“I hope you aren’t afraid of ghosts.”
I first heard about Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour during Penguin Teen Canada’s fall preview event this past summer. I’ve heard so many wonderful things about Nina LaCour’s books from friends, but I’ve never actually read one . . . until now. The way this book was described—a beautiful story full of ghosts and grief—piqued my interested a lot, and I knew I needed to read it.
Watch Over Me follows the story of Mila, who grew up in foster care and recently turned 18. She’s going to live on an isolated farm and work as an intern for a family that has taken in over 40 foster children over the years, and is very excited to finally be joining a family. She’ll have her own cabin, teach young children, and be able to earn a living for herself.
If you think this all sounds too good to be true, you’re right, but probably not in the way you’re initially thinking. Mila quickly learns that the farm is haunted. Not everyone can see the ghosts, but they’re there, and they end up playing a rather important role in this story.
The writing in this book was beautiful and haunting. I could picture the scenery so perfectly, from the farmhouse to the beach, and even the flower stand at the local farmer’s market. But what stood out for me the most was the raw emotion written all over the pages. I could feel how lonely and scared Mila was, and I’ve never wanted to hug a fictional character so badly.
What made the story even more powerful, though, was the way it wove in feelings of grief, isolation, and trauma as well. The ghosts in Watch Over Me aren’t just spectral bodies walking about the farm. I mean, they are, but they also represent the hardships that Mila and other characters have endured, and help them come to terms with their past in order to move forward.
There are a lot of layers to this story, which to me is the mark of a good book. I know many different people will have their own unique takeaways from this story, and it will resonate with each reader differently.
If you’re looking for a YA contemporary that will pull on your heart strings, check this one out. If you’re a mood reader, it’d also be a good one to curl up with on a rainy day.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for a digital copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour Moore comes out on September 15, 2020, and can be purchased wherever books are sold.