Title: I Heart You, You Haunt Me
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: January 8, 2008
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Summary from Goodreads:
Girl meets boy.
Girl loses boy.
Girl gets boy back...
Ava can't see him or touch him,
unless she's dreaming.
She can't hear his voice,
except for the faint whispers in her mind.
Most would think she's crazy, but she knows he's here.
The boy Ava thought she'd spend the rest of her life with.
He's back from the dead,
as proof that love truly knows no bounds.
First Thoughts: After stealing this book away before another student grabbed it (sorry girls), I completely understand why this book is spreading like wildfire through my classroom. A beautiful, grief-filled story sure to make any reader feel.
Everytime I read a verse novel, I’m reminded of how much I enjoy them. Why don’t I make an effort to read more of them? Maybe this will be a challenge for myself in the coming year (that along with scary books, which even thinking about gives me the heebie-jeebies).
I came to read this book in a very random way, at least compared to my usual reading habits. I was first introduced to the title during an online summer PD reading experience - YA Lit 101. I didn’t read the book then, instead I read October Mourning. But, this title stuck in the back of my mind. On a recent Half-Price Books visit, I stumbled across a copy of the book. Of course I bought it, book-talked it the next day in class, and since then I Heart You, You Haunt Me has been passed from reader to reader, finally landing on my desk before a long weekend.
This is a quick, intense story all about a teenage girl learning to deal with unfathomable grief. As my female students read, they openly cried in the middle of class. I mean, serious tears flowing as they choked out, “this book is just. so. sad.” Talk about some visceral reading! Admittedly there were no tears for me, but I still felt the raw emotions along with Ava as she experienced them. I have to say, I was shocked when I found out Jackson actually haunts her - real cold air, goosebumps, face in the mirror haunting. For some reason I assumed the “haunting” meant she just couldn’t forget him. I liked the actual ghost aspect though, especially since fall is in the air, pumpkins adorn doorsteps, and the darkness creeps in at night just a bit quicker.
And, telling this story in verse is perfect! The story moves quickly and the poetic nature of the words makes Ava’s grief, fear, and on-edge-sanity almost palpable. Although readers sometimes judge verse novels as too difficult (ah, the polarizing effect of poetry), I think this novel is actually easier to read, which makes it that much more popular amongst teen readers.
Final Thoughts: Although it didn’t move me to tears quite like some of my student readers, I completely understand the appeal of this story. Coping with grief is something no one wants to go through, and reading Ava’s story really hits home. I can see why this book is quickly becoming one of the most popular reads in our classroom!
Who Should Read It? Based on my classroom experience, this book connects the most with girls. Really, any girls. My fans of horror, realistic fiction, fantasy, romance, etc - they’ve all read this book and loved it. Like I said, it might make you cry, but isn’t that just deep reading?