“Absent” Katie Williams

ARC (Advance Reading Copy). Published May 21, 2013. Chronicle Books. 182 pp.

AbsentSeventeen-year-old Paige had her whole life in front of her. Until she wound up dead. Now, she’s a ghost stuck forever at the school with Evan and Brooke, two other students who also died in the building. They can see everyone living their lives, but their old lives are gone forever. Evan has been there for years, while Brooke arrived just a few months before Paige. Floating around and listening to other people’s conversation is not how Paige wants to spend her life, but she doesn’t seem to have a choice.

However, when she overhears a rumor being started by the school’s Queen Bee that she’d committed suicide, Paige is determined to end the rumor. She doesn’t know how she’ll do that since she’s just a ghost, but accidentally discovers if someone is thinking about her she can inhabit their bodies. Thus begins her new adventures in various student’s bodies as she seeks to find out the real reason behind her death. What she finds out would kill her if she wasn’t already dead.

Students aged 14 and older will contemplate social issues such as suicidal tendencies, drug use, friendships, homosexuality, bullying and many other threads which are interwoven into “Absent.” It is a good book to use in teen book clubs as it will spur much conversation.

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