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Thursday, November 30, 2017

YA Epilepsy Novel Compassionate, Hopeful

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Emilie Day likes her small, predictable world which consists of comfortable, time-worn routines: going to school in her pajamas, binge-watching old movies, reading endless books, and spending time with her canine BFF.  With her therapy dog always by her side, she knows she can handle the epileptic seizures that sometimes overtake her.  Even though she's still grieving the loss of her dad, Emilie has her kind mother, her faithful pooch, and an orderly universe where she is safe from outside scrutiny and public humiliation.  It's enough.

When Mrs. Day decides it's time for Emilie to start attending public school for the first time in her life, Emilie freaks.  What if she seizes at school?  The thought of a bunch of judge-y strangers watching her flail around, maybe even pee herself?  Beyond terrifying.  Emilie absolutely cannot let anyone at school know about her epilepsy.  All she has to do is keep her condition secret for three months—the trial period her mom is insisting on—and she'll be back at home 24/7 where she belongs.

To her complete shock, Emilie immediately attracts the attention of the hottest guy in school.  Against all odds, Chatham York actually seems to like her like her.  Obviously, that will end as soon as he finds out what a freak she is.  When the inevitable happens, Emilie will have to choose—hide away forever or take a chance on a brave, new life.

The Thing With Feathers by McCall Hoyle is a clean, uplifting YA novel about trying to fit in when you can't help but stand out.  It tells a hopeful story that will resonate with teens who feel out of place among their peers for any reason.  The tale is familiar and predictable, without a lot of originality to set it apart.  Emilie is empathetic, but not all that likable.  Her whining, self-pity, and selfishness make her hard to take at times.  She's more realistic than Chatham, though, who's too perfect to feel real.  Because of these issues, I didn't end up loving The Thing With Feathers.  I do, however, appreciate its timely messages about compassion, hope, and the importance of stepping out of our comfort zones in order to grow.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a little of Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for mild sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Thing With Feathers from the generous folks at Blink via those at PR By the Book.  Thank you!

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