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Ghost Medicine Hardcover – September 2, 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Smith's first novel, a deceptively simple coming-of-age story, defies expectations via its sublime imagery and its elliptical narrative structure. Troy, 16, and two childhood friends spend the summer following Troy's mother's death wrangling wild horses while drinking homemade wine and sampling chewing tobacco. Each of their brushes with danger—a rattlesnake attack, a predatory mountain lion—they commemorate with tattoos and rituals in homage to the mysterious force they call ghost medicine. The intrepid Troy—who, in the beginning of the book, reads sections of The Idiot and Jude the Obscure while hiding out in his grandfather's mountain cabin with his horse—grapples with his mother's death through philosophical ruminations: There might be a God [but] He is, at best, ambivalent to all of the things set in motion in this world. In the periphery is Troy's first love, Luz, for whom Troy contemplates staying forever in the idyllic landscape, rather than leaving for college. While the summer climaxes with jarring violence, the possibility of a true departure never materializes: the outside world is held at bay by the inscrutable questions unveiled in the book's conclusion. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
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From School Library Journal

Grade 8 Up—Distant from his emotionally absent father, and missing his mother, who died recently, 16-year-old Troy first finds solace on a solo camping trip and then with his friends—Tom Buller, a wild and fearless farmhand; Gabe Benavidez, the timorous and underestimated son of a wealthy Western ranch owner; and Luz Benavidez, Gabe's sister and Troy's lifetime love. That summer is a journey of loss, self-discovery, pain, triumph, and growth as the young people try to define who they are and what they're meant to do. Oftentimes they seek answers from what Troy calls Ghost Medicine, a Native American philosophy that explains the strength and signs that can be drawn from nature. While Troy senses that change is coming fast and fierce, he never imagines the deadly threat the sheriff's son imposes when childhood pranks, jealousy, and vengeance get out of control. Troy wishes to be lost, but his greatest hope is to be found, and Ghost Medicine beautifully captures that paradox in this timeless and tender coming-of-age story. Not only will it inspire readers to prod the boundaries of their own courage, but it will also remind them that life and love are precious and fleeting.—Terri Clark, Smokey Hill Library, Centennial, CO
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Feiwel & Friends; First Edition edition (September 2, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312375573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312375577
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,372,775 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Ghost Medicine Troy Stott's story. It is about friendship, growing up, choices, grief, and so much more. This is a captivating story that offers a wonderful alternative to the usual action-driven fare presented to teens. Teenagers (and adults) connect with Troy, and we understand his need for hope. Some of the content and language do not suit young children, but mature readers (10+) should be able to handle the common references to tobacco and alcohol. The story itself lacks the expected qualities of complicated twists and the anticipated romance, but that is what makes the novel so different and special. Its mood is very calm, even with the occasional violence. The author describes every scene with great detail and dialogue. There were a few chapters where those details slow down the pace and may cause the reader to drop his or her attention. But you should keep reading. As the story progresses, the characters evolve into complex and understandable people. This novel will make the reader wish for something like the ghost medicine. It helped Troy and his friends stay invisible and invincible against time, even for the briefest moment.
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Format: Hardcover
From the first page this book commands attention, hinting at enough adventure and drama to hook reluctant readers in such a lyrical way that the most literary of readers wouldn't be turned off either: the perfect blend of compelling characters, strong narrative voice and coming of age turmoil.

Andrew Smith's first novel indicates a great career to come, but in the meantime there is plenty to enjoy. His debut is beautifully but plainly written, and addresses difficult subjects with honesty, portraying adolescence in all of its mixed-up, complicated glory.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I haven't purchased this book on Kindle but I read it in paperback and IT. WAS. AMAZING. I highly recommend this book. I was highly intrigued and it gets your heart pumping. It left me thinking about it for several days and earned it's well-deserved and hard-to-get place in my favorites library. It is worth every cent.
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Format: Hardcover
I don't care who you are, teen or adult, male or female, you're going to love this book. Smith's prose is clear and perfect, the characters are bigger than life but from life, and the tension in these scene's is almost unbearable. A lot of people are going to say Ghost Medicine is Cormac McCarthy for teens, and the comparison is an apt one, but this book is too good and too original to be compared to anyone. I especially recommend this for the reluctant teen reader in your life; it will change their minds about what a book can do. And the great part is that, once they've finished--and they'll zip through it--you'll have the pleasure of reading it yourself. Can't say enough.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Another book that was believable and hard to put down. As usual with Andrew Smith there is the struggle by a coming of age male who has parents who are no help at all. Through a series of adverse adventures, the hero grows up. The character development in this is great. I can visualize the settings and the characters are believable. A very good read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Truly a heartbreaking novel. This story is about growing up and finding your own way, trying to look the other way when trouble is coming at you and learning how to deal with love and loss. A must read for the entire family.
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Format: Hardcover
Andrew Smith's Ghost Medicine chronicles the life of Troy and his best friends through the summer before his junior year of high school. Boys especially will identify with the characters and situations they encounter, but it is a book everyone will enjoy from cover to cover. I read glued to the pages from beginning to end. Andrew wrote completely free spirited leading to unanticipated events and resolutions throughout the story. Not only would I recommend this book to teens, the target group, but also to those who enjoy reading. You will laugh. You will cry. And you will feel as though you know those boys.
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Format: Paperback
At the very beginning stages of Ghost Medicine I could tell that Andrew Smith had different intentions than many other authors out there. Andrew has a very interesting and unique style that captures this story so beautifully, yet at the same time towards the end, he had me so furious that I was ready to throw this very same book at him. He has an ability to hold his readers captive quite well and I applaud him greatly for that.
Troy Stotts is indeed a great character. His mother passed away from cancer, his brother died a tragic death. It is now only him and his father. They make a great team, just a bit lonely with the others gone. Troy has a huge heart for horses. A country kid at heart, tried and true. I loved the idea of this. And with his best friends by his side, Troy, Tom, and Gabe set out for an unforgettable journey they never intended to take. We get to see the soft side of Troy and his feelings for Luz, and how two boys make all the difference to and old woman. One person can make such a huge impact on so many different things. In Ghost Medicine, we see this in so many ways. My heart wrapped around so many lovely characters, only to be broken by the sad and most memorable storyline. I found characters I couldn't tolerate well, only to see myself flipping and seeing a new side, only to fall in love yet again with another hero. And although there is a hero lying inside of Ghost Medicine, there is far more damage done. Damage I never expected.
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