Marley’s Ghost by Brian Katcher

Marley’s Ghost

By Brian Katcher

Marley may be dead, but he’s as much a character as anyone in this book. In fact, he reminds me of folks I’ve sat in AA meetings with over the years, crusty on the outside, but scratch them and you find they’re filled with the marshmallow of regret. If our dead loved ones live on through our memories, then Marley is alive as anyone in the story. His unexpected death in a motorcycle accident hit his nephews the hardest.

They, along with Vanessa and Jessica, semi and not-so-semi-love interests, all suffer from what I’ll call the Fizbin of self-doubt. Aaron is held hostage by fear…fear that his beliefs aren’t enough, fear that his adoption might somehow dissolve, leaving him alone. Kyler’s albatross is his having been sickly in his infant years, ailments that still have his mother keeping him in metaphorical diapers.

When the two boys spend time at Marley’s fishing camp, a fond place for Kyler, but one Aaron never got a chance to visit, they’re surprised by a scruffy dude who doesn’t know they’re there, and after they chase him off, Kyler finds an envelope with numerical clues. It’s Jessica who realizes that they’re GPS coordinates, and what ensues is a road trip to a park in South Carolina that unfolds like a Hope and Crosby road picture crossed with PG-rated Bonnie and Clyde.


All four teens come to interesting realizations during this adventure and, while at first it seems like they’ve lost, the opposite is true and the book ends with a neat teaser. I hope that turns into a second book.

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