You can't save everyone.I was tempted to add some new category shelves for this review because the ones I am using don't quite fit the type of retro-reflective, not-really-coming-of-age-but-more-of-a-late-blooming type of read which I experienced. Maybe I should add crime or murder or something, but if I said this was a crime novel, or even a murder mystery, I'd sort of only be giving you part of the picture here.Devin (Dev) is on the path to discovering himself in the summer of 1970-whatever. After experiencing a normal bout of heartbreak, he takes a job at an amusement park. No, it's not quite as glamorous as the picture on the cover (which is quite something, isn't it? I love retro artwork.). Dev's experience was more along the lines of this :Yes, I used a picture of Underdog behind that spoiler. It was either that or Huckleberry Hound or Deputy Dog. It's no matter though. Dev's job had to do with "wearing the fur," which is pretty much the term used for being a doggie mascot. And he saved lives - YES HE DID. I'm not sure what the name Joyland had to do with dogs but who cares?So much of this story was about Dev growing up and experiencing life (then later in life reflecting back on it) that I almost wondered why there was even a murder mystery involved, or why people were seeing ghosts.But as tales often do, everything comes full circle, and solving the mystery brought people close together in a way which got me emotional toward the end. How was I to know that I'd get a little misty eyed over the relationships Dev formed? How could I have known that a single mother and her ailing son would play such a role in making me smile and feel and long for something more?For this is not just another murder mystery. It's so much more.I came across this passage in the book (a few words were removed by me due to spoilers) and I think it sums up what Joyland is about better than my own words could.Those are the things that happened once upon a time and long ago, in a magical year when oil sold for eleven dollars a barrel. The year I got my damn heart broke. The year I lost my virginity. The year I saved a nice little girl from choking and a fairly nasty old man from dying of a heart attack. The year a madman almost killed me. The year I wanted to see a ghost. That was also the year I learned to talk a secret language, and how to dance the Hokey Pokey in a dog costume. The year I discovered that there are worse things than losing the girl.The year I was twenty-one and still a greenie.This is a book about how one moment in the journey of life can change your entire perspective forever. And (for a lack of better words) I like that kind of stuff. Thanks Leea (and Wendy for discussing) for the buddy read!