Chasing Brooklyn
by Schroeder, Lisa

As Brooklyn and Nico work to help each other recover from the deaths of Brooklyn's boyfriend-Nico's brother Lucca-and their friend Gabe, they begin to rediscover their passion for life, and a newly growing love for one another.

A year after Brooklyn's boyfriend, Lucca, was killed in an automobile accident, Gabe, the boy who was driving the car, commits suicide and, soon thereafter, begins haunting Brooklyn's dreams. At the same time, Lucca starts showing up in the reveries of his older brother, Nico. Both spirits are persistent and demanding, but what is it, exactly, that they want? Readers of this verse novel will figure that out long before Brooklyn and Nico do, but the first-person point of view, which switches back and forth between the two teens, successfully builds suspense and foreboding in this highly readable romance-cum-ghost-story. The text could use fresher imagery (does the sky have to be a canvas, and clouds, cotton balls?), but the plot is well structured and the characters are appealing. Schroeder's I Heart You, You Haunt Me (2009) was a Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult readers, and this one offers promise of being the same. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Tues., Jan. 10th—Brooklyn
Daddy was raised
in a house full of women.
Women who did everything for him.
Now I’m left
to do those things
others have done for him
his whole life.
Cook him dinner.
Wash his boxers.
Change his sheets.
He needs me?
I don’t think so.
What he needs
is a maid.
Tonight he says,
“Brooklyn, let’s get a dog.”
I give him a look that says,
Are you crazy?
“What?” he says.
“It’d be great.
|You just don’t know it
because you’ve never had one.”
That was Mom’s fault.
Neat freaks and dogs
don’t mix.
And really,
I don’t see how
busy girls with enough to take care of
would mix with a dog either.
A maid,
a cook,
and a dog trainer?
I don’t think so.
Tues., Jan. 10th—Nico
Ma makes a big dish
of ravioli for Gabe’s family
along with some bread
and her famous pineapple tiramisu.
Tiramisu means “pick me up” in Italian.
Ma always hopes it will do a little of that.
She took them minestrone soup last week.
When she doesn’t know what else to do, she cooks.
She’s trying to teach me everything she knows.
I’m the closest thing to the daughter she never had, I guess.
She leaves some ravioli for me and Pop.
We eat in silence.
Too bad there’s no tiramisu.
I think we could both use some of that too.
Tues., Jan. 10th—Brooklyn
I fall asleep hoping to dream
of Lucca.
Instead I’m standing in the hallway at school.
In the dark.
I turn around
and around,
wondering where everyone is.
I want to turn on the lights,
but where do you find the lights
for a school hallway?
There’s the faint sound of footsteps.
Someone is far away.
But coming closer.
I listen.
They get louder.
I open my mouth.
I try to speak.
Nothing comes out.
I walk forward,
my arms in front of me,
trying to see my way.
There’s a faint light ahead.
I think it’s the light to the office.
If I can just make it there,
it’ll be okay.
The steps are coming faster.
My pace increases.
Just get to the office.
|Nothing can hurt you there.
They’ll help you.
The light gets brighter.
I start to run.
Faster and faster
I run,
the beating of my heart
almost as loud
as the pounding of my steps.
I reach the door and look behind me.
I see someone.
Someone’s coming.
Right behind me.
I turn the doorknob.
Locked tight.
My fist pounds on the window.
I pound and pound
and open my mouth to scream.
Then, he’s there.
In front of me.
Gray skin with eyes
black as the darkest night,
and lips blood red.
He lunges for me
and I scream his name.
When I wake up
with my sheets soaked
and sticking to me like bandages,
I can’t stop shaking.
Even though I know it was a dream,
something about it
was so much more
than a dream.
A lot more.
Dear Lucca,
I’ve read six comics. I still can’t go back to sleep.
I had a horrible dream. I don’t even want to talk
about it.
Daddy told me after Mom moved out, I could
wake him up if I ever needed anything. But then
I’d have to tell him about the dream. He’d worry
about me. Probably think this thing with Gabe is
getting to me. And then who knows what he’d do.
Anyway, what could he do for me, besides give me
a hug and tell me to go back to sleep? He can’t do
anything for me. Not really.
So I guess I’ll read about Tom Strong some more.
 recently read a review online about him where
someone said, “Tom Strong stands for goodness,
purity of heart, tolerance, and family.” No wonder
I like him so much.
Love always,
Wed., Jan. 11th—Nico
Something happened last night
and I am freaking out.
It was almost morning. I was asleep.
I heard a noise.
A scraping noise.
I sat straight up and noticed the window was open, just slightly.
The room was freezing.
I ran to the window and closed it.
I was about to turn on the light, when I felt something.
Like someone was right there.
I lunged for the baseball bat under my bed and started swinging.
I made my way to the light and turned it on.
No one was there.
Nothing was there.
And yet, it was like someone or something was there.
And then I heard a whisper.
Not even a whisper.
Something else.
A silent message in my brain.
Make sure Brooklyn is okay.
The curtains fluttered.
A slight shadow emerged on the wall.
And then, he was gone.
The room warmed up.
My goose bumps disappeared.
And I ran out of my room.
Wed., Jan. 11th—Brooklyn
Kyra tells me
I look tired.
I tell her I’m fine.
Doing great, in fact.
I don’t even tell her
about the nightmare.
That’s all it was.
A stupid nightmare.
Although, getting dressed this morning,
I had this odd sense
someone was watching me.
But that’s ridiculous.
Gabe is dead.
Dead people don’t watch people.
Do they?
Wed., Jan. 11th—Nico
I look for Brooklyn
at school
and see her at her locker
talking to Kyra.
She doesn’t see me
and I don’t stop to talk.
She’s fine.
I’ve seen it for myself.
She’s completely fine.
Did I just imagine it?
Whatever “it” was.
I thought someone was there.
I thought I heard the words.
But now, I don’t know.

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