Protagonists Brooklyn and Nico are both haunted by the deaths of two classmates—best friends Lucca and Gabe. Lucca was Brooklyn’s boyfriend and Nico’s brother. In a paranormal twist, both are visited by the ghosts of the two boys, and all signs seem to point that the supernatural world wants Brooklyn and Nico to be friends. Chasing Brooklyn is narrated in alternating chapters between the two protagonists’ perspectives, covering the development of their friendship as they deal with grief and loss.
A lot of aspects of this book are a bit cheesy and clichéd. I think Lisa Schroeder’s poetry helped alleviate some of the near-suffocating fluff, though. Poetry lends a story rhythm and fluidity, and the sections where Brooklyn was reunited with her boyfriend’s ghost, etc., didn’t feel as cloying as they could have otherwise.
Beyond that, I think Schroeder’s free verse is good. It’s simple, and maybe a trifle flowery, but it’s also honest. It was so simple that at first I wasn’t certain if I would like it, but once I got a feel for Brooklyn and Nico, things flowed better, and I really began to get into the story, to feel it, so to speak.
Sometimes-sappy or not, I think Chasing Brooklyn offers a real view of what it’s like to lose someone you love, and how it’s hard to move on from that. Even the paranormal aspect didn’t throw off the authenticity in the author’s narration. The things Brooklyn and Nico were going through felt truthful to me, and that’s what matters most with a story like this, regardless of the clichés or the ghosts.
For lovers of novels in verse, Chasing Brooklyn is a great read. Schroeder’s style makes this a quick read that’s nevertheless honest and thoughtful. I’m personally not even a huge fan of ghosts or the like present in my contemporary fiction, but that didn’t feel out of place at all.