Booktalk: Break My Heart 1,000 Times by Daniel Waters

I was first introduced to the writing of Daniel Waters with his excellent zombie novel Generation Dead (which I booktalked in a previous episode back in 2012).  So when I saw that he’d written a novel about ghosts, I definitely knew that it would be worth checking out.  What I enjoy the most about Break My Heart 1,000 Times is that while it’s both a mystery and a scary story, it’s also a deeply emotional story about an empathetic protagonist.  Readers will find themselves rooting for Veronica as she plays both hero and victim as the suspenseful story unfolds.


Veronica lives in a world where ghosts are real.  They aren’t there permanently, but they keep showing up for a few minutes or a few seconds at a time, over and over again.  Sometimes they return to the moment of their deaths.  Sometimes they return to the happiest moments of their lives.  And sometimes they return to ordinary moments of ordinary days.

Veronica sees ghosts every day; she sees ghosts on her way to and from school, in the classrooms, and even at home.  In fact, it’s a ghost that she’s been seeing at home that’s been making her curious and worried.  This is the ghost of a teenage boy who stands in front of her bathroom mirror.  Every day at the same time, he combs his hair, he smiles, and then he vanishes.  But this ghost is unusual because he seems more real to Veronica than the other ghosts she’s seen.  Sometimes it looks like his reflection appears in the bathroom mirror, even though everyone knows that ghosts don’t have reflections.  And sometimes after he vanishes, when Veronica walks over to the place where he stood, the air feels colder in that spot, and she can even smell the cologne that he once used.

Veronica doesn’t know anything about this boy.  She doesn’t know his name, or how he died, or how long he’s been gone.  She also doesn’t know that he is one of many ghosts that are slowly becoming more powerful, and more real.

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