Rachel Reviews: Ordinary Ghosts by Eireann Corrigan

Ordinary Ghosts by Eireann Corrigan
Paperback, 328 pages
Published August 1st 2008 by Push
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
How I Read It: I borrowed it from the library

Rating: 4 Stars

For my rating system, please click here

Blurb (as stolen from BookLikes): Sometimes when life haunts you, you’re better off becoming the ghost. Emil Simon feels invisible enough. He counts as a nonentity at his elite preparatory school and makes barely a dent in his father’s thoughts. When his older brother runs away, he entrusts Emil with a master key to Caramoor Academy. Soon Emil is sneaking into the school at night to explore … and falling for a faculty daughter who sneaks in for reasons of her own. This is a novel about living with disappearances… and willing yourself to appear.

I love YA books with a male MC. I don’t exactly know when I came to that conclusion but naturally, I’ve decided I want to read more of them. I’ve got a small list I’m trying to get through and Ordinary Ghosts seemed like a good place to start.

While I did find it hard to read at times, (this is only because the book and font were weirdly small) I was intrigued from the start. I really liked Emil. He made me laugh. He’s clearly lonely and definitely struggling, missing both his mother (who passed away only a few months before) and his brother (who mysteriously left town not long after). While never super close to begin with, his dad is now a bit of an absent parent in the way that he’s not dealing well with his own grief and has emotionally withdrawn from Emil. Instead, he is constantly getting on his case about school work and getting high grades. So it’s no surprise when Emil grasps the distraction of the key to Caramoor Academy with both hands and takes advantage of his dad’s 4 day business trip to go exploring at night. There, he meets Jade, daughter of the school art teacher and a relationship starts to blossom.

What I liked:

– Emil’s voice: it was honest and refreshing. Eireann Corrigan didn’t shy away from typical teenage boy drug use and swearing (can I just say, I love swearing. In books, in movies, in real life – ALL THE TIME) and I really liked that it was true to how teenagers are.

– The relationship between Jade and Emil: Though it developed quite quickly for the time frame of the book, it was really well done. They had a bit of a false start, and there was, of course, the usual awkwardness, but they helped each other through some tough moments. And hands up for a well-written, first-time sex scene!

– Eireann Corrigan’s ability to make Ethan’s presence so palpable, even though he is barely in the book: Emil’s brother is clearly someone who he looks up to and admires so Ethan is talked about a lot throughout the story. I was impressed that we really got a sense of who Ethan was even though Emil doesn’t actually catch up with him until towards the end of the book.

Ordinary Ghosts is one I’ll be book pushing a bit from now on, I think. I’m sad/annoyed it’s not more well known. It’s one of those books that slowly creeps up on you and you don’t realise at the time how much you’re enjoying it, but I really felt it when I had finished. I want to read more of her books.

Definitely give this book a go if you, like me, are into male protagonists… And then come back and comment, let me know what you think!

– Rachel

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