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Alluring Reads

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Absent - Katie Williams While perusing Edelweiss one day the cover for Absent caught my eye and upon reading the blurb I was quick to put my request in. Am I ever happy that I did. Absent is a quick read, clocking in a just shy of 190 pages but it is a novel that packs a punch, a novel in which every page matters because the story moves along quite quickly. In Absent we meet Paige who was a senior in high school that fell off the roof during her physics class egg drop and has now found herself doomed to roam the hallways of her high school for eternity. She is not alone, also stuck in this high school purgatory is Brooke, a girl who died months before Paige, and Evan, whom has been roaming the halls for years and whose death is a mystery.Reading this story felt a lot like reading Lauren Olivers Before I Fall with a huge dose of the movie Ghost thrown into it. I ended up really, really liking Paige. She was by no means perfect nor was she the nicest girl you had ever met, instead she was heavily flawed and I loved watching her grow. As she watches the popular girl at school, Kelsey begin spreading rumours that instead of a freak accident her death was really a suicide I felt her intense struggle to set things right. She didn't want the ones who were closest to her to think that she would do something like that which is completely understandable. I don't think I got to know enough about Evan to say that I really liked him on a deep level, but what we did get to know about his story had me feeling really sad for his circumstance. There is a bit of mystery surrounding him throughout the novel, which was definitely a welcome aspect to the story. I longed to find out when he died and how he died and the reveal is about as touching as it could have been. Brooke was a bit of a loner in the afterlife but her story also becomes much more intense as the story wears on.As Paige learns that she can inhabit the body of whomever as long as they are thinking about her at the time, we also meet a host of live characters as well. There was the schools resident queen bee, Kelsey, who goes through an awesome progression herself. Also Lucas, the boy that Paige was secretly dating up until her death. I wasn't a fan of Lucas, he seemed as if he always had something sneaky on the go, and he wasn't exactly the nicest or most forthcoming person ever. He doesn't change too much throughout the story but his actions get some explanation at the end that really threw me for a loop. The best character among the living was Wes. Wes was a "burner" as Paige would classify him. He was a stoner who was always outside smoking but he turned out to be a wonderful guy that any girl would be lucky to have by her side. In the progression of Absent we are presented with a wide array of issues as it tackles its fair share of them. These high school kids are dealing with sexual relationships, drug use/dealing, vicious stereotypes and peer pressure to name a few. None of it felt over the top or preachy and even the scenes that touched upon religion were presented in a questioning way and served to make me wonder in a really good way. With all the issues this novel tackles and the break neck pace it is definitely a story that you can read in a single sitting. I was so absorbed in this story and went on a rollercoaster of emotions with the characters.I was quick to add Katie's other book to my TBR upon finishing. She is another author who has written a novel that makes me wonder how so much emotion and connection can come from so little pages. I didn't feel as if I didn't get enough of anything from this story, I didn't feel as if I was robbed of any details or empathy for the characters, I was emotionally present for the whole thing. As our ghosts come to grips with the circumstances surrounding their deaths a beautiful story is woven. Absent is the story of acceptance and of taking responsibility for our actions. This is not a novel to be missed. An Advanced Reader's Copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.--You can read all of my reviews at Alluring Reads.