Exclusive Review: Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder

If you’ve never read one of Lisa Schroeder’s YA novels, you may be a little thrown off at first. After all, her books aren’t your traditional YA novels. That’s because Schroeder writes in a style known as “novels in verse.” That is, it’s sort of a collection of poems which — combined — tell a story. But once you get used to the style, it will sweep you off your feet, as will Schroeder’s knack for amazingly emotional storytelling.

Chasing Brooklyn, Schroeder’s newest novel, is beautiful, heartbreaking, and breathtaking — and by far, my personal favorite of her YA novels. By using verse, Schroeder gets down to the very basest emotions of her characters — which is key for the types of stories she writes. All three of her YA novels deal with death in some way — in fact, Chasing Brooklyn is a companion to her first YA novel, I Heart You, You Haunt Me.

Chasing Brooklyn tells the parallel stories of Brooklyn and Nico, as they cope with mutual losses. The story takes place one year after the death of Lucca — Brooklyn’s boyfriend and Nico’s brother. As the story begins, Brooklyn and Nico are faced with another unexpected loss — the overdose death of their mutal friend, Gabe.

Soon after, Gabe’s ghost begins haunting Brooklyn — tormenting her in her dreams, and leaving her to wonder why Lucca isn’t visiting her dreams instead. Meanwhile, Lucca is haunting Nico — urging him to help Brooklyn. But he can’t seem to figure out why. As both Brookyln and Nico try to figure out why they’re being haunted, they find comfort in each other — but neither can bring themselves to admit they’re being haunted.

It’s a complex story, with complex emotions involved. But by writing in verse, Schroeder moves the story at an easy flow and keeps things easy to follow. Her prose is beautiful and achingly descriptive. As the reader, you get swept up in the emotions of the characters and the momentum of the story, which continues to build until the very last page. When the characters talk about wanting to “just keep running,” you feel the same sensation — a desire to just keep running. Also, a desire to keep reading and keep turning the pages!

Though it tells the story of two deaths, Chasing Brooklyn is a decidedly optimistic story — with an ending that fills you with nothing but hope. And while intended for YA readers, it would be equally at home in the hands of an older reader, as well. This book is an absolute must-read.

Want to learn more? Check out the official Chasing Brooklyn book trailer:

I also wrote a more professional-ish review of Chasing Brooklyn for Portland Books Examiner … check it out here!

For the comments: Have you read Chasing Brooklyn? Tell us your thoughts in the comments! Or, send us a link to your review if it’s posted on another blog.

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