Friday, August 16, 2019

"We Are the Ghosts" by Vicky Skinner

We Are the Ghosts
by Vicky Skinner

We Are the Ghosts by Vicky Skinner

We Are the Ghosts by Vicky Skinner is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for my review, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

After her estranged brother suddenly dies, a girl embarks on a road trip to rediscover who her brother really was in Vicky Skinner’s contemporary YA novel, We Are the Ghosts.
When Ellie’s estranged brother, Luke, dies in a car accident, she’s not sure whether to be devastated that she lost the person who was once her best friend or enraged, still, that he left without a word a year ago. Now, the only people who seem to understand what she’s going through are Luke’s best friend and his ex-girlfriend, who she bonds with over their desire to figure out where Luke went when he walked out of their lives.
As she gets closer to them, and closer to Cade, a boy who seems determined to get to know her better, she realizes that she’s not the only one with reasons to be angry at Luke. And when Ellie makes a discovery that changes everything, she and her new friends hit the road, hoping that following Luke’s trail will bring them answers about the life Luke was living away from them.

I know every mark on this map. The big, sloppy Xs belonging to Luke, the small, more precise ones belonging to Wes, the little, stubby stars belonging to my own hand. The notes in the margins are ones I’ve memorized, things like best place to view the Mississippi and best beach in Cali.
You should take it,” Luke said to me that morning, the morning he left, his eyes still smiling like they normally did, giving away nothing. “You know I’ve got the route memorized, but I know you haven’t been doing your homework.” I’d laughed as he pinned the map to my wall, mostly because he was right. I never contributed as much as Luke and Wes did to the trip.
I look down at the map and run my finger over the line that connects city-to-city, from Eaton to New Orleans to St. Louis to Chicago. Michigan was never in the plan.
I take out my phone and open a new message, even more terrified than I was when I stood in Wes’s hallway. If my relationship with Wes is shaky at the very best, my relationship with Gwen is a train wreck at the very best.
But I send the message anyway.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“Recommend to those who love drama, emotion, and coming-of-age stories.” ~ School Library Journal
“This is categorized as YA but somehow seemed to surpass YA for me a little bit. I found myself feeling what I imagined Ellie would be feeling while I anxiously awaited the answers she was seeking. In short, this was a lightened dark-themed novel with depth to it that kept me entertained throughout.” ~ sophb214
We Are the Ghosts is such a thought-provoking book that’ll certainly get you thinking and wondering about life issues/people around you/your own adventure. I really appreciate the overall concept of seeking the ultimate truth of something seemingly mysterious yet makes perfect sense. Ellie, Cade, and their friends’ road trip is definitely a story you don’t want to miss and I’m sure you’ll realize that you are the main hero in your own story of life by the time you finished reading this.” ~ Jasmine *Simple Reader*
“So, so good! It’s a road trip and a mystery and a romance and a sibling story, as well as a really complex exploration of grief and loss. I found the story’s protagonist, Ellie, to be incredibly relatable, and undeniably likable in her many imperfections. She feels so real.” ~ MK
“Skinner uses Ellie's choices throughout the novel and effectively placed flashbacks to showcase the complicated nature of grief and forgiveness. Readers will connect with Ellie's struggle, the complexity of family, and how we don't always know lost loved ones as well as we thought we did.” ~ Romance Addict

My Review
Luke left his family home in Eaton, Texas, over a year ago, and no one has heard from him since. Then his family finds out that he has just died in a car crash in Ann Arbor, Michigan. On the day of his funeral, Ellie receives a bucket list map - created by Luke, his sister Ellie, and his best friend Wes three years ago - mailed from an address in Dexter, Michigan. Accompanied by Wes, Gwen (Luke’s ex-girlfriend and Wes’s current girlfriend), and Cade (her once-almost-boyfriend), Ellie sets out on a road trip to find out what really happened to Luke. This should be interesting.
The group make some stops and have a series of adventures in the towns marked on the map in question: the first real stage where Elvis performed in Shreveport, Louisiana; the Mississippi River and a fortune teller in New Orleans, Louisiana; the Gateway Arch in St Louis, Missouri; the catacombs and Monument Circle in Indianapolis, Indiana; Lake Erie in Newport, Michigan; and, finally, Dexter, Michigan, where they locate the address from where the map was sent to Ellie. Along the way, they also find out a few things about themselves, uncover secrets they have been hiding from each other, and discover the truth surrounding Luke’s disappearance. None of them will ever be the same again.
The current-day story is told from Ellie’s point-of-view, interspersed with flashbacks in italics from the time before Luke left home. The relationship between brother and sister Luke and Ellie is so sweet. I especially love what Luke did for Ellie on her first day of high school. Ellie’s mother, on the other hand, is a nightmare, and we never really find out why she acts the way she does. Apart from the overuse of the phrase “scrub my hands over my face”, the writing is beautiful, heartfelt, and insightful. I found myself highlighting so many passages!
Don’t miss this story of family, friendship, forgiveness, and overcoming grief. It will leave you pondering: Who are the ghosts? Those who die or those who are left behind?
Warnings: coarse language, sexual references, underage drinking.

Some of My Favorite Lines
“I’d rather be the one going in the ground than the one witnessing it.”
“All the things we want to ask each other lie on the floor between us.”
“I wish it could be like this all the time. I wish I could just erase everything between us and everything that’s happened and go back to my normal life, but I don’t even know what normal is anymore.”
“This trip is about getting some kind of answers, even though I don’t even know the questions.”


About the Author
Born and raised in Texas, I don’t act like much of a Texan. I like cold weather and hate country music. I have a gorgeous husband, two dogs, and a Literature degree from the University of Texas at Dallas. If I’m not at home reading a book or doing laundry, I’m probably at the bookstore, nannying three rambunctious boys, or stuck on the side of the road with car trouble. I’m a reader, a writer, and a bit of a crazy person.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a print copy of We Are the Ghosts by Vicky Skinner (US only).


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