Sunday, November 18, 2012

Review of Break My Heart 1,000 Times

Waters, Daniel.  Break My Heart 1,000 Times.  Hyperion, 2012.

The Event, which caused sickness, environmental damage, and chaos, took the lives of between one and four million people, according to government estimates.  It has left heartache, ghosts, and ghostly holograms behind.  There is a boy teenage ghost living in Veronica Calder’s house, and her father’s ghost makes an appearance every morning at the same time.  More and more ghosts are showing up, and their presence is getting stronger by the day! 

Veronica, “Ronnie”, and her friend, Kirk Lane, begin investigating the ghosts for one of the teachers at their high school and stumble upon a set of related “cold case” serial murders.  What they also discover is that Mr. Bittner, another one of their teachers, has been waiting for his daughter’s ghost to show up for years in another girl’s body.  Kirk thinks he has set his sights on Ronnie to be the vessel to give his daughter another chance at life!  His dilemma is to convince Veronica and to keep her safe!

What a creepy, suspenseful ghost story Daniel Waters has written!  The meshing of the ghosts and their stories with serial murders was simply ingenious on his part!  I loved how Brian, the teenage ghost living in Ronnie’s house, played a large part in the story and was actually trying to protect her.  His story was just heart-wrenching, but tied right in with one of the murders and added a great twist in the plot!

Ronnie and Kirk are both strong, brave characters, even going so far as to hunt ghosts in the middle of the night in abandoned buildings!  No way would you catch me doing that!  It is Ronnie’s friend, Janine, who really grows and matures throughout the book.  Even though she is deathly afraid of ghosts, she ends up being courageous enough to overcome her fears and help Ronnie near the end of the book.

History teacher August Bittner, is a most deceptively sinister character.  He is obviously mentally disturbed, and is possibly both schizophrenic and manic depressant.    While his outward demeanor exhibits concern and passion for Ronnie, it is extremely obvious he has malevolent ideas.  He absolutely oozes creepiness!

Throughout the book there are a lot of complex theories about the afterlife and peoples’ memories.  There is also an abundance of foreshadowing, and many of the characters exhibit signs of mental problems, possibly caused by PESD, “Post Event Stress Disorder” (Daniel Waters’s term).

Break My Heart 1,000 Times is a real-page turner!  My disclaimer:  Don’t read it alone at night in the dark!  Readers who enjoy thrillers and ghost stories will love it!  I highly recommend it for middle school, high school and public libraries!

**Reviewer’s note:  The copy reviewed was an ARC received from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.