The Ghost of You (The Ghost of You #1) by Amanda Burckhard
Age Group: Young Adult
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Emmy has everything she’s ever wanted: a hot boyfriend she adores, great friends, a promising future, and even a well-connected family. But one night rips it all away.
A car accident shatters her world, claiming the lives of her twin brother and her best friend. In the wake of the accident, her friends drift away, her family falls apart, and her boyfriend cheats.
The grief is more than she can handle, so she finds escape at the bottom of a bottle of painkillers. Taking the pills makes her brother alive again, if only in her head. Seeing and talking to her brother as if he were still alive is the only thing that keeps her going. Until Logan King moves to town.
Logan sees past the mask of pristine popularity she wears in public and he’s the only one who can tell she hasn’t moved on. His uncanny ability to read her forces her to open up and she starts to fall for him, no matter how unwilling she is to admit it. But Emmy isn’t the only one keeping secrets and when a close brush with death sparks events that bring everything to light, Emmy will have to decide what’s more important: learning how to forgive and move on, or holding onto the pills and the ghost of her past.
Everything in my room reminded me of him somehow. The candle Mom got me he used to joke smelled like cinnamon on steroids. The lopsided dream catcher we made at a school carnival in middle school. The running shoes he got me last Christmas.
I didn’t want to see any of it. I wanted him. Then I was screaming, ripping, tearing, throwing anything I could get my hands on. My vision blurred. My head pounded in my ears. When my hand tightened around a smooth cylinder on my desk, I almost didn’t realize what it was in time to stop myself from shattering it against the wall.
Derek had given me the green, plastic flashlight when we were ten as a way to ward off nightmares. It didn’t work anymore, even with new batteries, but I could never bring myself to get rid of it. I collapsed onto the floor, hugging the flashlight to my chest, crying and sobbing so hard I couldn’t breathe or see or think.
What was I going to do without him? We were the Grayson twins. We did everything together. I didn’t know who I was without him. He couldn’t be gone. He couldn’t.
When I pulled myself off the floor, it was nearly dark out. I looked around the room that appeared as if a tornado went through it. The shelves from my dresser lay on the floor, their contents scattered. Papers and posters lay crumpled and torn into pieces. My bedding and clothes were strewn everywhere. Almost every visible inch of the floor was covered. I couldn’t remember doing most of the destruction. I didn’t even feel better after doing it.
Something on the ground caught my eye. Something orange and familiar. I reached for the small bottle of pills and read the label. Vicodin. They were from my tonsillectomy last year. They must’ve been stuck away in a drawer, forgotten and unused.
I remembered how they made me feel like I was floating on water, like my brain was fuzzy and nothing seemed like a big deal. That feeling would be a nice change to what I felt now.
Throwing two pills into my mouth, I grabbed a week-old bottle of Gatorade from my dresser and took a swig. I left my disaster of a room and went down the hall to Derek’s room. The room felt dull and lifeless without him. The posters of old rock bands plastering the walls and wrestling trophies displayed on every shelf didn’t fit without the boy who had put them there.
I set the flashlight on his nightstand and crawled into his bed. His pillowcase smelled of peppermint. Jess and I had picked out that shampoo for him a few weeks ago. He swore he’d never use it, but I guess he changed his mind.
I stared at the flashlight until the pills made my eyelids droop and my mind slipped off into darkness.
Derek’s voice reached out to me just as I was falling asleep. “It’ll be okay, Em. Sleep. I’m here.”
Amanda Burckhard grew up exploring bat caves and hunting for dinosaur bones in the Black Hills of South Dakota. When she wasn’t crossing paths with mountain lions, she was making up stories and devouring books at the library. Although, she still does that.
Amanda loves to travel and cross out things on her adrenaline packed bucket list. Some of the things she's been able to cross out include see an active volcano erupt, ride a gondola in Venice, and pet a tiger.
She currently lives in North Sioux City, South Dakota and works as a microbiologist by day. Some of her obsessions include comic book movies, hot chocolate, sushi, sunshine, and Doctor Who.