Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that have been waiting on the ‘to be read’ pile for however long, and are finally getting an airing.
This week I’m showcasing a lovely young adult novella with a touch of the supernatural. Passing Notes was published in January 2016.
This novella highlights today’s changing world and how the ways of communication differ from not that many years ago. The art of letter writing is becoming obsolete along with the need for cursive writing, as computers figure largely in education and people use texting and emails to keep in touch. When Mark Dowd finds himself having to use a very old, odd-looking piece of furniture as a desk in his English class he notices a half hidden carving in the wood. A heart with the name Eileen stylishly carved inside. Mark tries to copy the carving, eventually with a marker pen on the back of his hand as he runs out of space on the paper.
I pressed my pencil tip into the carving and traced the heart and cursive letters. Some dust came up when I pulled my pencil out. Whoever had done this had carved it pretty deep, probably with a knife not a pencil. I wondered how long ago that could have been because kids got expelled these days for having plastic butter knives in their lunch boxes. We’re supposed to spread mayonnaise with our fingers, I guess. Anyway, I decided the kid with the pocketknife had to have carved this valentine at least a decade ago, if not two.
Mark thinks he’s making progress with Bethany, the girl he’s had a crush on for years, but his texts and emails don’t seem to be having the desired effect. Ever since Mark drew the heart on his hand he’s been receiving hand written notes from an unknown source, with advice on how to win Bethany back by writing traditional love letters.
This is a lovely, well written narrative with strong messages; love lives on and if a heart is set on someone special, the relationship is more than worth the thought and effort that goes into it. The underlying story of Mark’s grandmother is an emotional one, the last chapter is very moving and powerful, bringing everything to a wonderful conclusion. I enjoyed the slightly different slant on the supernatural aspect very much. And who wouldn’t love a hand written love letter as opposed to a quick text or email. The story has thought provoking content and it would be an awful shame if this creative skill and expressive method of communication is lost completely.
Mark has finally gotten the attention of the girl of his dreams. Only, his lame attempts at romance through texts and emails seem to be turning her off. When he gets put in the back of the room in an over-full class at school, he begins to discover old notes giving advice about how to write a great love letter. At first he thinks he’s stumbled on some long-forgotten notes passed in class ages ago, but every time he reads them they seem directed specifically to him. They also appear at the perfect moment each time he needs more advice. It’s like someone is haunting him.
How do the notes keep appearing? Who’s writing them? Why?
And if Mark follows the ghostly writer’s advice, will he win Bethany’s love?