Courtney's Reviews > Chasing Brooklyn

Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder
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's review
Jan 06, 10

bookshelves: 2010, ya-fiction
Read in January, 2010

I've seen a lot of criticism leveled at novels in verse; the format doesn't allow the characters and situations to be fleshed out, they're too 'thin'--they'll leave you unsatisfied, wanting more. That any story told in verse is too limited by the format, blah blah. That kinda talk always makes my eyes roll up in my head and I'm just like, "Dude, are you sure it's the format? Maybe it's the AUTHOR. Maybe the AUTHOR just ISN'T VERY GOOD. MAYBE THE AUTHOR'S STORY IS THIN AND UNSATISFYING AND NOT FLESHED OUT."

And then my blood pressure goes up and stuff and anyways, maybe from now on every time someone complains about verse novels in this way to me I will just hand them Lisa Schroeder's Chasing Brooklyn and then say ENJOY SEEING HOW BRILLIANT THEY CAN BE and run off into the night, my cape billowing in the wind behind me.

Chasing Brooklyn is a story about a girl named Brooklyn, whose boyfriend, Lucca died a year before the story takes place. She's not over it, to say the least. Then! To make matters worse, her friend Gabe (who was her boyfriend's friend as well) dies of an overdose. Which sucks because Gabe and Brooklyn promised they would help each other through Lucca's death. So THEN! Gabe starts haunting Brooklyn, chasing her in her dreams and turning them into horrible nightmares. He makes his presence known in disturbing ways.

Chasing Brooklyn is also a story about a boy named Nico. Ever since his brother Lucca died, he runs. He feels like he can't measure up to the space his golden boy brother left behind.

And then Lucca starts leaving Nico messages from beyond the grave telling him Brooklyn needs help...

It's no secret that I like spare writing, unfussy, uncomplicated prose. That kind of writing, to me, is IT. That's what I aspire to write, that's what I enjoy reading the most. Imagine my utter delight to find this book full of tight and precise perfect sentences that come together to make this moving story about loss and grief and moving on.

Chasing Brooklyn is told from two POVs (Brooklyn and Nico) and it is stunning. I'm a hard sell on dual narratives. It's hard to make two voices distinct in one book, but Schroeder succeeds at this and thensome. I found myself really enjoying the juxtaposition between Nico and Brooklyn's takes on things, like when Brooklyn is narrating her utter heartbreak and inability to keep it together and then all the sudden you get Nico's perspective on the same situation and he's calling Brooklyn a faucet with legs (one of my favourite lines in the book!!). I loved the way their pages played off each other. I also loved when certain lines echoed in each narrative--Schroeder used this effect sparingly (and knows exactly WHEN to use it), and each time she did, oh man, I got chills.

This is definitely a quick read. It passed in a blink of an eye but I wouldn't say that's solely because of the format. Because nothing makes a painful read go by fast no matter how it's written, IF YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING, and I think you do. What kept me turning pages here wasn't the format, is what I'm saying. What kept me turning pages was my need to know how Brooklyn and Nico would help each other through this.

Ultimately, Chasing Brooklyn is a story about overcoming. Schroeder has a keen eye for the small ways grief inserts itself into our lives or, more aptly, how the small ways grief inserts itself into our lives aren't so small at all. How time can just make loss more devastating and shattering. She takes Brooklyn and Nico to the lowest points of their lives and slowly brings them back towards the light and she does it without being saccharine or condescending or eye-rollingly cheesy. She does it honestly. I think there is something here for everyone. This is a book of comfort and hope. Beyond being a good story, a sweet story, and a moving story that anyone can read, I see it as a novel that will help and reach people going through these kinds of difficulties. None of us is immune to loss, after all. It is beautifully told and for all that I've said and more, I would wholeheartedly and without reservation recommend it to anyone and everyone.

PS: Chasing Brooklyn takes place in the same universe as Lisa Schroeder's other book, I Heart You, You Haunt Me. The starring characters in that novel make appearances and are mentioned here. I have not yet read IHYYHM (but I'll be correcting this soon--Lisa Schroeder gots me, I'm going to devour everything she puts out and has put out), but this did not detract from my experience (and I don't think would detract from anyone else's) at all.
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Reading Progress

01/05/2010 page 54
13.11% "This is one gorgeously put together book."
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Heidi (new) - added it

Heidi That was one of the most entertaining reviews I've ever read. Looking forward to Chasing Brooklyn. And Courtney? I Haunt You IS awesome. I loved it!

Nana Great Review for an amazing book ;)


Rachell. (: Heidi: Its a greatt book! No joke!! I wanna read it again. so i think a trip to the library for i heart you, you haunt me and chasing brooklyn is in order :)

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