Monday, November 14, 2011

Review: Wherever You Go by Heather Davis


Wherever You Go by Heather Davis

Pages: 320
Publisher: Harcourt Children's
Published: November 14th, 2011
IBSN: 9780547501512

Seventeen-year-old Holly Mullen has felt lost and lonely ever since her boyfriend, Rob, died in a tragic accident. The fact that she has to spend most of her free time caring for her little sister and Alzheimer’s-stricken grandfather doesn’t help. But Holly has no idea that as she goes about her days, Rob’s ghost is watching over her. He isn’t happy when he sees his best friend, Jason, reach out to help Holly with her grandfather—but as a ghost, he can do nothing to stop it. Is his best friend really falling for his girlfriend?

As Holly wonders whether to open her heart to Jason, the past comes back to haunt her. Her grandfather claims to be communicating with the ghost of Rob. Could the messages he has for Holly be real? And if so, how can the loved ones Rob left behind help his tortured soul make it to the other side?

After the death of Holly's boyfriend, Rob, she's despondent. But there isn't time to mourn alone with her mother working two crappy jobs to support their crappy lifestyle leaving her to care for her younger sister and now her senile grandfather. Rob's best friend, Jacob, falls for her, and hopes they can both move on and be together.

I'd heard of Heather Davis before, from her novel Never Cry Werewolf that I read an extended excerpt of a few years ago. It was, like you'd guess from the title, a light paranormal romance, so the premise of this confused me a little. And intrigued me. Could a writer of paranormal romance pull this off?

My answer is no. I found Wherever You Go, in a word, boring. It was about grieving and moving on, with a surprisingly large portion reminiscent of The Bucket List, but without the depth of emotion that would have made it interesting. The best way I can think to describe the story is by comparing it to the plot soap opera but without extremes that give it the can't-look-away kind of badness.

Plus, I can't for the life of me figure out why Rob's perspective was necessary. The revelation about his death felt like it was there simply there for shock value, when it wasn't in the slightest characteristic and it added nothing.

Heather Davis' writing style was smooth enough, and expressive, but even with three perspectives -- one in first person, one in second, and one in third -- no distinct character voices were created, and none sympathetic. The tone would sway from its natural slight sadness to sappiness often, giving spiels about love that could has easily been implicit instead and saved the gagging. Most notable was the line 
"Holly shut the door, rattling the birdhouse wreath and his heart." And his heart.

The romance between Jacob and Holly, which I guess was the main feature, felt completely devoid of chemistry, and Jacob's advances irritated more than they wooed me. He tried much, much too hard, and his almost obsession with her apparent in his perspective was -- did he talk about anything else? Even conversations with his friends and parents all came back to her -- strange.

Overall, Wherever You Go is something I'd recommend to those much more romantic than myself. Still, the story dragged, the emotions were not well-portrayed, and the sticky smarminess of some parts had me rethinking my decision to read this.

I give Wherever You Go a 2 out of 5.