Reading level: Young adult (12+)
Hardcover: 352 pages
Release date: October 16, 2012
Source: Review copy from AuthorsOnTheWeb
Reviewed by: Jenn
Living in the aftermath of the Event means that seeing the dead is now a part of life, but Veronica wishes that the ghosts would just move on. Instead, the ghosts aren't disappearing--they're gaining power.
When Veronica and her friend, Kirk, decide to investigate why, they stumble upon a more sinister plot than they ever could have imagined. One of Veronica's high school teachers is crippled by the fact that his dead daughter has never returned as a ghost, and he's haunted by the possibility that she's waiting to reappear within a fresh body. Veronica seems like the perfect host. And even if he's wrong, what's the harm in creating one more ghost?
From critically acclaimed Generation Dead author Daniel Waters, comes a delectably creepy and suspenseful thriller. Break My Heart 1,000 Times will leave readers with the chills. Or is that a ghost reading over the page?
As you may have noticed, I rarely read YA but I couldn't resist the premise of BREAK MY HEART 1,000 TIMES when I heard about it. It's a supernatural thriller where the scary parts are actually not the ghosts -- how could I *not* try it?
I am completely unfamiliar with Daniel Waters' other work, the Generation Dead series, so I wasn't sure what to expect. What I got was a very interesting and thoughtful story about loss and death and all of the different ways people respond to big and small changes in their lives, in addition to an exciting thriller storyline. The book is definitely geared toward the 12-17 age range but it's a nice book for those of us who are a little (or a lot) more mature. :)
The story is told from several points of view so you get to know the minds of several characters. The bulk of the novel is told by Veronica and Kirk, which allowed me to get to know them very well, but Daniel Waters also gives us some insight into Mr. Bittner, the creepy teacher, and Brian, one of the ghosts who lives in Veronica's house. The multiple angles lets us really see the world the author has created and I thoroughly appreciated it even though I didn't really enjoy being Mr. Bittner's brain.
BREAK MY HEART 1,000 TIMES is billed as a thriller but it's not a fast-paced novel so be prepared for a slow boil. I generally prefer this genre of book to have more action and what you get in BREAK MY HEART 1,000 TIMES is a lot of the characters' thoughts. As such, the book felt a little slow to me, particularly in the start, and I had a hard time getting into the story. I'm glad I read it through, though, because the pieces fall into place as Veronica learns Mr. Bittern has bad intentions and as she and Kirk investigate the ghosts in their community, and the story definitely builds as you get closer to the end.
My favourite part of this book, hands down, is the world building because the ghosts aren't inherently scary -- it's the regular people who are the source of all of the malice and harmful intent. The ghosts are simply an artefact of The Event, a mysterious occurrence that isn't fully explained in the novel. Instead, the focus is on the aftermath and how people deal with the ghosts. Some people are afraid of them, some rely on and take comfort in their appearances, others accept them as the new normal, and still others people want to figure out what's going on. The full spectrum of reactions is well represented and it made me think a lot about the different ways folks react to big, scary events in the real world, like September 11. (This is why I called the book 'thoughtful' in my second paragraph.)
While BREAK MY HEART 1,000 TIMES isn't the kind of book I'd normally pick up based on the target YA audience, I'm definitely happy I gave this book a try. I don't know if it's going to be for everyone but I'd urge you to read the excerpt below and see if it's to your tastes.