Review: Breathing Ghosts by Laeken Zea Kemp

Day Two of my two-week review fest.  Today I am reviewing a very unique but relatable young adult book. Breathing Ghosts is a great change of pace in a genre that has an abundance of paranormal books.  This is not just a paranormal book.  Its more about dealing with loss and moving on with your life.  But our main character does see his ghost more than once.   It is emotionally powerful but sadly in the end it does fall a bit short from what I would desire.  For my full review be sure to keep reading after the book blurb.   Don’t forget about my big giveaway.  Jump over to my celebration post and enter the rafflecopter if you haven’t already.

18588758Book Blurb:

She is a winding cosmos, bleeding and bursting into night. She is a dream. She is dead.

River has just lost the one thing that matters most to him—Nia—and all she’s left behind is a pile of scribbled love notes detailing their past and a pin-holed map planning out their future. Hopes and dreams confined to one dimension now that she’s gone and River’s too afraid to leave his hometown, crippled by the same anxiety that’s plagued his mother for as long as he can remember.

But after a strange encounter with the only girl he ever loved a week after laying her to rest, River, armed with nothing but her map and his memories, decides to finally leave and never look back. And with the help of a pair of eccentrically named siblings as well as a mutt with three legs, he sets out to do the very thing Nia always knew how to do better than he ever could—live.

From the moonlit beaches off of Florida’s east coast, to the forests of Mississippi, to Bourbon Street, Cadillac Ranch, and the Arizona desert, River is faced with not only Nia’s ghost but his own and he learns that in life there are no accidents, only miracles.


River is at a loss after losing the one person who meant everything to him, his girlfriend Nia.  He grieves alone since his abusive home life is not one anyone would want to go home to.  It isn’t long after Nia’s funeral that Nia’s sister gives River many of Nia’s possessions and within those possessions is the map.  The map was Nia’s plan for her and River to escape their lives in Florida.  River decides to take off and steal his stepfather’s truck.  In doing so he attracts the attention of skinheads, police and eventually twins that are trying to escape their own lives.  When the twins won’t leave River the threesome try to decipher Nia’s map and what she wanted River to do.  Along the way River sees Nia’s ghost and he feels like he is chasing her.  Through this journey River learns more about himself and what he must do to live.  Even though he doesn’t want to live without Nia he begins to find reasons why living no matter what is what Nia really wanted from River.

Overall, this is an emotional ride that has both is comical and suspenseful parts.  The character of River really is fairly the same through the book until he finally comes to realize what the whole journey has been about.  I love the twins, June and Carter.  Though they had their own issues they were fun and I think they were just what River needed at the time.  I think the biggest character in this book is the landscape.  The obscure places the three of them go and how they manage to get there.  I did feel that the story was a little lacking in the development part though.  I really felt that the characters were static until the very end.  In the end it kind of just stops.  There isn’t really any kind of conclusion or wrap up.  It does make you think there may be another book but even so the ending kinda made me feel unsatisfied and nothing was answered.  I liked the build up and the premise of the story, but I think with the lack of real character development it left the story a little flat.  Overall, it was a decent story and I would try a second book if this is supposed to be a series but I would want to see a lot more if this were to become a series I followed.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Kacey Vanderkarr
    Mar 27, 2014 @ 07:14:00

    I love the cover for this book. I have a serious soft spot for stars on a cover. It attracts me like a moth to flame. 🙂


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