Ghosts can’t seem to keep their opinions to themselves.
Seventeen-year-old Nate Shaw should know; he’s been talking to them since he was twelve. But they aren’t the only ones making his high school years a living hell. All Nate wants is to keep his secret and keep his head down until he can graduate. That is, until the new boy, James Powell, takes a seat next to him in homeroom. James not only notices him, he manages to work his way into Nate’s life. But James has issues of his own.
Between dead grandmothers and living aunts, Nate has to navigate the fact that he’s falling in love with his only friend, all while getting advice from the most unusual places.
I was a little worried when I started reading A Boy Worth Knowing as it’s written in 1st person narrative which is my least favorite. However, I enjoyed the story. (Plus the young adult genre is the one place 1st person actually makes sense to me.)
Nate sees ghosts – and interacts with them. I loved the premise that ghosts became attached to places or people and stuck near them. I also loved his daily run past Samuel. He’s probably the most hated boy at school with no friends and a very lonely life. That his mother also hated and kicked him out because of his ghost-seeing abilities just adds to his sad life.
And then, the miracle of miracles happens. A new boy comes to school and actually seems to like him. Nate is sure that James will give up. Especially once his enemies have filled him in on how weird Nate is. But James doesn’t give up. Unfortunately for Nate, he also falls for his new friend and he’s caught in a web of not knowing what to do. James’s dead brother tells him he should just tell James, but he’s afraid if he does that he’ll lose his only friend.
There was too much giggling for two 17 year old boys, in my opinion.
The first few chapters were a little difficult to get through as the world building dragged the speed down a bit, but after that, I couldn’t put the book down. I adored Nate and Aunt Susan, not to mention Nana who kept popping in to see Nate even though she’s been dead for a couple years. James was a bit harder to get to know and his sudden turnaround in the middle felt odd – as though we were missing a few steps.
All-in-all, a very pleasant read. Nate’s a worrywart and from the ending I assume he will continue to be so – it’s just a part of his personality. But I loved the whole talking to ghost angle and the way it was done. It supported the Nate/James storyline rather than overpowered it.
Overall, quite well done – 4 stars.