Review Detail

Kids Fiction 143
3 Reasons to Read THE LIST OF UNSPEAKABLE FEARS
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
Essie O'Neill keeps a list of everything she's afraid of. She didn't used to be so scared, but lately, it feels like she's constantly adding things to the list. When her mother remarries and they move to North Brother Island, home of a quarantine hospital run by her new stepfather, Essie finds even more things to be frightened of. Surrounded by pain and grief, Essie must learn to face her fears and discover that some things are worth being brave for.

3 Reasons to Read THE LIST OF UNSPEAKABLE FEARS

1.) The anxiety representation- Since this is a historical novel, the understanding of anxiety disorders may not be what we have now, but that doesn't mean people didn't still have anxiety disorders. Essie's anxiety stems from a traumatic event, and she's not quite sure how to manage her fear. The author does an amazing job putting the reader in Essie's shoes and showing how scary living with anxiety can be.

2.) Essie and her family- Essie and her mother lost Essie's father a few years ago. Her new stepfather lost his wife and daughter a few years ago as well. Both groups are carrying grief and not always sure how to move on. Essie is understandably very apprehensive about her new stepfather, especially after all the rumors of missing nurses. Likewise, her stepfather isn't confident his parenting skills anymore, and this causes him to be distant. I love how this new family learns to listen to each other, to give each other the benefit of the doubt, and to let love back into their lives.

3.) The creepy setting- One aspect of this story that I really love is that the hospital isn't the main creepy setting; rather, the house is. While Essie is frightened of diseases in the hospital, the patients are never objectified or even shown that much. The real fear is in Essie's new house with it's scary red door, the bell that keeps disappearing, and the loneliness and isolation.

THE LIST OF UNSPEAKABLE FEARS is a historical mystery perfect for readers of Lindsey Duga and Lucy Strange.
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