The Thing With Feathers

The Thing With Feathers

Featured
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
1068   0
Write Review
The Thing With Feathers
Author(s)
Publisher
Age Range
12+
Release Date
September 05, 2017
ISBN
978-0310758518

Emilie Day believes in playing it safe: she’s homeschooled, her best friend is her seizure dog, and she’s probably the only girl on the Outer Banks of North Carolina who can’t swim. Then Emilie’s mom enrolls her in public school, and Emilie goes from studying at home in her pj’s to halls full of strangers. To make matters worse, Emilie is paired with starting point guard Chatham York for a major research project on Emily Dickinson. She should be ecstatic when Chatham shows interest, but she has a problem. She hasn’t told anyone about her epilepsy. Emilie lives in fear her recently adjusted meds will fail and she’ll seize at school. Eventually, the worst happens, and she must decide whether to withdraw to safety or follow a dead poet’s advice and “dwell in possibility.” From Golden Heart award-winning author McCall Hoyle comes The Thing with Feathers, a story of overcoming fears, forging new friendships, and finding a first love, perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven, Robyn Schneider, and Sharon M. Draper.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0  (1)
Characters 
 
5.0  (1)
Writing Style 
 
5.0  (1)
(Updated: February 13, 2017)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0

A Soaring Debut

A refreshing, quality debut--meaningfully woven and beautifully engaging, from the first page to the last.

Emilie Day's "normal" life ended one day in the middle of elementary school, when she suddenly had a seizure. The uncontrolled nature of her newly diagnosed epilepsy meant that homeschooling was the only suitable option--one which worked well for a time thanks to the support of her father and the addition of a beloved service dog. But it's now three years after Emilie's father died, and her relationship with her mother has become strained. Thanks to a stabilizing medication, it is finally plausible for her to transition back into public school--which is precisely what her therapist is recommending. But Emilie has trouble seeing the shift as anything but an ongoing opportunity to embarrass herself in front of new friends and classmates.

The obligation of having to explain to all of her friends and close acquaintances what they need to do and watch for if she experiences a grand mal seizure--complete with possible vomiting and/or loss of bowel/bladder control--is understandably unappealing to her. Especially when one of the people she may need to tell happens to be a surprisingly interesting basketball player who might be vying for boyfriend material. And her mother's recent odd behavior isn't making things any easier in Emilie's mind...

Told in a remarkably unobtrusive first-person present-tense format, THE THING WITH FEATHERS is a coming-of-age story centered around new beginnings, old grief, and coming to terms with an "invisible" disability. I liked the subject matter and voice in the blurb enough to give this a go, but it was the first line that truly snared me: "My mother lost her mind today, and I'm going to prison." A terrific introduction to the main character, Emilie, in a single (and perplexingly snarky) sentence. From there the author doesn't just grab initial attention, she holds onto it with crisp writing, insightful emotional depth, and a relatably smart, sarcastic heroine.

Kudos to the author on such solid characterization of a service animal. Hitch (Emilie's seizure-sensing golden retriever) feels immediately believable, and his functionality is explained and expanded on at natural intervals. What's more, the additional significance and personality Emilie ascribes to his actions and facial expressions often tells readers as much (if not more) about her own mindset as it does about the dog himself.

"If Hitch were a person, he'd be Mother Theresa or Gandhi or someone who treated all living creatures with the respect they deserve. It's depressing how my dog is a better human being than I am."

I'd never before heard the theory that Emily Dickinson may have been Epileptic--but it would certainly explain both her reclusive nature (especially during an era in which the condition was misunderstood and stigmatized) and her broodingly hopeful compositions. That tie-in was a welcome organic thread, offering opportunity for both educational points and outside literary input; without beating readers over the head with it. There isn't anything surprising about the plot itself--no twists or anything you won't see coming from early on. The primary antagonist (outside of Epilepsy itself) struck this reader as almost disappointingly toothless. But the story's execution is charming and the ending pulls everything together with a satisfying and ultimately hopeful symmetry.

Final Analysis:

This is the kind of strong writing and memorable, empathy-expanding content this reader loves to see in contemporary YA. I would unhesitatingly thrust this book into the hands of my goddaughters.

Hoyle is a talented new fiction voice, and an author I'd highly recommend keeping an eye on!

Favorite Quotes:

*"Some people see the liquid and think half full. Others only see the air and think half empty. Sometimes I get the sense Chatham sees it all, which is kind of terrifying. I don't know if I want him to see me--the real me."

"Hope is the thing with feathers--
that perches in the soul--
And sings the tune without words--
And never stops--at all."
~Emily Dickinson

Was this review helpful to you? 

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

Monster (Gone #7)
It’s been four years since a meteor hit Perdido Beach...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Sink or Swim: A Novel of World War II
It's been a month since the bombing of Pearl Harbor....
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The White Tower
When Livy's accepted at Temple College, an exclusive school for...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Abby in Wonderland (Whatever After Special Edition)
Down the rabbit hole . . . ...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Rapunzel, the One With all the Hair (Twice Upon a Time #1)
There are two sides to every story -- even fairy...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Genuine Fraud
The story of a young woman whose diabolical smarts are...
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian meets...
 
4.8 (2)
 
0.0 (0)
This Darkness Mine
Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her...
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Dear Martin
Justyce McAllister is top of his class and set...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
The Last Namsara
Kristen Ciccarelli’s debut fantasy explores an intricately woven world...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Blood Dragons (Rebel Vampires Volume 1)
A young rebel vampire, a red-haired devil, and a...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
An Enchantment of Ravens
Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Apex (Hunter Series #3)
Being a member of the Elite Hunter Command imperils Joy...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Bad Girl Gone
A recently deceased girl must solve her own murder in...
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Dog Day Afterschool (Crimebiters #3)
Just what every crimebiting gang needs... a cat?!?! ...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Slider
David can eat an entire sixteen-inch pepperoni pizza in four...
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)

Latest Member Reviews

Monster (Gone #7)
 
4.7
"Let me start by saying that while this is the seventh (yes, seventh!) book in a series, I haven't ever..."
Genuine Fraud
 
3.3
"This is my first book by E. Lockhart and boy did it stress me out! Told in reverse, I flipped..."
First Came Forever (The Angelheart Saga #1)
 
5.0
"I am totally blown away by this book! It’s just absolutely adorable! I was hooked from the very first page..."
The Last Namsara
 
5.0
"The Last Namsara is easily one of my favourite fantasy books of this year. I mean, a princess who slays..."
Apex (Hunter Series #3)
 
5.0
"APEX is the epic, action-packed finale to the Hunter Series. Joy is now a member of the Elite Hunter Command..."
Bad Girl Gone
 
4.0
"Sixteen-year-old Echo Stone wakes up and finds herself in a dark house with other kids. Middle House is the home..."
An Ember in the Ashes
 
4.3
"Looooooved this book. I devoured each page. Savored every word. The writing is gorgeous. The characters are flawed but sympathetic...."
Three Dark Crowns
 
5.0
"LOVE. THIS. BOOK. Looooooooove! I'm not sure I'll make it to September when the second book is released. ..."
Nevermore (Nevermore #1)
 
4.0
"What a ride! As a Poe enthusiast, I found this book irresistible. I struggled to put it down. And, when..."
Siege and Storm (Grisha Trilogy #2)
 
5.0
"I'm in love with this book series. LOVE. The world building, the story, the characters... *book nerd heart sigh* ..."
Ruin and Rising (Grisha Trilogy #3)
 
5.0
"I am now officially in a state of end-of-book-series mourning. I shall don my book nerd black armband and grapple..."
Caraval
 
3.7
"**spoiler alert** This. Was. AMAZING! I love psychological thrillers and gothic tales. However, the ending left me ... uncomfortable. ..."
The Scorpio Races
 
5.0
"I'm struggling for words to adequately describe my experience while reading this phenomenal story. All I know is that..."
On A LARP
 
5.0
"“And you want to know something else, something truly freaky? It is absolutely amazing how much stuff can flit through..."
Slider
 
5.0
"David is interested in competitive eating-- he can eat a pizza pretty quickly, and he's watched a lot of competitions..."
Candidate (The Black Mage Book 3)
 
4.3
"A wild, heart-pounding fantasy. The Story: Ryiah is no longer a student and she's no longer just a..."
The Naming (Pellinor #1)
 
4.7
"Alison Croggon’s THE NAMING: BOOK ONE OF PELLINOR is a high fantasy tale that draws from and rivals some of..."
Book of Fire
 
4.0
"Book of Fire is a fast paced and action packed debut that dystopian fans will not want to miss. ..."
Apprentice (The Black Mage Book 2)
 
3.7
"Definitely an intriguing story that will keep you anxious to begin the next one. The Story: Ryiah is no..."
The Wood
 
4.0
"THE WOOD by Chelsea Bobulski is bound to be the next guiltiest pleasure on the market. Complete with time travel,..."