The Ghosts We Keep
When Liam Cooper's older brother Ethan is killed in a hit-and-run, Liam has to not only learn to face the world without one of the people he loved the most, but also face the fading relationship with his two best friends.
Feeling more alone and isolated than ever, Liam finds themself sharing time with Marcus, Ethan's best friend, and through Marcus, Liam finds the one person that seems to know exactly what they're going through, for the better, and the worse.
This book is about grief. But it's also about why we live. Why we have to keep moving on, and why we should.
As Liam struggles with their own grief and anxiety, they are desperately missing their brother and trying to piece together the truths they know and the ones they are learning. This is ultimately a book of understanding yourself, coming out and its echoes, and redefining the world after a huge loss.
What I loved: This was a really heartfelt read about grief, mental illness, and the struggles around coming out. Liam is a character who is going through all the feelings around the loss of their brother, while also struggling with the loneliness of not having anyone who truly understands how they feel. While the main plots are around their grief and anxiety resulting from their brother's death, the other themes are equally as compelling around friendship, coming out, identity, and the weight of expectations. This was not only shown through Liam's story, but also through what they come to understand about their brother and his life before his untimely death.
This book felt real and raw, and the way everything came together felt so genuine and heartfelt. This type of loss can feel unimaginable, but Liam embodied a lot of the feelings that people may experience after such a death. The ultimate resolution felt incredibly important, and I won't specify so as to avoid spoilers, but there is a lot of strength in Liam's ultimate decisions.
Final verdict: Genuine and heartfelt, THE GHOSTS WE KEEP is a beautiful YA contemporary about grief, loss, and identity that is sure to stick with the reader for a long time. Highly recommend picking up this book!