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I alternately read a digital copy and listened (via audible) to this story. I have found that if I'm not crazy about the audio version, it negatively effects my reading experience, as well. Such is the case here. The actual reading and inflections by the single male narrator are fine, but I did not care for the voice changes for the additional characters (ie. females and children.) I'm inclined to say that this would probably have been a 5 star read, but I had a hard time connecting when just listening.
There are three main characters in Ghostboy, but it's truly Duke's coming-of-age story. Ghostboy tackles death, grief, teen male/female relationships, and parent/child relationships. Nothing feels too heavy-handed since all of the poignant moments share the spotlight nearly equally. POSSIBLE SPOILER: *Even the idea of death feels less overwhelming when viewed as almost inevitable. Sad? Of course, but not unexpected.* (End possible spoiler) I appreciate the lack of dramatic surprises for entertainment's sake and that more time was invested in character development. Ghostboy was a realistic account of a young man's teen life and the events that help him mature and develop empathy. Since my audio tastes are subjective, I won't deter anyone from also listening to the audio. What I will suggest is listen to an audio sample before you decide, but don't let that in itself stop you from reading this stor. (This is my voluntary and unbiased review of an advanced digital copy and complimentary audio)
Honestly I never pick up these kinds of book because I read to escape into fantastical worlds. But I won this book and so I read it and I couldn't put it down. Maybe because it was from a teen boys perspective, maybe because the mood was right, but I'm positivley sure it's because the book was good! So good! I was lost the from the beginning. It made me laugh and snort and cry. And I love the friendship in this book. Ms. Olivia captures is so beautifully. Can't wit to read more from this author.