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Reviewed by Michelle Randall for Readers' Favorite
How do you cope when everything has collapsed around you? At least to Emma, the whole world has collapsed and there is no reason to go on; her boyfriend James has died and she has no will to carry on living. Her family and friends are worried, so her best friend Shel comes to stay for a while and tries to make Emma face life again, which might have worked, if only James' spirit hadn't started talking to Emma. Now she is trying to let everyone around her think she is fine and moving on, while she is living just to spend time with James' spirit. Guardian is the position that James agreed to take on, to remain as a spirit on earth and be able to watch over Emma. The problem is, he is not supposed to be spending so much time with her, he is supposed to be training and learning to be a Guardian to someone. Author Sara Mack creates an amazing tale of young love cut short by death, and the effects of choices on life afterwards.
Guardian is said to be the first in a series, which is good because a number of questions are left unanswered. In this book though, we learn a great deal about James and Emma's relationship through flashbacks and dreams, which are well written and fit into the story wonderfully. From the start you find yourself feeling for Emma, crying along with her, wanting to help her heal, liking James coming back, and then becoming not so sure about it. There is the side story of their friends Shel and Matt, and you find yourself enjoying that story and understanding Emma's frustration at first, but wanting the same for her again. It is a complex and deep story with a number of layers and some unexpected events that you don't see coming. I feel comfortable recommending this book to all ages of readers, given parental consent - there is no sex and only the reference to the accident and one fight scene, but it is not graphic. I feel it is a great story to read and talk about with your teens. Enjoy, readers!