‘Break my heart 1000 times’ by Daniel Waters
Did you like the movie ‘The sixth sense’ from 1999 because of the scary things that happened, when the world of the living and the world of the dead collided? And did you like Alice Sebold’s novel ‘The Lovely Bones’, because of the thrilling parts where you got to know the murderer, but still couldn’t prevent bad things to happen? Then there’s a really good chance that you’ll also like the story in ‘Break my heart 1000 times’ and the way it’s told. (Photo: Peter Henrichsen)
‘Break my heart 1000 times’
October 16th 2012
Publisher, this copy:
High School student Veronica (Ronnie) sees ghosts. Actually, everyone in Ronnie’s town can see projections of dead people, but most folks keep it to themselves. Ever since ‘The Event’ where a huge number of the towns citizens died at the same time, the precise transition between life and death has been blurred out.
That’s also why Ronnie and her bff Janine, every day on their way to high school, sees the same short sequences the dead people kind of play of themselves. When they’re together, Ronnie tries to ignore it, because she know that Janine, who has been a pretty tough sport girl, can’t cope with the ghost anymore.
But beneath her calm surface Ronnie also have had enough. Every morning at exactly 7.13, she and her mother can see Ronnie’s deceased father drink coffee and read his newspaper at their breakfast table beside them. But that’s not the only ghost in their house. A new ghost has appeared: a teenage boy, almost the same age as Ronnie, looks at her every morning when she stands naked in the bath!
The number of ghosts in Ronnie’s town increases dramatically, and Ronnie’s teacher Mr. Pescatelli – who is absolutely obsessed with ghosts and holds small lectures for her class about them – thinks that they are harbingers and that a new, maybe even bigger, “Event” will occur.
Ronnie decides to investigate the ghosts further, most of all because she can’t stand not knowing why the boy in her bathroom stares at her. And Kirk, a guy from from Ronnie’s class, who definitely has a soft spot for her, decides to study the ghosts more via Mr. Pescatelli, just to get closer to Ronnie and hopefully to kick Ronnie’s date James – one smug windbag – out of her life.
Kirks plan works. Kirk and Ronnie meet. They’re also having a good time and they record very good shots of some of the ghosts together. But soon the whole project gets pretty dangerous. When they record the ghost of Mary Greer – a girl from their school who supposedly should have been killed by a Mr. Bittner, who never got charged for murder – they realize that there also is a Mr. Bittner who teaches in Ronnie’s class.
Looked for ghothic haunting, but this became even better
When I ran into ‘Break my heart 1000 times’, I was actually looking for a classic gothic haunted house story rewritten in modern YA form, like with a teenager as the protagonist. First, I thought I had found it in this novel, but even though we’re surrounded with ghosts, this is more like a thriller than real horror. The story was unique, and the plot was so much better than in the old gothic horror novels, because they all seem to run into this big problem, how to end a paranormal story in a satisfying way for the reader. That, Daniel Waters solved very well here.
Puppy love in a charming way
The story is a dark thriller with paranormal issues, but it’s also a warm, romantic and funny story.
The narrator shifts not so surprisingly between Ronnie and Kirk, but very surprisingly also between the creepy Mr. Bittner and even the ghost boy who follows Ronnie in the bath. Don’t be confused or disappointed, it is Ronnie who os our protagonist and you will also easily relate to her, the way the story’s written.
Ronnie is such a lovable person who looks after her mother and supports Janine in the best way, and then she’s very honest and direct when it comes to love, which gives us some wonderful romantic moments with her and Kirk. It’s true puppy love, but in a very charming and adult way.
Even though their lines are pretty simple, don’t be afraid not to be challenged. The whole part about how the ghosts move around in town are quite complicated, and you can only assemble the puzzle one piece at a time, like Kirk and Ronnie does. It requires your patience, but it’s also that structure that makes this book so great and exciting.
Excerpt from ‘Break my heart 1000 times’
The bathroom, in her mind, should be a permanent ghost-free zone. So when she got out of the shower at 6:49 that Tuesday morning before school and saw a ghost standing in front of the mirror that would not reflect his image, she shrieked. She clutched her towel and rushed past him to her bedroom.
She sat on the edge of her bed and steadied her breathing. She dried her body and wondered if the ghost had left yet. Sometimes they stayed for as long as fifteen minutes, but usually they were there and gone in the time it took to snap a photograph. She hoped it was the latter. She’d left her clothes in the bathroom, and it was too much effort to pick out another outfit. Now dry, she wrapped herself in her towel, deciding she’d give the bathroom another try.
Saved the chapters because it was so good
I’m a sucker for both horror and thrillers, and this combination was of course even better. I found the story so exciting, that I actually ended up saving chapters for really good and cozy reading times with coffee and chocolate, so I wouldn’t spend it all in one long read. I only do that when I really love every page of a novel, and that I did with this supernatural story about Ronnie and Kirk.