Friday, May 17, 2013

Becky's View: Absent by Katie Williams

Absent by Katie Williams
♦publisher: Chronicle Books
♦release date: May 21st, 2013
♦hardcover, 184 pages
♦intended audience: Young adult
♦source: from publisher for honest review
Forever is a long time to be stuck in high school.
Seventeen-year-old Paige is dead, the victim of a freak fall from
the roof during Physics class. Now she’s a ghost, permanently
bound to the grounds of her high school. It isn’t all bad, she can
find out everyone’s secrets, which can be amusing—for a while.
But then Paige hears something that isn’t amusing at all: the
rumor spread by the most popular girl at school that her death
wasn’t an accident—that she supposedly jumped on purpose.
Paige is desperate to stop the gossip, but what can a ghost do?
Then Paige discovers something amazing. She can possess
living people when they think of her, and she can make them do
almost anything. Maybe, just maybe, she can get inside the girl
who’s responsible for the stories. . . and have a little fun turning the tables while she’s at it.

ReviewAbsent is a story chock full of interesting concepts, great realistic characters, a bit of fun, a smidge of revenge, and the big mysterious question of “Did she? Or didn’t she?”  We meet Paige, a normal high school teen who is just acclimating to her afterlife.  Her life has ended way too early after a freak accident sends her falling from the roof during a class science experiment.  Turns out, when you die in school, you stay in school…forever.  But she’s not alone.  She is there with two others who died on school grounds---Brooke, who was recent enough that Paige knew her, and Evan;  the girls don’t know how long ago he died and he refuses to say.  But they make an interesting crew.

What bothers Paige most about her death is that she knows she didn't jump, but the rumors that she did are running rampant and she worries what people will think and that it will get back to her parents, hurting them even more. She's even more disturbed by it when her best friend starts to believe she jumped.  So she takes it in to her own hands to stop the gossip and in the bizarre way she goes about doing it, she learns a few lessons---some harsh and some welcome---and she gets to experience a few things she missed out on in her short life.

One of my favorite ideas in this story is that whenever a living person thinks of someone who has died, it is something that the dead can physically feel and hear.  It doesn't matter if you were friends or lovers, enemies or strangers---if a person thinks of you, you can feel it in your afterlife as a palpable thing.  Paige makes an incredible discovery about just how strong a connection those thoughts can be, and it gives her an ability she never thought possible---and that's where the story really gets interesting.  It turns into not only a story about Paige setting the record straight and getting a little revenge in the process, but also about the way she strives to touch a few people's lives that she should have while she was still alive.

The ending wraps up with excitement and quite a surprising twist!  This whole story was really beautifully done: a little light-hearted humor, a look at the different ways people grieve, a bit of romantic drama, and a unique take on the afterlife.  Absent is a heartfelt story of a girl whose coming of age comes, sadly, after she's already dead.

 Find Katie Williams online:  Website  •  Twitter  •  Facebook

Purchase Absent:  Amazon  •  BookDepository  •  Indiebound


  1. I really liked this book. It was a quick read, but it was chock full of goodness!

    1. Wasn't it?? I was pretty surprised by how much was packed into this little 184 pages!

  2. This one actually sounds really cool! I like the concept that she's able to posses people and stand up for herself that way. That's so cool! This was a great review!

    1. I loved that, too...and what kept Paige very real was that she used the possessions for both noble and not-so-noble purposes. LOL She did still ahve some growing up to do after all!

  3. This one sounds good! I had a review copy but it looked all weird on my e-reader so I'll have to pick up a physical copy soon!

    1. I'd recommend it, Leanna! It's definitely worth a read and I'd love to hear what you think!

  4. I love a beautiful book, so this is going on my wishlist. Great review.

  5. I admittedly haven't heard much about this book (I think I've only saw it once on another book blog,) but its cover caught me eye. I love a short, thoughtful story any time...and you piqued my interest with the "light-hearted humor." It sounds like a great summer read, even though the whole "posession" thing has been done so often recently.

    Lilian @ A Novel Toybox

  6. Just picked this up from the library today. Can't wait to start it plus sometimes having a book under 200 pages is just a relief :)