Published: July 26th, 2012
Publisher: Gamine Press
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Source: I received this book for the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.
"If you lived in Willow Ridge, a town based on Jade’s hometown called Liverpool in Central New York, you’d know of Estella Montclair. Estella is one of the top high school sprinters around and she’s in the newspaper all the time.
After Estella Montclair is killed in a texting and driving crash, what remains of her face and body is devastating.
But not all of her has died.
During the first month after her death, Estella’s spirit travels among her living friends and family. Her best friends Zara, Eva and Jett show her how pain and sorrow can break apart or strengthen a bond. She also sees for the first time that loss can spark revenge, catastrophe can come without warning, and we all have secrets. She wonders if her chance for love with Phoenix has passed her by, and if out of sight truly means out of mind.
And maybe one day the girl who caused her death will admit her mistake.
While adjusting to a new state of being, Estella struggles to face the limitations that come with death, but blossoms by recognizing she can still touch the lives of the people she once knew so well."~Goodreads
Alright, I'll admit it, I have definitely been guilty of distracted driving. No, I don't text and drive, but I do things like mess with the radio, rummage through CDs and gawk at people walking their dogs. Like most of us who have been driving for awhile, I've had some near misses with other people's bumpers. I'm usually a great driver but it's those little mistakes and distractions that can change someone's life forever, or end it. One of the biggest distractions for young people (really all people) these days is texting while driving. It may only take a few seconds to check that message but those few seconds can mean everything.
Estella's life is pretty great. She has awesome friends, colleges are lining up to recruit her and she's going to prom with super-cute Phoenix. All of that changes when her teammate Heidi blows through a red light while texting and kills her. Estella's body may be gone but her spirit stays behind. We follow Estella as she witnesses the devastation left behind after her death.
- The Message: I know we all get tired of hearing it. There are commercials, print ads, even Oprah has a campaign against texting and driving. But the message is so important that we have to pay attention and the more it's drummed into our heads the better. Every time I get into a car in front of my mom she still tells me to "be careful", I'm sure she always will, and even though I roll my eyes and assure her that I'm perfectly capable of operating a motor vehicle, it still makes me think about safety in that moment and I do pay closer attention. So yes, Mom, I'm listening. This book really makes you think about how your choices impact others, especially when you're driving a motorized killing machine.
- The Empathy Factor: We get to know Estella's family and friends through their grief. This makes the book all the more powerful and it really helps the reader to understand and empathize with the characters. This also helps the author illustrate her point very nicely.
- POV: Just as we get to know the secondary characters in their grief, we get to know Estella in death, rather than life. Watching Estella come to grips with her feelings of anger and loss is incredibly gripping and certainly makes the story more interesting and poignant.
- Repetition: The story itself can get a bit repetitive in parts and I feel like the book didn't need to be as long as it is to get the point across.
- Dialogue: Some of the dialogue (particularly with the parents right after Estella's death) is a bit stilted and lackluster. This certainly isn't true for the entire book, but it does distract in places.
This book's message is so important that I think every new driver should read it. When we go about our lives we don't think about how the smallest things can have such a huge impact. Even with a few flaws this book has a powerful message that cannot be overstated.