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Ghosts of Harvard I could not put this novel down and read for 2 days straight only taking breaks to sleep and eat Absolutely outstanding and a novel that will stay with me FOREVER Francesca Serritella, is a local celebrity to me She and her Mother, Lisa Scottoline, have delighted readers with their chick wit books and columns Francesca is real, thoughtful, open and raw I have gotten the chance to meet her and have been awaiting the arrival of this book for years I must say IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT.GHOSTS I could not put this novel down and read for 2 days straight only taking breaks to sleep and eat Absolutely outstanding and a novel that will stay with me FOREVER Francesca Serritella, is a local celebrity to me She and her Mother, Lisa Scottoline, have delighted readers with their chick wit books and columns Francesca is real, thoughtful, open and raw I have gotten the chance to meet her and have been awaiting the arrival of this book for years I must say IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT.GHOSTS OF HARVARD transcends genre classification It is a psychological thriller with twists and turns, it is emotional suspense with heavy layered family drama, characters that are multi dimensional and real, it is part ghost story full of haunting a and it is so beautifully written that it takes on a lyrical aspect While reading, I felt myself walking the scenic campus of Harvard, got lost in the historical buildings and beauty of Cambridge Throughout reading some of the scenes drove me to tears and were so beautifully written that I had to stop reading to be able to process fully and savor what I had just read I loved the character of Cady I felt she was so beautifully written and I wanted to know her Her naivety as a freshman trying to navigate so many emotions made me connect to her I loved how open she was with herself but it felt real how closed off she was with others I admire Francesca so much for not only writing this novel and persevering through the years it took to make her dream of being a novelist a reality, but also for pouring so much emotion onto the page She did so much research and also put so much of herself into these pages and the vulnerability And the rawness made the novel feel so real.Francesca Serritella has written a novel that I will put in the hands of every reader I see Fans of Jodi Picoult will love the emotion, fans of Kate Morton, Camille DiMaio and Fiona Davis will love how the setting takes on its on character and fans of Lisa Scottoline will love the twists and turns and Action.Congratulations Francesca You already had a fan in me from your columns and our personal interactions You are absolutely amazing Thanks to the author, Random House and netgalley for an early read Counting down the days until May 5 when I can share this with so many others 3 stars It s supposed to be a time when you re about to embark on your adult life, but for many young people, that springboard lookslike a precipice Ghosts of Harvard is a patchwork of a novel While the summary seems to promiseof thriller academia type of book I personally would not recommend this to those who enjoy campus novels or dark academia , what we do get is a mishmash of genres and storylines to start with we have a moving family drama that examines the realities 3 stars It s supposed to be a time when you re about to embark on your adult life, but for many young people, that springboard lookslike a precipice Ghosts of Harvard is a patchwork of a novel While the summary seems to promiseof thriller academia type of book I personally would not recommend this to those who enjoy campus novels or dark academia , what we do get is a mishmash of genres and storylines to start with we have a moving family drama that examines the realities of caring for someone with a mental illness, then we head into the supernatural combined with the type of amateur investigation that is all the rage in domestic thrillers someone you know has done something bad , before culminating in a melodramatic final act.Francesca Serritella strikingly renders the setting of Harvard Sadly however her protagonist s investigation into her brother s time there takes the centre stage, so that Cadence s studies and interactions with other students receive limited attention only Nevertheless Serritella certainly knows Harvard, and she demonstrates her knowledge of its history, architecture, and traditions in a very compelling and evocative way.After her brother s suicide Cadence is obviously overwhelmed Eric was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia while studying at Harvard so Cadence does feel to a certain extent haunted Hoping that being at Harvard will somehow bring her closer to her brother, she soon begins to suspect that her brother was hiding something As she becomes obsessed with her brother s past, she begins to hear voices What follows is a story that has the trappings of most domestic thrillers, the only difference being the academic backdrop.The third person narration distances us from Cadence, so that much of her personality remains unseen We know of her troubled relationship with her mother but we never truly delve into Cadence s sense of self She makes many nonsensical decisions for plot reasons, and I can t say that she ever did or said anything remotely remarkable or moving Perhaps I would have sympathisedwith her if she had at any point had an introspective moment She briefly questions herself only when she s worried that the voices she s hearing are a figment of her imagination or a sign that she too may suffer from schizophrenia She forms superficial friendships with her roommates and a guy who shares one of her classes, but for the most part she only comes into contact with individuals who are directly connected to her brother and his secret Speaking of Eric s friends, it was weird that Cadence only speaks to his best friend once Although Cadence grows close to one of her brother s peers, I never believed that she cared for the living people she encounters at Harvard She becomes somewhat chummy with the three ghosts who keep talking to her in her head, and who unsurprisingly help her in her investigation.Throughout the course of Cadence s investigation we get snippets from her past that focus on her family life and her bond with Eric These were easily my favourite parts of the novel These scenes, although painful, possessed a genuine quality that made them muchpoignant that the ones that take place at Harvard Simple narratives were easier to tell, to teach, to understand, to remember The lie endures for generations, while the truth dies with its victims But what were the consequences Serritella s writing was absorbing and I generally enjoyed her reflections on family, mental health, grief, and Harvard s history.While part of me was happy that the novel didn t drag on the are the voice real or not , ultimately I wasn t all that taken by the novel s execution it veers into exaggerated territories that are punctuated by flashy twists What could have been a compassionate exploration of grief and of loving someone who suffers from a mental illness is weighed down by unnecessary thriller esque melodrama The supernatural element would have been a lothaunting if it hadn t been so cheesily predictable While I appreciated the novel s commentary on academia educational institutions, and the nuanced portrayal of Eric s mental illness as well as the realistic depiction of the stigma and discrimination against mental health, I was underwhelmed by the storyline and finale Specific plot points scenes that were unconvincing clich d The prologue I m tired of these prologues that tease a possible death that is to come The novel s first chapters were compelling enough that they did not require such a gimmicky opening Cadence s first interaction with her roommate was jarring I m Ranjoo, do you hate me already Only for those abs Who says that Maybe if we had a better grasp of Cadence s personality I could have believed that she would say something alongs these lines view spoiler A cashier who works at the Science Center food court recognises Cadence You gotta brother who goes here, don t you The sushi, the total discombobulation, just like him But the red hair s the giveaway You re a dead ringer Yet the cashier doesn t know that Eric is deathwhich is weird since he committed suicide on campus, and later on we are told that everyone who works studies there was aware of the death of a student hide spoiler Nikos view spoiler Eric s alleged friend From his first appearance I knew his game Why do characters with British accents or Greek ancestry have to be such stereotypes Cadence is supposed to be a smart girl and yet she doesn t pick up on Niko s questionable behaviour responses And that was a great game, you know, really close, that s how I like it, I like the win to mean something And he says this before he s unmasked Also I tend to dislike it when one character is made into a psychopath of sorts who says villainy stuff like Since my freshman year, beating Eric Archer was my raison d tre Good God hide spoiler The ghosts view spoiler I m not a fan of let s explain the supernatural with fake science , and I didn t buy the Cadence s explanation behind the voices from the past phenomena Why Cadence of all people should hear them And why these three ghosts The whole ghost storyline was very quid pro quo the ghosts help Cadence, Cadence helps the ghosts And don t even get me started on the weird romance if we can call it that that Cadence develops with that one ghost That sex scene seemedappropriated toGhost 1990 hide spoiler Prokop view spoiler She s Russian so she just had to be a cold hearted manipulative spy And what was the deal with this spy storyline It felt so out of place hide spoiler Eric view spoiler While I generally found him to be one of therealistic characters, I was worried that his mental illness would also be chalked up to the ghosts thankfully it wasn t Still it seemed weird that Cadence wouldn t wonder whether he also heard ghosts after all she is , especially after she discovers that his advisor was a spy who was quite likely keeping tabs on him aggravating his paranoia hide spoiler The chapters would often end on these would be cliffhangers view spoiler Such as when a taxi barrels towards Cadence or when Cadence discovers that her mother was with Eric on the night he died hide spoiler Lee view spoiler How realistic was it that Cadence s first guess about the identity of the person behind the fake FB account was spot on She had very little proof but is adamant of Lee s guilt hide spoiler The epilogue view spoiler tried to cram too much of Cadence s life after the events of the novel We suddenly read about all of these friends she hasand I just did not care for them or her hide spoiler All in all I can t say that I disliked Ghosts of Harvard but there were many elements within the narrative that lessened my overall reading experience and opinion of the book.Readreviews on my blog View all my reviews on Goodreads Audiobook narrated by Karissa VackerThis debut novel was compulsively readable not without flaws , but the interwoven mystery, history, suicide, schizophrenia, academia, family background, secrets, grief, college life, and the supernatural, guiding voices , was well written and unravels at a pace that kept me hooked until the end Outstanding campus descriptions of Harvard A very enjoyable complex chiller thriller If there was ever a book that should be made into a moviethis is Audiobook narrated by Karissa VackerThis debut novel was compulsively readable not without flaws , but the interwoven mystery, history, suicide, schizophrenia, academia, family background, secrets, grief, college life, and the supernatural, guiding voices , was well written and unravels at a pace that kept me hooked until the end Outstanding campus descriptions of Harvard A very enjoyable complex chiller thriller If there was ever a book that should be made into a moviethis is it Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me That means nothing People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion3.5 starsA long time fan of Lisa Scottoline, I was very excited to see her daughter, Francesca Serritella, had also written a noveland the synopsis sounded amazing I was thrilled when the publisher sent me a copy Ghosts of Harvard follows the story of CadyNow he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me That means nothing People like us, who believe in physics, know that the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion3.5 starsA long time fan of Lisa Scottoline, I was very excited to see her daughter, Francesca Serritella, had also written a noveland the synopsis sounded amazing I was thrilled when the publisher sent me a copy Ghosts of Harvard follows the story of Cady as she traverses the Harvard campus during her freshman year, and attempts to discover why her brother committed suicide there the previous spring This novel is beautifully written and incredibly well researched I was amazed by the amount of investigating Serritella did to make things factually relevant It was truly impressive A Harvard alum, she had a keen insight into the workings of the Ivy League institution, which was fascinating I found myself looking up images of the buildings and places she described Having said that, this book was far too long, a bit repetitive, and I m not entirely sure the ghost stories really worked I found them to be a distractionand was disappointed when their appearance was never actually explained Overall, I d say this is a better than average debut novel, but veryslow burning Available TOMORROW in the United StatesMy sincere thanks to the publisher for my review copy. I received a copy of this book from the publisher Random House and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Ghosts of Harvard completely blew me away At its core, it houses such a poignant window into mental illness and the victims it leaves behind when those struggling with it take their own lives The portrayal of grief is brutal and beautiful and real And yet this story is so muchthan that As she explores the Harvard campus on which her brother took his own life, Cady is faced wi I received a copy of this book from the publisher Random House and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review Ghosts of Harvard completely blew me away At its core, it houses such a poignant window into mental illness and the victims it leaves behind when those struggling with it take their own lives The portrayal of grief is brutal and beautiful and real And yet this story is so muchthan that As she explores the Harvard campus on which her brother took his own life, Cady is faced with a plethora of mysteries While her brother s last days consume her from the start, she also finds herself digging into the university s past as she grapples with fear over her own future Ghosts of Harvard is a brilliant and seamless bridging of so many ideas and genres I am in awe of how much research went into the writing of this book, and how Serritella was able to convey so much without a single aspect feeling forced She struck a perfect balance in so many ways, and she truly gave the world a gift through the publication of this novel Then where s the room for a leap of faith Just because you can t explain something doesn t make it untrue Is there anythingterrifying that the fear of madness The author does a brilliant job at portraying that fear in Cady While she is compelled to investigate her brother s suicide and discover what drove him during his last days, she is also fighting a rising terror that she is schizophrenic, as well Her reactions are wholly believable without being either overly dramatic or unconvincingly nonchalant Watching her spiral over the course of her investigation was disturbing and tense and filled me with a compassion for her that I find rarely invoked by fictional characters Cady felt so real to me She s a bright girl who always lived in her brother s shadow, and she doesn t know how to do anything but follow in his footsteps Cady is also one of the most internally aware and honest characters I ve come across She asks herself hard questions and tries her best to answer them, even when it s impossible She truly struggles to not only understand the brother who left her, but to learn who she is as a person, and I found this journey enthralling The say that fate is written in the stars, but the irony is that stars don t project the future, they reflect the past I like to think the people we ve lost are like the stars Their light hasn t gone out Candlelight goes out But something as bright as a star, as a soul, that light moves on This is a novel of obsession Cady is completely obsessed with learning all she can about her brother s last year of life, and finding any little excuse she can grasp that might have finally pushed him over the edge into suicide She is so consumed by this need for information that she begins seeing conspiracies in every shadow How much of this need is madness worming its way into her own mind, and how much is actually real And how can she maintain her grasp on reality, and her new life on an incredibly prestigious and difficult campus when she s so wrapped up in the past But time was two faced Minutes that ticks by like any other were the moments that changed a life forever, yet revealed themselves too late Then there are the ghosts The voices that Cady begins hearing in her head are one of the most fascinating elements of this novel Are they an indicator that she is spiraling into madness Are they supernatural phenomena Or can they be explained by weird science along the lines of that explored in Blake Crouch s most recent novels All three possibilities were deftly juggled in a way that never tipped the author s hand, but also didn t feel frustratingly vague There was one reveal in this ghostly aspect of the book that literally elicited a physiological response from me With one word, or rather, one name, I found myself covered from shin to eyebrow with chills It was a powerful moment Do we all pick only the best snapshots to remember in our mental scrapbooks and throw away the bad Perhaps all photo albums should bear the subtitle The Past The Way You Want to Remember It I m a sucker for any novel revolving around or set within academia Any school story is immediately appealing to me Very few real life schools arewell known than Harvard, so I was excited to pick up this book merely on the basis of the title Thankfully, the school setting was truly utilized here, and the school itself became a very important character in its own right The history of the school is fascinating, and I learned so much over the course of reading Ghosts of Harvard And yet I never felt like Serritella was being too heavy handed in her conveyance of this history, but instead balanced it very well against every other element of the story History is never as simple a narrative as we write in books Some people have expressed a frustration with the slow pacing of the book I felt that pacing was actually very well maintained Yes, the story meanders But it s meant to Because we are experiencing Cady s revelations alongside her, I felt that the pace of the story emphasized the time and care she as a character was putting into her hunt for answers Her flashbacks were meted out in exactly the right amount I never felt myself drowning in backstory, but was instead excited to seeof Cady s past and how it had shaped her I found the rhythm of the novel captivating I also found the book farunpredictable than I would have expected, which was a welcome surprise This is a story that definitely keeps you on your toes She noticed how easy it was to edit someone s past so that all the pieces of a person fit neatly together The lie endures for generations, while the truth dies with its victims But what were the consequences Probably my favorite element of this book was the philosophical bent to the writing Serritella has a beautiful way with words, and I heavily annotated my copy Not only does she write beautifully, she writes deeply There was so much philosophical depth to this book I was prompted to really think and self evaluate over the course of the book Not only was I touched by Cady s story, I was actually impacted by it in a way that I truly believe will stick with me Adventure is only possible if you don t spoil the ending Much like the university after which it is named, Ghosts of Harvard contains multitudes This book is a campus mystery, a coming of age story, a scientific exploration of mental illness, a tale of espionage, a moving historical account, a romance, an esoteric dive into poetry and philosophy and faith and prejudice and a family drama While this mingling could have led to a bloated and unpalatable slough, all of these elements were instead woven together with a level of grace and care that is truly rare It was everything I hoped it would be and , and I will be doing my best to get it into as many hands as I can It s a book that will haunt me, and I gladly welcome it You can find this review andat Novel Notions I think this novel could be described as a literary paranormal mystery Part of the mystery is whether it s paranormal or if Cadence Cady has schizophrenia like her older brother, who committed suicide at Harvard, the school she is now attending as a freshman Up until his diagnosis, Eric was Cady s best friend But the last two years of his life were tough, even when he was on his meds, which he kept not taking Cady blames herself for his death The if onlys keep cycling through her mind I think this novel could be described as a literary paranormal mystery Part of the mystery is whether it s paranormal or if Cadence Cady has schizophrenia like her older brother, who committed suicide at Harvard, the school she is now attending as a freshman Up until his diagnosis, Eric was Cady s best friend But the last two years of his life were tough, even when he was on his meds, which he kept not taking Cady blames herself for his death The if onlys keep cycling through her mind She has his notebook with his cryptic notes Eric used to make puzzles like this for her to decode, and she thinks if she can decode this, she ll have some understanding of why he jumped.So Cady has all the stress of grieving a brother who died just months earlier mixed with the anxiety of being a new student away from home in the dorms at the most prestigious school in the country combined with her decision to uncover a mystery Along the way she s helped by ghosts of Harvard Points of originality to the author Parts were really beautifully written Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book, which RELEASES MAY 5, 2020 Perhaps if the author had any idea what she wanted this book to be she wouldn t have needed a bloated, melodramatic 500 pages to tell her story The basic plot involves Cady, a Harvard freshman who has followed her brother Eric to college a few months after he committed suicide there Eric was a paranoid schizophrenic and Cady uses his incoherent notebook to try to trace the last months of his life to find out why he died Unfortunately, the basic plot is stretched in too many directions famil Perhaps if the author had any idea what she wanted this book to be she wouldn t have needed a bloated, melodramatic 500 pages to tell her story The basic plot involves Cady, a Harvard freshman who has followed her brother Eric to college a few months after he committed suicide there Eric was a paranoid schizophrenic and Cady uses his incoherent notebook to try to trace the last months of his life to find out why he died Unfortunately, the basic plot is stretched in too many directions family drama, ghost story, thriller There are also too many issues schizophrenia, guilt, grief, auditory hallucinations, theoretical physics, slavery, sexual harassment, anti Semitism, academic espionage And then there s the whole sex with a ghost thing Admittedly, the book did keep me reading so I m rounding my 2.5 star rating up to 3 I hope that if the author writes another book there is an editor involved I received a free copy of this book from the publisher To enjoy Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella, one must have an interest in spirits aka ghosts I was a huge fan of the TV series Ghost Whisperer and this is in the same vein Basically, it s not realistic fiction beyond the ghost factor, we have a plucky Harvard Freshman who sleuths her way, by ignoring classes and classwork Perhaps the setting should have been a third rate university However, there is a reason that author Serritella chose Harvard to tell her tale, and she provides To enjoy Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella, one must have an interest in spirits aka ghosts I was a huge fan of the TV series Ghost Whisperer and this is in the same vein Basically, it s not realistic fiction beyond the ghost factor, we have a plucky Harvard Freshman who sleuths her way, by ignoring classes and classwork Perhaps the setting should have been a third rate university However, there is a reason that author Serritella chose Harvard to tell her tale, and she provides that information in her Author s Note.Basically, Cady, our intrepid protagonist, enrolls in Harvard to find out why her beloved schizophrenic brother, Eric, killed himself Eric was a genius but was a noncompliant patient with a history of going off his medications Cady is determined to discover what led Eric to commit suicide.While on her quest, Cady begins to hear voices in her mind These voices are spirits who are trapped in Harvard Each spirit either went to school at Harvard or worked there Serritella has political reasons to use her spirits.In a short period, Cady unravels some secrets of her brother She follows clues she unearthed It s preposterous that Cady accomplished all that she did in about a month s time, while still attending school Again, it s not realistic fiction.What Serritella does well is show how mental illness impacts a family Add suicide to that illness, and families fall apart Also, I m a huge fan of Author s Notes and she does a great job explaining her use of the ghosts.This story is billed as a thriller, which it does build up to be at the last third of the story There were a couple of obvious clues that Cady missed however, Serritella threw in a couple of last minute plot twists that made the read interesting.It s a so so read I cannot say I d recommend it I listened to the audio of the story, performed by Karissa Vacker Vacker is fantastic with her wide range of voices This is a book that revolves around the suicide of a family member and how the family struggles to cope and understand The writing is impeccable The writer spent a great deal of time researching and fine tuning it down to every detail It was very impressive After Eric takes his own life one night in April on the campus of Harvard His sister Cady decided to follow in his footsteps and attend Harvard She longs to find answers to the questions she has about her brother s last days.The story t This is a book that revolves around the suicide of a family member and how the family struggles to cope and understand The writing is impeccable The writer spent a great deal of time researching and fine tuning it down to every detail It was very impressive After Eric takes his own life one night in April on the campus of Harvard His sister Cady decided to follow in his footsteps and attend Harvard She longs to find answers to the questions she has about her brother s last days.The story takes an odd turn as Cady starts hearing voices once she gets to Harvard Yet they are not the voice of her brother but people from the past People that have lived in these very buildings around her and made up the history of this school She panics as she realizes that the first sign her brother had were voices in his head She worries that genetics may be taking her down the same road Except these voices are telling her things that are historically true Is the stress of it all triggering the first symptoms of schizophrenia or is she truly having a supernatural experience within the walls of Harvard Although I did enjoy the story, it was a very slow burn for me I knew from the blurb that it would be based on suicide and mental illness but I expectedof that to be part of the story and not the majority of it There is alot of talk about suicide and it was a bit hard to push through at times It was beautifully written and a very impressive amount of research was done into the the arts, physics and history of the University I was hoping for a bit of a ghostly eerie, gothic vibe I am sure many will really enjoy this story though, it just wasn t for me.Thank you so much to Random House for this ARC A Harvard Freshman Becomes Obsessed With Her Schizophrenic Brother S Suicide Then She Starts Hearing Voices Cadence Archer Arrives On Harvard S Campus Desperate To Understand Why Her Brother, Eric, A Genius Who Developed Paranoid Schizophrenia Took His Own Life There The Year Before Losing Eric Has Left A Black Hole In Cady S Life, And While Her Decision To Follow In Her Brother S Footsteps Threatens To Break Her Family Apart, She Is Haunted By Questions Of What She Might Have Missed And There S Only One Place To Find Answers As Cady Struggles Under The Enormous Pressure At Harvard, She Investigates Her Brother S Final Year, Armed Only With A Blue Notebook Of Eric S Cryptic Scribblings She Knew He Had Been Struggling With Paranoia, Delusions, And Illusory Enemies But What Tipped Him Over The Edge With Her Suspicions Mounting, Cady Herself Begins To Hear Voices, Seemingly Belonging To Three Ghosts Who Walked The University S Hallowed Halls Or Huddled In Its Slave Quarters Among Them Is A Person Whose Name Has Been Buried For Centuries, And Another Whose Name Mankind Will Never Forget Does She Share Eric S Illness, Or Is She Tapping Into Something Else Cady Doesn T Know How Or Why These Ghosts Are Contacting Her, But As She Is Drawn Deeper Into Their Worlds, She Believes They Re Moving Her Closer To The Truth About Eric, Even As Keeping Them Secret Isolates Her Further Will Listening To These Voices Lead Her To The One Voice She Craves Her Brother S Or Will She Follow Them Down A Path To Her Own Destruction


About the Author: Francesca Serritella

Francesca Serritella is a bestselling author and columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer She graduated cum laude from Harvard University, where she won the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize, the Le Baron Russell Briggs Fiction Prize, and the Charles Edmund Horman Prize for her creative writing She lives in New York with one dog and one cat, so far.


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