best friend—the ghost of a young woman murdered decades earlier—as they set out to free other ghosts from the burdens tethering them to this life. A supernatural story for the #MeToo age a trans teen & his ghost best friend! that's all i needed to hear Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram ... pitched as The Lovely Bones meets Freaks and Geeks, the story of an isolated teen and their best friend—the ghost of a young woman murdered decades earlier—as they set out to free other ghosts from the burdens tethering them to this life. A supernatural story for the #MeToo age a trans teen & his ghost best friend! that's all i needed to hear Blog • Trigger Warning Database • Twitter • Instagram

  5. 4 out of 5

    Starr ❇✌❇

    I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: domestic abuse, molestation, rape, suicide, mentioned strangulation, mentioned violence against a sex worker, death of a toddler via cancer, transphobia/TERF ideology 4.2 By the time Dani met their best friend, Sarah, she'd already been dead for 20 years. Living with an out of touch mother, hiding from an abusive father, disliked at school, Sarah is the one thing that gets Dani through it, protecting them against terrible men. But Dani's starting to think th I received an ARC from Edelweiss TW: domestic abuse, molestation, rape, suicide, mentioned strangulation, mentioned violence against a sex worker, death of a toddler via cancer, transphobia/TERF ideology 4.2 By the time Dani met their best friend, Sarah, she'd already been dead for 20 years. Living with an out of touch mother, hiding from an abusive father, disliked at school, Sarah is the one thing that gets Dani through it, protecting them against terrible men. But Dani's starting to think that maybe "man" isn't a bad thing... and maybe they might even be one. As Sarah desperately tries to figure out revenge for every battered female ghost out there, and Dani tries to feel like things could ever be as simple as they once were, they both throw themselves into a dream of safety that may never be real. "Don't ever let someone else, especially someone you love, decide who you are." This is a super heavy book. I mean, look at the trigger warnings- it's not a light hearted romp, it's all about abuse, trauma, and identity. But if that's something you're willing to jump into, it's definitely worth it. The idea of identity is such a strong thread throughout this whole story. Obviously so in Dani's case, where he struggles to reconcile his own gender identity with what he's experienced, and been taught, about men and their monstrousness. You get to see Dani take apart the web of fear and accept himself and look beyond that in the case of men in general as well. You also get to see Dani move beyond the identity of Sarah's support, which is excellent growth and frees him up to change and explore. Beyond Dani, there's the idea of Victim being someone's identity and them reclaiming it, like in the case of Patricia, and you even get some moments of that with Seiji as well as the other ghosts. All in all, honestly, I just think it's an extremely well done point. Trauma is also a huge part of this narrative. The ghosts, the ghost torturers, it gives a feeling of something sticking along long after the act is done. While its not something that defines the entire person- in most cases- it is still a part of them, and the way its dealt with varies with the person and the act. I like how varied these characters' reactions are, and the different ways that trauma is portrayed. Dani himself is great. He's clearly been a victim of abuse, and has been shaped into something small by Sarah, whether or not that was intentional in their friendship, and the way he acts rings true. But what's truly great, is the anger and explosiveness that bursts out of all that. Dani has cracks that create both a really realistic person and a dynamic character. I love the messiness of his growth and the nonlinear feeling of it. In a book like this I definitely wasn't expecting a romance, and certainly didn't think I'd like one if it showed up. But I was wrong! Seiji is excellent, and a great added perspective in the whole story. He's coming from an entirely different place than Dani and the ghosts, and yet understands the struggle as a struggle anyway, and brings both a lightness to the narrative while also keeping his story serious enough to not be jarring. I loved him as a character, and the possibility of a romance there got cute fast, and was not to be able to focus on at times where everything else was dark and heavy. Not everything in this book is done perfectly. I wish the Sarah stuff by the end had gotten looked at with a bit more of an apparaising eye, instead of Dani brushing it off as Sarah needing someone and being in a bad place, because the rising toxicity of her actions was upsetting. But, mostly, I think this book had a lot of important moments in it and characters that worked really well with the story. Pre-review comments below Wait wait wait stop the presses IS THIS FANTASY WITH A NONBINARY LEAD AND A GHOST BEST FRIEND??? IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?????? Update 11/16 The new synopsis cleared things up, and I am still excited about a ghost book with a trans lead!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kaine (HonoraryTrickster)

    I received this book in exchange for an honest review courtesy of Bloomsbury YA and NetGalley. First off, as a trans person I find it very distasteful to learn a trans characters birth name in general when reading. It just feels like such a disservice to the character and is just slightly offensive. Possibly instead just say “they called me by my birth name or dead name” instead of straight up telling the audience what it is. Also for a book that is describing itself as a trans book, the trans el I received this book in exchange for an honest review courtesy of Bloomsbury YA and NetGalley. First off, as a trans person I find it very distasteful to learn a trans characters birth name in general when reading. It just feels like such a disservice to the character and is just slightly offensive. Possibly instead just say “they called me by my birth name or dead name” instead of straight up telling the audience what it is. Also for a book that is describing itself as a trans book, the trans elements are somewhat strange. Like not thoroughly explored or only used to create tension? I’m not discounting Dani’s trans identity I just wish we saw more of their struggle with it instead of it just being used as a plot device to come between Dani and Sarah. I had a hard time grasping the world building of this book, specifically in reference to the ghost characters. It seems that they can basically do anything and had no limits. No rules were ever set up or explained to us and it kind of felt like the author was pushing how much the reader was just supposed to blindly accept. Both the main characters were just so unlikable. I had a hard time reading the book because I hated them both and didn’t care what happened to them. Dani is slightly more likable than Sarah but also I didn’t understand why the entire plot could have been resolved if Dani and Sarah actually were honest with each other. The whole ghost climax was a little rushed and felt thrown in at the last minute. Please for the love of god never include a Harry Potter reference in a queer and especially in a trans book. I enjoyed the writing style, and the book was pretty fast paced, but the plot was just so hard to understand and the tone was everywhere. One moment it’s a light hearted coming of age story, the next it’s basically hardcore horror, I just don’t understand who the audience is? The amount of triggers in this book is astounding and it would have helped if there was a warning for readers in the beginning. I honestly wish this book had both a sensitivity reader and another round of edits because it feels more like a first draft. Aa

  7. 4 out of 5

    USOM

    (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: transphobia, suicide, pedophilia and incest, panic attack, deadnaming, self harm, domestic abuse, sexual assault Violet Ghosts is a book about the past, trauma, and friendships. It is a very intense book and I had to not only take breaks, but I also was kept awake at night by some of the imagery. Yes I am a big scaredy cat, but I also felt like there are some harrowing scenes (Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.) TW: transphobia, suicide, pedophilia and incest, panic attack, deadnaming, self harm, domestic abuse, sexual assault Violet Ghosts is a book about the past, trauma, and friendships. It is a very intense book and I had to not only take breaks, but I also was kept awake at night by some of the imagery. Yes I am a big scaredy cat, but I also felt like there are some harrowing scenes and I wish I had spread the book out across more days than I did. My favorite element has to be the ways Thomas uses the ghosts as metaphors for dealing with our trauma. Trauma, and dealing with it, making peace with the past, and forgiveness are huge issues in Violet Ghosts. And just based on that, you can see how a lot of our language surrounding death, grief, and loss lend themselves to excellent metaphors with ghosts. I immediately empathized with Dani's character not only because of the ways he has to deal with a friendship that turns toxic, but also his romance storyline. Nothing is simple in Violet Ghosts and even days later I'm not sure how I feel about a few aspects. At multiple points in the book I thought I had a handle on how the book would progress and I was so wrong each time. From the synopsis, this seems like a book that is very focused on dealing with the ghosts, but it's more about Dani. About his own ghosts and trauma and future. The ghosts are a large part of the story, but they're more an avenue of how Dani processes his life. While they have their own stories, I always felt that this story is rooted in Dani's experiences. Because of that, some of the messages that are told through the ghosts stories, felt a little shallow compared to the book and Dani's story. full review: https://utopia-state-of-mind.com/revi...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Vee

    trans mc that's afraid of telling his ghost friend that he's trans in case she rejects him? MY HEART trans mc that's afraid of telling his ghost friend that he's trans in case she rejects him? MY HEART

  9. 5 out of 5

    Téa Belog

    thank you to netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free ebook in exchange for an honest review! this has not affected my review in any way, all opinions are mine. No Rating If Possible — Did Not Finish i was really really excited to read this book!! the cover was really eye-catching, and the description even moreso. a trans protagonist? ghosts? murder and mystery? that sounds super fun! and at first, i was genuinely enjoying the character interactions and writing. however, i was only thank you to netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free ebook in exchange for an honest review! this has not affected my review in any way, all opinions are mine. No Rating If Possible — Did Not Finish i was really really excited to read this book!! the cover was really eye-catching, and the description even moreso. a trans protagonist? ghosts? murder and mystery? that sounds super fun! and at first, i was genuinely enjoying the character interactions and writing. however, i was only a few pages in when i went to add this book on goodreads and saw many many reviews listing trigger warnings and to take them seriously. after reading the many trigger warning lists and spoiler-free reviews, i decided to dnf this book for my own mental health. i see absolutely nothing wrong with writing about these topics, however, a trigger warning at the beginning of this book would be greatly appreciated because they are so heavy and serious, and the blurb made me believe i was signing onto a book that, while still was a little weighty, was a lot more fun. trigger warning list (although i believe some may be missing according to reviews i've looked at)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Val

    “It was enough. It was enough to make me realize that most people enjoyed horror because it was far removed from their reality, while I enjoyed it because it showed me I didn’t have it so bad, not really. “ I was once again drawn by the cover! Look how beautiful it is!!! This sounded like something along the lines of Cemetery Boys which I liked so I was keeping an eye on it. I have to say I didn’t even notice the author until I got it and imagine my surprise it’s by Leah Thomas. I read Because You “It was enough. It was enough to make me realize that most people enjoyed horror because it was far removed from their reality, while I enjoyed it because it showed me I didn’t have it so bad, not really. “ I was once again drawn by the cover! Look how beautiful it is!!! This sounded like something along the lines of Cemetery Boys which I liked so I was keeping an eye on it. I have to say I didn’t even notice the author until I got it and imagine my surprise it’s by Leah Thomas. I read Because You’ll Never Meet Me few years back and I absolutely loved it so I expected no less of this book. The story sets place in period of late 90’s to early 2000’s and it focuses on Dani who is coming to terms with the fact that he is trans while also being able to see ghosts. Dani’s only friend is a ghost named Sarah who doesn’t want to speak about her death. The main plot kicks in when Sarah convinces Dani to help some ghosts they run into which turns out to be a lot more dangerous than they expected. I do have to say I think that the synopsis of this book is somewhat misleading. That did not affect my rating or enjoyment of this book but I think for some people it might. The synopsis literally says: “Dani and Sarah might be more than friends, though Dani dares not say so. Dani is afraid that if he tells Sarah he’s trans, she won’t bother haunting him anymore.“ So I totally expected some ghostly romance between Dani and Sarah. However it turns out Sarah has feelings for Dani, but Dani pretty much rejects her for the whole book and it in fact makes him quite uncomfortable. There is actually a different love interest for Dani and I really liked how that relationship developed and even preferred it, I was just totally expecting something else. This is a pretty heavy and dark book. It deals with trauma, murder, assault, sexual abuse, suicide and so on. There is a lot of emphasis on women who have been wronged by men. I thought that was handled really well. There is no sugarcoating, the pain they felt was portrayed as brutal and sick as it really is. However because it deals with such topics it might not be a book for everyone. Personally I loved the characters and the way Leah Thomas writes. All of the side characters were very intriguing. The story was well paced even though there was a lot happening. Some thing were left with an open ending but I feel like it works better that way instead of giving them closure. There are some minor things I take issue with which is why this is a 4 star read for me. Overall I really enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to Leah Thomas’s books in the future.

  11. 4 out of 5

    DK

    2.5 Stars This was tough to rate. Overall this is a depressing book with very dark content and does not match the book summary at all. There were no content warnings on the book and I feel like they were needed for a book in which incest, rape, suicide, abuse, CSA, and murder are a major part of the story. There are parts I really enjoyed but they didn't make up for the suffocating tone. I think if I had different expectations for the book -- and forewarning -- I would feel differently. This was 2.5 Stars This was tough to rate. Overall this is a depressing book with very dark content and does not match the book summary at all. There were no content warnings on the book and I feel like they were needed for a book in which incest, rape, suicide, abuse, CSA, and murder are a major part of the story. There are parts I really enjoyed but they didn't make up for the suffocating tone. I think if I had different expectations for the book -- and forewarning -- I would feel differently. This was like reading a deeply traumatized teen dealing with ghost SVU cases. What I did like: trans MC, ghost mom, the human friend, nostalgia for the late 90s-early 00s, fast pace/quick read

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Stoolfire

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Violet Ghosts by Leah Thomas sounded like it was going to be right up my alley. The description had so much potential to become one of my favorites, but unfortunately it didn't end up working for me. Based on the description, I was expecting something just different from the final product. The reading experience wasn't an enjoyable one. I will say that I appreciated getting to know Dani and that his character is well written. Over I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Violet Ghosts by Leah Thomas sounded like it was going to be right up my alley. The description had so much potential to become one of my favorites, but unfortunately it didn't end up working for me. Based on the description, I was expecting something just different from the final product. The reading experience wasn't an enjoyable one. I will say that I appreciated getting to know Dani and that his character is well written. Overall, though, the story as a whole wasn't quite for me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sydnie

    This is a difficult book to review. There is so much happening in the book so make sure that you check the trigger warnings because there is a lot of dark stuff in this book. It's difficult to summarize what happens in the story, because there is so much going on, but the gist of it is that is Dani, a trans teen, is able to communicate with ghosts, and by the time he meets his best friend Sarah, she's been long dead. He is scared to tell he he is trans because he thinks she'll stop haunting him This is a difficult book to review. There is so much happening in the book so make sure that you check the trigger warnings because there is a lot of dark stuff in this book. It's difficult to summarize what happens in the story, because there is so much going on, but the gist of it is that is Dani, a trans teen, is able to communicate with ghosts, and by the time he meets his best friend Sarah, she's been long dead. He is scared to tell he he is trans because he thinks she'll stop haunting him if he does. This was a really difficult read for me and despite the fun cover, turned out to be something other than what I expected. It does explore gender in a unique was and for that I give it 3.5 stars. **ARC received form NetGalley for an honest review**

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mai

    ✨/⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The least amount of stars possible. I pity the trees that were used in the making of this book. Trash. More in depth review to come.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    So my friends and I often discuss how awesome it would be to have books that center trans characters without centering their trans-ness, and this one comes closer than most of the others I've read, so bonus points are activated. Also, it's just a really good book that's well written and explores the ways positive relationships can become toxic in a really interesting way. CW: Lots. Physical Abuse, Suicide, Child Death (off "screen"), Homophobia, Transphobia, Violence, Gore, Sexual Abuse So my friends and I often discuss how awesome it would be to have books that center trans characters without centering their trans-ness, and this one comes closer than most of the others I've read, so bonus points are activated. Also, it's just a really good book that's well written and explores the ways positive relationships can become toxic in a really interesting way. CW: Lots. Physical Abuse, Suicide, Child Death (off "screen"), Homophobia, Transphobia, Violence, Gore, Sexual Abuse

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sara Ellison

    This is a difficult book to review. There is so much happening here--make sure to check the trigger warnings if you need them, because there is a wide variety of dark stuff in this book, despite the fun cover. It's difficult to summarize because so many things happen, but the general story is Dani, a trans teen, is able to communicate with ghosts, and begins trying to set up a kind of ghost shelter along with his ghost friend, Sarah. No, I do not want to try and describe what a ghost shelter is, This is a difficult book to review. There is so much happening here--make sure to check the trigger warnings if you need them, because there is a wide variety of dark stuff in this book, despite the fun cover. It's difficult to summarize because so many things happen, but the general story is Dani, a trans teen, is able to communicate with ghosts, and begins trying to set up a kind of ghost shelter along with his ghost friend, Sarah. No, I do not want to try and describe what a ghost shelter is, or why the ghosts need it. There was good stuff in this book--the emotional stuff is strong, and there are certain scenes that are going to stick with me. Dani was a good main character--flawed, confused, but strong despite his constant struggles. I loved his ghost mom Patricia, but Sarah.....the relationship between Dani and Sarah gets TOXIC, to the point where it is uncomfortable to read. Not necessarily a bad thing because it is obviously meant to be a disturbing depiction of a bad relationship, but on top of everything else that is going on in this book, an abusive relationship with a ghost just feels like a "....what ELSE can go wrong??" moment. There are just so many things going on in this book. Dani has complex relationships with multiple characters--his mom, Sarah, Patricia, Seiji, and all of these characters have their own complex/dark backstories, and then there are multiple other ghosts that pop in with their own issues. Dani has a lot of baggage from being abused as a child, as well as struggling with being a trans teen in the early 2000s. There is a whole unique ghost lore that has to be introduced and sometimes is a little inconsistent (ghosts can't touch/move objects, except when they can, and also teleportation is randomly introduced and then never mentioned again). Most of this stuff is pretty good, but there's not a strong enough central plot to carry everything--it's mostly just Dani wandering around, making friends with ghosts. But I did like it, and I think that has to do with the uniqueness of the story. It did occur to me recently though that the bare bones of the story (trans teen talks to ghosts) does sound an awful lot like what I know about Cemetery Boys. I haven't read Cemetery Boys yet, so I don't know how similar the stories actually are (if at all), but it is something I've been wondering about. To summarize all that rambling, there was good stuff here, but the story was missing a strong central plot to carry all the dark stuff that was happening. *eARC provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Celia

    Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for a review! This is a book that I would only recommend with heavy content warnings, and an offer for continued conversation/dialogue. Mind you, I would definitely recommend it to some readers, but not without a heads up on the amount of violence in this book! Reading this reminded me of my first time reading SPEAK in middle school–incredibly important, moving, and utterly devastating. There are moments of fun, of lighth Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury for an e-ARC of this book in exchange for a review! This is a book that I would only recommend with heavy content warnings, and an offer for continued conversation/dialogue. Mind you, I would definitely recommend it to some readers, but not without a heads up on the amount of violence in this book! Reading this reminded me of my first time reading SPEAK in middle school–incredibly important, moving, and utterly devastating. There are moments of fun, of lightheartedness, but woof. This is a heavy read! It's been interesting to see other readers focus so much on this being a trans story – being trans is important to Dani, it shapes his relationships, but this is not a story about self-discovery of gender. I really appreciated how well Thomas writes about gender and about the adolescent stumbling blocks of figuring your stuff out while the world feels like it's falling apart. Additionally, this is the first time in a long while I've read a book with an unhealthy friendship wherein the characters... acknowledge that their relationship is toxic! I can't imagine what this book would have meant to me if I had been able to read it in high school. This book is going to stick with me for a long time, in large part because of how mundane the violence is throughout. Don't mistake this for saying that VIOLET GHOSTS doesn't give abuse and assault weight and understand its affect on people; rather, Thomas manages to capture the sense of being a young person who has grown up surrounded by violence, has learned that most people can't be trusted... and still wants to try and find honest and restorative connection in the world. I would definitely hesitate to recommend this book to a younger YA reader (even though, as I opened with, I read SPEAK and other similar books at a very young age!), but I would strongly recommend this book to teachers, to people who interact with kids on the edge of their teenage years, and to teens who have an understanding of how bleak this world can be.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Hallah

    I actually haven't read the book yet and will write another review once I have. But, for anyone reading reviews and considering adding this book to their list, I've been a fan of Thomas's work since she published Because You'll Never Meet Me in 2015. Because You'll Never Meet Me takes the form of two boys writing letters back and forth to one another but they can never meet due to one having a heart condition that requires a pacemaker and the other having an allergy to electricity. It's my favor I actually haven't read the book yet and will write another review once I have. But, for anyone reading reviews and considering adding this book to their list, I've been a fan of Thomas's work since she published Because You'll Never Meet Me in 2015. Because You'll Never Meet Me takes the form of two boys writing letters back and forth to one another but they can never meet due to one having a heart condition that requires a pacemaker and the other having an allergy to electricity. It's my favorite YA book of all time. As reviewers have mentioned, Thomas does a beautiful job using elements of fiction to tangibly describe somewhat unspeakable aspects of humanity. The main characters, Ollie and Moritz, use the complications in their relationship as a jumping-off point to explore the ways in which they repel and attract the people around them as a result of their shared trauma. Another one of her novels is When Light Left Us, centered around a family of three children and a single mother who are dealing with the aftermath of their father/husband leaving suddenly. It uses the strange unreality of alien possession to describe the way that their father's absence exists as a physical truth in the bodies of these children. It's a beautiful novel about the somatic effects left in us by people and events. All of which is to say that Thomas is really skilled in this particular blended genre and a novel about ghosts as a manifestation of severe trauma is exactly where her expertise in writing lies. I can't wait to read this book and would encourage anyone to give it a shot. If the trigger-warnings turn you off but the plot interests you, I would really recommend her other books which all include queer characters and elements of sci-fi/fantasy blended with realistic fiction. I'm obviously partial to Because You'll Never Meet Me and it's sequel Nowhere Near You, but for a book that might be thematically closer to this one, I'd recommend When Light Left Us. You won't regret it.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)

    You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight 3.5* In this book, we meet Dani, who's having a rough time of things. As the new kid, school/social life has been a struggle, of course, and friends are nowhere in sight. Except, however, Sarah, who lives under the bed. Sarah died decades ago, but she's hanging around because her murder remains unsolved. Sarah becomes a bit of a crutch for Dani, who relies on their relationship in lieu of You can find the full review and all the fancy and/or randomness that accompanies it at It Starts at Midnight 3.5* In this book, we meet Dani, who's having a rough time of things. As the new kid, school/social life has been a struggle, of course, and friends are nowhere in sight. Except, however, Sarah, who lives under the bed. Sarah died decades ago, but she's hanging around because her murder remains unsolved. Sarah becomes a bit of a crutch for Dani, who relies on their relationship in lieu of having friendships with, well, living kids.  As the story goes on, it's clear that Sarah and Dani aren't really good for each other, but neither is willing or able to let the other go. More ghosts join the band, and frankly I think Patricia was one of my favorite characters. I also adored Dani's former (alive) enemy Seiji, and found his story to be one of the biggest highlights of the book. Dani has to come to terms with his own past trauma, and some of the things he had done to Seiji because of said trauma. And, Dani is terrified for Sarah to find out that he is a trans male. Which kind of says a lot about Sarah, frankly.  So, there's quite a bit going on here, between the trauma and abuse that both the living and the dead have experienced (and in some cases, continue to experience). Added to the mix is Dani trying to balance the world of the living with the world of the dead, all while being worried what his best (ghost) friend will think of him when she knows his truth. While I enjoyed the story for the most part, I will say that it took a lot of suspension of disbelief for me, which is something I am maybe not the best at.  Bottom Line: Deals with a lot of heavy issues in a very unique way, and if you can suspend some disbelief (or believe in ghosts I guess) and handle the content, then it's definitely worth it!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Randi (Rampant Reading Reviews)

    I received an advanced copy of Violet Ghosts from the publisher so that I could share my review with you! Content Warning: Violet Ghosts contains quite a bit of graphic and triggering content, including scenes of abuse (domestic and child), child molestation, murder, strangulation, violence, rape, transphobia, infant death, suicide, misgendering, toxic friendships, and bullying. Many of these pieces of content are shown on-page, so I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone who might be triggered b I received an advanced copy of Violet Ghosts from the publisher so that I could share my review with you! Content Warning: Violet Ghosts contains quite a bit of graphic and triggering content, including scenes of abuse (domestic and child), child molestation, murder, strangulation, violence, rape, transphobia, infant death, suicide, misgendering, toxic friendships, and bullying. Many of these pieces of content are shown on-page, so I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone who might be triggered by such content. Dani is haunted, both in the literal and figurative sense. Sarah, a ghost Dani found in his childhood bedroom, has been his only friend since a childhood of abuse and bullying drove Dani away from the living. It’s not so bad being best friends with a ghost, especially when she’s the only one with who Dani can really relate. But, Dani’s afraid that he has a secret that will unravel years of friendship if he were to share it with Sarah. Dani is a trans guy, but he can’t tell Sarah because she wouldn’t understand. She doesn’t trust men with good reason, after all, it was a man who strangled her to death at a young age. Dani feels torn between living his life and loving his best friend, You can get your copy of Violet Ghosts today from Bloomsbury YA! I wish that this book would’ve started with a list of content warnings, as it is incredibly graphic and intense at points. From the synopsis, I had thought that this would be a Young Adult novel, but much of the content was extremely mature. I would place it at high-Young Adult, if not New Adult. There were several instances where I struggled with Dani and Sarah’s relationship, specifically where Sarah repeatedly failed to respect Dani’s boundaries. This was especially difficult to read, given the abuse that each of the characters had already gone through. Beyond this, though, I enjoyed many elements of the story. I thought that Dani’s growth was quite impressive and that the ways he worked to help other ghosts were very imaginative. Additionally, I enjoyed Leah Thomas’s writing style, which had an undeniable lyricism to it. My Recommendation- This book deals with some extremely heavy themes, so please take that into consideration before starting. I would recommend this book to fans of murder-mystery shows and podcasts because it has plenty of suspense and tension!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Amanda Shepard (Between-the-Shelves)

    3.5/5 stars Thanks to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this to review! I’ve enjoyed the other Leah Thomas books I’ve read, so I was excited to dig into this one. Just be warned, this book does deal with a lot of heavy topics like: sexual assault, domestic abuse, rape, murder, addiction, suicide, deadnaming, child abuse, and child death. And just death in general. This is definitely one of those books that you’ll want to pay attention to trigger warnings for. Despi 3.5/5 stars Thanks to Bloomsbury and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy of this to review! I’ve enjoyed the other Leah Thomas books I’ve read, so I was excited to dig into this one. Just be warned, this book does deal with a lot of heavy topics like: sexual assault, domestic abuse, rape, murder, addiction, suicide, deadnaming, child abuse, and child death. And just death in general. This is definitely one of those books that you’ll want to pay attention to trigger warnings for. Despite the heavy nature of the book, the characters stand out to me. Not only does Dani have depth, but so do the two ghosts he befriends. One of my favorite things in the book was his evolving relationship with Seiji. Like Dani, Seiji is just misunderstood and accepts Dani as Dani figures out who he is. Their relationship grew into such a supportive one, and I loved seeing it unfold in the book. While I loved the characters and the relationships, the pacing did feel a bit off to me. The beginning felt especially slow, and it took me a while to really get into the book. Once we meet Patricia and start getting into ghost mystery solving, the book picks up its pace. It doesn’t necessarily get easier to read, but the story feels more engaging. As far as the representation goes, I will leave that to trans reviewers (you can read one here). Most of the time, it wasn’t explored a lot unless it related specifically to the plot. All in all, I’m here for the relationships and the ghostly-ness of this book. I would probably only recommend it to certain people, due to the trauma involved, but it can be a helpful metaphor for that.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Liana Ashley

    2.5 rounded up to 3 TW: sexual assault, rape, murder, physical abuse, suicide, transphobia, homophobia, dead-naming Despite its darker subject matter, Violet Ghosts is a quick read that simultaneously follows Dani’s coming-of-age narrative as a trans boy while also serving as a paranormal drama/thriller. I enjoyed the book most when its focus was solely on Dani and his relationships with the people in his life, as well as exploring his gender identity and sexuality. However, I’d have to say overa 2.5 rounded up to 3 TW: sexual assault, rape, murder, physical abuse, suicide, transphobia, homophobia, dead-naming Despite its darker subject matter, Violet Ghosts is a quick read that simultaneously follows Dani’s coming-of-age narrative as a trans boy while also serving as a paranormal drama/thriller. I enjoyed the book most when its focus was solely on Dani and his relationships with the people in his life, as well as exploring his gender identity and sexuality. However, I’d have to say overall there weren’t any characters I felt strongly about nor did I love the paranormal plot line, which was often tedious and a struggle to get through. Given the heavy topics explored in the novel, I also wasn’t expecting the writing style to sound so juvenile most of the time. This unfortunately often took me out of the story, especially during instances like calling an abuser “****head ****ington.” I felt the novel could have been a much more hard-hitting discussion on abuse, power dynamics, and trauma but instead Violet Ghosts seems more concerned with glossing over each of these in a passive manner. Thanks so much to Netgalley and Bloomsbury Books for providing me a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Markevia Jackson

    Violet Ghosts by Leah Thomas EXPECTED RELEASE DATE: JUNE 15, 2021 I received an ARC from Lark & Owl Booksellers in exchange for an honest review. I must say this book does have a trigger warning: abuse, molestation, rape, transphobia, suicide, strangulation Description: Dani's best friend, Sarah, is a ghost. But maybe that's normal when you've spent your childhood running from an abusive parent. Dani and Sarah might be more than friends, though Dani dares not say so. Dani is afraid that if he tel Violet Ghosts by Leah Thomas EXPECTED RELEASE DATE: JUNE 15, 2021 I received an ARC from Lark & Owl Booksellers in exchange for an honest review. I must say this book does have a trigger warning: abuse, molestation, rape, transphobia, suicide, strangulation Description: Dani's best friend, Sarah, is a ghost. But maybe that's normal when you've spent your childhood running from an abusive parent. Dani and Sarah might be more than friends, though Dani dares not say so. Dani is afraid that if he tells Sarah he's trans, she won't bother haunting him anymore. Sarah's got good reason to distrust boys, having been strangled by one. After Sarah and Dani come across another ghost haunted by her own brutal murder, they set out to bring peace and safety to spirits like her. But when an old rival reenters Dani's life, their unexpected friendship gives Dani a strange new feeling of belonging. As Dani starts to find his place in the living world, he'll need to let go of his ghosts. Review: This book packs a lot (see trigger warning). From what I read from the description I went in expecting more or less something along the lines of a paranormal romance with LGBTQ representation. Now technically it does include those elements, but I would not classify this as a romance. With that being said if you're willing to endure all of the heavy topics that are explored in this book then you won't be disappointed in the overall story. The way the author tackles the topic of trauma was what made me enjoy this book the most. Personally, I'm not usually interested in books with ghosts as characters. So, it was definitely a surprise to me that I even committed to reading this book all the way through. I think the biggest takeaway for me with this book was the author's way of exploring these very difficult subjects in a way that I could see young readers really identifying with. As a teacher it's very easy for me to lean towards cute books with LGBTQ rep but I understand the importance of young readers needing books that explore these heavy topics that they are unfortunately able to identify with. With that being said the execution of those heavy topics is more important than just simply writing a book built with trauma. I think Thomas did a wonderful job of this and I can't wait to read more.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    Words cannot describe how much I loved this book. I absolutely adored Dani and his internal thoughts and how he interacted with people. We see his journey with other people and interacting with them. I loved his mother/son relationship with Patricia and how accepting and loving she was towards him. I also loved how he and Seiji interacted and how their relationship was so platonic until the end, which was something I found amazing. Dani found himself a friend, a queer friend, way before a romant Words cannot describe how much I loved this book. I absolutely adored Dani and his internal thoughts and how he interacted with people. We see his journey with other people and interacting with them. I loved his mother/son relationship with Patricia and how accepting and loving she was towards him. I also loved how he and Seiji interacted and how their relationship was so platonic until the end, which was something I found amazing. Dani found himself a friend, a queer friend, way before a romantic relationship, and that really showed the importance of platonic relationships. I also really enjoyed Dani working through Sarah's TERF ideas, and how he grapples with the fact that not all men are bad, and while it's fine to not trust any man immediately, being a man and forming important relationships with men isn't terrible. I thought that it was amazing for Dani to go through since I had also had struggled with TERF rhetoric and realized that it is perfectly acceptable to not be a woman and to desire relationships with people who aren't women. I thought this book was incredibly powerful and amazing, and I'm so glad I got the arc for this book.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jayden

    *thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review* Dani met his best friend Sarah, when she’d already been dead for 20 years. Sarah was murdered by a man, and Dani is not allowed to ask anything about it, but he is well-aware of her hatred for men, and that, along with the fact that Sarah is from a less progressive time, makes Dani fear letting Sarah know his true self, he’s a trans boy. This book explores topics of abuse, sexual abuse, murder, transph *thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review* Dani met his best friend Sarah, when she’d already been dead for 20 years. Sarah was murdered by a man, and Dani is not allowed to ask anything about it, but he is well-aware of her hatred for men, and that, along with the fact that Sarah is from a less progressive time, makes Dani fear letting Sarah know his true self, he’s a trans boy. This book explores topics of abuse, sexual abuse, murder, transphobia, suicide, and a very large theme of violence against women. Dani and Sarah meet their friend Patricia, another murder victim, in their teens and decide to open a kind of shelter for wayward ghosts. Sarah insists it be all-female, believing that men can’t be victims. Dani, Sarah and Patricia have a dysfunctional little ghost family, and Sarah is frankly quite abusive (with reason, and it’s acknowledged). I enjoyed this book, it was unique, with great ghost lore and explorations of trauma and trans identity with just a little dash of queer romance in there. The heavy themes are important to note, but it was a great read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Vera

    Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read an ARC of Violet Ghosts! Unfortunately, this book missed the mark for me in a lot of ways. The idea of the book really worked for me, and I was excited to read about a trans boy who helps ghosts find peace. However, I found the plot of the book to be not very exciting, and I had trouble connecting with the characters. I also found the themes of the book to be way too heavy-handed, and I felt like the author was really Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read an ARC of Violet Ghosts! Unfortunately, this book missed the mark for me in a lot of ways. The idea of the book really worked for me, and I was excited to read about a trans boy who helps ghosts find peace. However, I found the plot of the book to be not very exciting, and I had trouble connecting with the characters. I also found the themes of the book to be way too heavy-handed, and I felt like the author was really hitting readers over the head with the idea that men/boys are evil and hurt women/girls. I didn't find a lot of nuance in the portrayal of any of the characters, and I especially disliked the main ghost character, Sarah. The only thing that saved the book for me a bit was the character of Seiji, who is misunderstood throughout the book but eventually becomes Dani's love interest. I wanted to get to know Seiji a bit better, and I think perhaps the book would have been better if it had been told from his perspective or in alternating perspectives. I really wanted to like this one, but unfortunately, it just wasn't for me.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. My copy is an ARC not received for a review You know this was going pretty good until it was ruined by the worst trope in existence. The character who isn't interested in dating and says so, finally "matures" and has a relationship "upgrade" from friends to romantic. It happened right at the very end too! It could have been an amazing book about friendship and figuring out a non toxic friendship after so long of just having Sarah but instead they opted for an unnecessary and underdeveloped roman My copy is an ARC not received for a review You know this was going pretty good until it was ruined by the worst trope in existence. The character who isn't interested in dating and says so, finally "matures" and has a relationship "upgrade" from friends to romantic. It happened right at the very end too! It could have been an amazing book about friendship and figuring out a non toxic friendship after so long of just having Sarah but instead they opted for an unnecessary and underdeveloped romantic twist at the very end as if romance is some kind of reward for making it that far. It could have been a good story about being a gay trans man too if it had gone that direction earlier but it wasn't addressed at all until literally the final pages, and Dani had even said he didn't like boys and he didn't think he liked anyone romantically. That screams aromantic which also could have been an amazing development if it had been addressed more. I think Dani's orientation and relationships could have been shown a lot better if the book had taken one path and focused on developing it instead of taking several paths and making a jumbled mess.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Bainbridge

    I received this ARC from NetGalley in return for an honest review: I was hesitant to read "Violet Ghosts" based on other reviews claiming it is "joyless" and "soulless." And after reading the very jarring first chapter, I nearly threw in the towel myself. But by the end of the book, my opinion has changed completely. This book deals with incredibly difficult subject matter, from domestic abuse to molestation, and the trigger warnings provided certainly should not be taken lightly. But to call the I received this ARC from NetGalley in return for an honest review: I was hesitant to read "Violet Ghosts" based on other reviews claiming it is "joyless" and "soulless." And after reading the very jarring first chapter, I nearly threw in the towel myself. But by the end of the book, my opinion has changed completely. This book deals with incredibly difficult subject matter, from domestic abuse to molestation, and the trigger warnings provided certainly should not be taken lightly. But to call the work "soulless" is a disservice to this incredible story. I found joy in the way that Danny learns that first impressions are often incorrect, or at the very least incomplete. I found joy in the way that Patricia and Seiji accept Danny without hesitation, and support his transition unconditionally. And I absolutely found joy in getting to know these characters. And I fell in love with each and every one of them. Was this a difficult read? Definitely. But it was also one that I found rewarding, especially regarding its discussion of important trans and woman's issues. And the fact that the writing is engaging and highly consumable is just the icing on the cake.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    2.5/5 stars This books is so hard for me to review. It is about how Dani his plagued by not just physical ghosts, but trauma and worry for the future. The tag warnings are no joke for this book, and Thomas can definitely emotionally impact the reader with her writing. I am not trans, but I empathized so much with Dani that I had to take breaks with reading. I like Dani as a character, and I'm not really sure how to phrase this, but I did not feel that the trans representation is authentic to what 2.5/5 stars This books is so hard for me to review. It is about how Dani his plagued by not just physical ghosts, but trauma and worry for the future. The tag warnings are no joke for this book, and Thomas can definitely emotionally impact the reader with her writing. I am not trans, but I empathized so much with Dani that I had to take breaks with reading. I like Dani as a character, and I'm not really sure how to phrase this, but I did not feel that the trans representation is authentic to what the book is being marketed. It felt like the only reason Dani is trans to cause tension between him and Sarah and to tell other narratives through Sarah than to tell an authentic trans story. Overall this is an important book, and I'm sure others will get more out of this than me. This is not a happy book, and not all books have to be. I just struggled with reading it, and some aspects did not sit well with me even after finishing it and waiting to review it. Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury USA for a copy of the eARC in exchange for an honest review!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Ro

    The blurb for this makes it seem very different than what it is. This is about a trans male character realizing he is trans. And going through a lot of trauma, while everyone around him is dealing with their own traumas. I liked that it was about ghosts finding healing just as much as the main live characters. I enjoyed the perspective shift, that people who’ve been with you for ages might be toxic for you, friends and family. And that people you might’ve seen as one thing may actually be another, The blurb for this makes it seem very different than what it is. This is about a trans male character realizing he is trans. And going through a lot of trauma, while everyone around him is dealing with their own traumas. I liked that it was about ghosts finding healing just as much as the main live characters. I enjoyed the perspective shift, that people who’ve been with you for ages might be toxic for you, friends and family. And that people you might’ve seen as one thing may actually be another, and be very good. It ended on a positive note, which I really liked. The ending, I really liked. But the rest of the book was pretty hard, and for a lot of it, there weren’t many moments of joy. Some people enjoy harder stuff like this and if that’s for you, it’s probably a good read, but I’m a little saddened by YA books that still have trans protagonists suffer so much, for so much of the book. I’ve rated four stars because it’s still a pretty well told story but for me it’s not something I can see myself revisiting (so might justify a 3 star if I ever go back to change it).

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