Book Review: Breathing Ghosts by Laekan Zea Kemp

Title: Breathing Ghosts
Author: Laekan Zea Kemp
Series: none
Publisher: self-published
Release Date: September 30, 2013

Book Summary:

She is a winding cosmos, bleeding and bursting into night. She is a dream. She is dead.

River has just lost the one thing that matters most to him—Nia—and all she’s left behind is a pile of scribbled love notes detailing their past and a pin-holed map planning out their future. Hopes and dreams confined to one dimension now that she’s gone and River’s too afraid to leave his hometown, crippled by the same anxiety that’s plagued his mother for as long as he can remember.

But after a strange encounter with the only girl he ever loved a week after laying her to rest, River, armed with nothing but her map and his memories, decides to finally leave and never look back. And with the help of a pair of eccentrically named siblings as well as a mutt with three legs, he sets out to do the very thing Nia always knew how to do better than he ever could—live.

From the moonlit beaches off of Florida’s east coast, to the forests of Mississippi, to Bourbon Street, Cadillac Ranch, and the Arizona desert, River is faced with not only Nia’s ghost but his own and he learns that in life there are no accidents, only miracles.

The main chunk of this book is about grieving. Grieving in all forms and how young adults handle the grief. It brings up child and spousal abuse, gang violence, abandonment, illness and death. This book revolves around these topics and the holds they have on our young characters and how they deal with them.

The writing is excellent, the subject matter important and you will really feel for these characters along their journey. A journey no one wants to go down but a journey we will all face in some form at some point in our lives. We will all encounter death, illness and in some form or another hatred from another person. I think this is an excellent book depicting that. These characters don’t grieve in their rooms hidden from the world and then when they emerge they are ‘healed’. Instead, they are forced to face their fears, anger, sadness and other facets of grief in a very hard, grandiose way. There is no ‘happy ending’ rather a slight closure and a glimpse of a beginning to the next chapter of their journey through life.

This book was moving, emotional, full of a lot of hardships with silver linings. It makes you grieve with the characters and hope for them in their future journey.

I’d recommend this book for mature young adults and older. This book contains subject matter that may not be suitable for those under thirteen as it contains language, violence, sexual situations and other PG-13 situations.

Rating: 4 Stars – Great Book

Content: Sex, Language, Violence, Alcohol/Drug use

Source: Gift

You can purchase this book at Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords



  1. Sounds great! Awesome review