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Check It Out: Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella

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This is Kelsey Patterson with the Sioux City Public Library and you’re listening to Check It Out.

Today, I’m recommending Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella. An intoxicating book, you wouldn’t know that this is Serritella’s debut novel. Cadence Archer arrives on Harvard’s campus desperate to understand why her genius brother Eric, who suffered from 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 imaginary enemies—but what tipped him over the edge? Voices fill her head, seemingly belonging to three ghosts who passed through the university in life, or death, and whose voices, dreams, and terrors still echo the halls. 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, 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?

Complete with head spinning twists and turns, Ghosts of Harvard is an exceptional blend of mystery, ghost story, and psychological thriller. But it’s also an engaging tale of personal growth and redemption. Check out Ghosts of Harvard and other great fiction debuts like it at the Sioux City Public Library.

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Avery Brothers.