What would you do with the power to spend time with your dead loved ones? But how should this power be used? And is it worth it? That’s what Emma tries to figure out, if only it’ll stop her father from obsessing over his machine.
I give this book 2.5 stars (out of five). It’s well written, interesting and has a great plot. Emmaline Beaumont is the main character, after her mom dies and her father becomes obsessed with a machine that can bring back the dead as ghosts. For like two years he spends all his time building this machine in their basement, he doesn’t have a job and he doesn’t look after Emma all he does is work on the Ghost Machine.
One day, fed up with her dad Emma attempts to break the machine but when trying to break it she makes it work. The machine is powered by memories, by feeding it objects that are connected to memories with a dead person you get a few minutes or hours with them but you lose the memories connected to the object. After successfully making the machine work her dad stops obsessing over it as much, he gets a job and starts taking care of Emma. Things are getting better.
Emma tells her best friends (twins Gully and Oliver) about the machine and they use it to see their old pet fish. Later on Gully, Oliver and Emma go skating. They’re talking about the machine and debating whether or not it should be used to help people (giving people the chance to say goodbye, sort out wills, etc). Gully and Oliver are arguing and a few of the things Oliver says upsets Emma because seeing her mom again, reminded her and restarted her grief.
[Major spoiler warning, skip to the last paragraph to avoid them]
She starts crying, Gully leaves the lake with Emma and comforts her. When Emma stops crying they go back to find Oliver and go back inside, but they can’t find Oliver. After they left he fell through the ice and into the freezing water. After a few days in the hospital, he doesn’t make it. Which obviously really hurts Gully and Emma, especially because they were fighting right before he died.
About a week after the accident Emma goes to see Gully and they get into a fight. Not knowing where to go Emma ‘runs away’, to the point where no one knows where she is for a while. Eventually they find her at the hospital in the cafeteria and together Emma, Gully and her father unplug the machine and try to move on. In the epilogue Emma and Gully have grown up and got married, still living in Emma’s childhood house and raising children of their own. In the very end when they’re old and moving out of the house, they use the machine one last time to see Oliver again after many years.
Honestly, I still enjoyed reading this book but it’s so sad. I was actually unprepared, I didn’t expect it to be this sad really, so like be aware this is sad. It’s very emotional throughout the entire book and if you don’t like sad books this isn’t for you. I also have to acknowledge the great dialogue, communication and interaction between the characters.