Reviewed by Jody Uy
By Rosie Walsh
352 pp. Pamela Dorman Books.
What if you met the person of your dreams and you both fell in love? What if that person never called back? Ghosted is a novel by Rosie Walsh that focuses on the experience of Sarah, whose heart first swells with love and butterflies when she meets Eddie and then shatters when he never contacts her again. It’s a novel that seems to have a simple story, but is coated with a cast of complicated characters and a gut-wrenching twist that’ll keep you thinking about the book long after you’ve put it down.
The book starts off rather slow. Walsh takes her time setting up the overlapping stories of minor characters against the backdrop of Sarah and Eddie’s grand love. Many references are made to the setting as well, which can leave readers who aren’t from LA or London rather confused at times. This combination of an expanding cast of characters with their own backstories and quirks, along with an assumed-to-be-familiar setting can leave readers rather winded and uninterested at first. To be honest, the book didn’t really kick off for me until a little past halfway through. The book has a mystery at its core, and the truth remains hidden for a large portion of the book. It can be difficult to keep going once you’ve reached 1/3 of the book and still have no idea where the story is going, but once the pace picks up, the wait becomes very rewarding.
Ultimately, the book’s summary teases readers with a love story wrapped in mystery. There are hints dropped every now and then of what this Big Secret might be, but the full force of the gut-wrenching twist is saved for the best moment and hits readers extremely hard. I obviously don’t want to spoil it for you, but the follow-up punches after the first big blow can really knock you out (be prepared!) and keep you flipping pages furiously until you’ve reached the end—I personally lost track of time and ended up sleeping at 3AM on a Sunday night to finish the book.
Apart from the twists, Walsh also masterfully weaves in the stories of the minor characters that gives more depth to the story. Eddie and Sarah get a lot of the spotlight as main characters, but the supporting cast really shines through in each and every chapter as well. Typical minor characters play supporting roles and generally appear pretty carefree, but in Ghosted they are as complicated and conflicted as our main characters. Their own stories add another layer of complexity to the book that makes the characters pop and feel real.
Along with a colorful cast, it’s cool how the author is able to show something I like to call, “Love in the Time of Social Media.” The way we communicate has evolved a lot over the past few decades, and this new brand of communication through text and SMS is accurately captured in the book. Being “seenzoned,” anxiously checking Twitter, Messenger, Whatsapp, and Viber for a reply, excitedly watching a gray typing bubble pop up, and endlessly stalking profiles are just some of the things that are normal for the characters in Ghosted too.
Characters, twists, and social media aside, the book is a genuine depiction of deep regret and liberating forgiveness. Sarah may be a love-struck woman, but that doesn’t mean she is only clasped hands, quivering lips, and heart-shaped eyes. She’s a woman who struggles with work, a wife who has gone through divorce, and at her core, a human being with real human problems. She mourns the mistakes of her past, and looks hesitatingly into the future for some refuge. The things she feels, thinks, and experiences are all reflections of our own deeper worries and anxieties illustrated painfully and realistically in ink. Drawn alongside her haunting story of regret and anxiety, however, is also a tale about the silver linings and the hope found in second chances.
If you’re in no rush, and looking for a book to accompany you for a few days with a great kick at the end, I recommend this one.
Ghosted by Rosie Walsh is available at Fully Booked stores and Fully Booked Online.
Jody is currently an undergraduate student taking up Education and is discovering everyday the greatest bits about reading and learning that fuel our thinking. When she’s not drowning in readings for class, she drowns herself in music, books, and the wonders of the Internet. You can find her on Instagram @ohfishness.
[Thoughts and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Fully Booked. Then again, we love our authors anyway.]