What worked: Engaging tale of a teen who not only sees, but engages with her dead mother. Veronica, or V, is quirky and pushes people away except a tight group of friends. I really liked Veronica. Even though she might come across as eccentric, there's a vulnerability to her. She's very close to her friend Leo, who ends up moving away to go to college. Her tight circle of friends seem to be dissolving around her during her senior year of high school.
Sawyer is that popular kid that seems to have people gravitate to him. I really love how the author pulls back that facade and show the 'true' Sawyer. He's one that loves his younger sister and will do anything for her. He also cleans up the messes his alcoholic mother leaves. His mother is that extreme parent that basically takes over their child's life, while ignoring their own.
He deals with his anxiety with a dangerous addiction to jumping off high cliffs. He craves the rush it gives him and continues to want to jump even after he breaks his arm.
When V and Sawyer come together, after Sawyer's mom rents the first floor of Veronica's house, there's instant chemistry. These two at first seem to be polar opposites. He's the popular jock and she's the quirky teen that hangs with the outsider kids. They work together on an AP English project. Sawyer is skeptical at first as it's on ghosts, then slowly warms up.
I also like how the writer shows what the real 'monsters' are in the house. I loved how it didn't end up being the trite cliche. The fears that V feels about following in her mother's footsteps are shown in very realistic passages. Also kuddos on the scene where Sawyer confronts his mother and stands strong.
Subtle hints of creepiness mixed with highly engaging writing. For sure one of McGarry's best novels with a sympathetic heroine and hero that readers will be cheering for.