When I saw Chasing Brooklyn was going to be on tour with International Book Tours I was intrigued by the premise and signed up straight away. What I hadn’t realised until reading another review a while later, was that it was a verse novel. I’ve never read a book written in this style before and to be honest I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t really enjoy it. I had absolutely no idea what to expect and couldn’t imagine how an entire novel could be told in verse and still be a satisfying story.
Chasing Brooklyn tells the story of Brooklyn at the first anniversary of her boyfriend, Lucca’s, death. She’s struggling to move on and has shut herself away. When Lucca’s best friend Gabe dies of an overdose things become much worse, especially when he starts haunting her dreams.
Then there’s Nico, Lucca’s brother. Nico doesn’t talk about Lucca and how much he misses him, instead he runs and runs, training hard for competitions to block it all out. But then he begins to receive messages from Lucca telling him to help Brooklyn. How can he though when he’s only just coping himself?
The story is told in alternating first person viewpoints from Brooklyn and Nico and despite my concerns I absolutely loved this book. There are only a few lines of text to each page, which don’t read all that differently from a normal book. The difference being there’s far more emotion and a beautiful rhythm to the writing. This makes the book an incredibly quick and easy read, the words flow seamlessly and force you to keep turning pages. Before I knew it I’d read half of the book without even looking up.
Having never read a verse novel before I have nothing to compare it with, but I can only imagine the talent and skill it takes to create such a huge and powerful story with so few words. Having both Brooklyn and Nico’s point of view of their situation and each other made the characters far more developed than I’d have thought possible. Schroeder captures tangible feelings of loss and grief, but also of hope and moving on. Not only does Chasing Brooklyn deal with Brooklyn and Nico’s loss, but we also have sub plots involving their families. This serves to give the story even more depth and make it completely believable.
The one area I felt a little disappointed in was the hauntings. They’re not particularly convincing and certainly not scary in any way. I felt I’d been sold this book as a ghost story by the synopsis, but it’s not really. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the beautiful and emotional story I was given, I just don’t think it was great as a ghost story-if that makes sense? I eventually concluded that the hauntings are actually Brooklyn and Nico’s subconscious, which if I’m right is a very clever idea and works heaps better for me when looked at like that.
Overall my first experience of reading a verse novel was very successful and I would certainly do so again. In fact I’d really like to read Lisa Schroeder’s other books, which are also written in verse. In the author blurb in the back it states Lisa likes to write in verse as it allows her to use far more emotion, and this is absolutely true. Her writing is very emotional, and I ended up in tears more than once while reading this book. It’s also very hopeful and positive however and the ending is very satisfactory and left me smiling. I’d recommend anyone to give this book a go, it’s a fast, easy, compelling emotional story of love, loss, hope and moving on and you may just be as surprised as me by how much you take from this book.