Absent – Book Review

Absent – Book Review

What would happen if you were to die tragically, but could never cross over to the other side? Having to “live” – the term used loosely of course – the rest of your strange existence out in the high school where you lost your life sounds like a horror movie in and of itself. You have to watch everyone else go on about their lives, when you can’t go on with yours.

Sucks, doesn’t it?

By the time the story begins, our main girl Paige is already dead, wandering the halls of her high school listening to what people have to say about her death. It doesn’t help that she can only stay on the grounds of her school. Anytime she tries to go past the parking lot, she is whisked away to the spot on the roof where she died. Why does it happen like that? Nobody really knows. None of the rest of the ghosts there can understand why they are stuck there, or why they have to revisit the spot where they lost their lives when they try to leave the school. At first it just sucks, but then she starts to hear that there is a rumor going on about her death. Some people are saying that she did it on purpose, like she would end her life in front of her Physics class like that. She’s pissed, especially because it was just a freak accident. She didn’t want to die that day, and she certainly didn’t want to kill herself on that day. So why are people so quick to believe it?
It doesn’t help either, that she can’t clear her name, with her being dead and all. Or can she?
Paige isn’t entirely sure how she ended up discovering it, but once she did, she just couldn’t help herself. She found out that she could temporarily inhabit another person’s body. She could be alive again, all her thoughts and memories and actions her own, even if just for a moment. So, of course, once she heard that rumors were going around about the circumstances of her death, she got busy trying to get everyone to see the truth. It was a strange sensation to her though, because she could feel them fighting against her sometimes. It was like they knew that something was wrong and they didn’t want another spirit inhabiting their body. In all honesty, they reacting in a way that anyone else would normally react, but to Paige it felt like they were fighting what she needed to do. Sometimes she was stronger than them, other times they just gave in and let her do what she needed to.
I considered this book to be very moving to me. Paige had to learn how to accept what happened in her life, and somehow come to terms that people were going to believe what would seem to be completely preposterous to her because they didn’t know the entire story. The kids in that school had a rumor on how Brooke, one of the other ghosts that Paige is stuck with, died that Brooke never tried to fight. It was as if that was how these kids had to deal with two girls dying in their school mere months apart from one another. It was one tragedy after another and it rocked their world. It especially devastated Paige’s best friend, who for a while was actually angry at Paige for dying, like she did it on purpose. Maybe that was how the rumor started in Paige’s eyes, especially since it seemed like her best friend didn’t care at all about her anymore. But every single person who knew Paige had to come to terms with the fact that she was dead, that she wasn’t coming back, and learn how to live without her.
The ending of this book was really heartwarming, and made me believe that good things can actually come from dying. They never show what happened on the other side, when they felt the mural painted in the hallway and how warm and alive it felt to them. But maybe that’s a good thing, and maybe that’s just how the book should have ended. It ended with the hope of knowing that things were going to get better for Paige, better for Brooke, better for their friend Evan who has been there longer than anyone else in that school has. Even though they were dead and were stuck in that school, they had one another, and were finally able to move on to a whole new adventure.

Rated: 5/5 Stars

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