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'. 'The Thing with Feathers' is a compelling story of overcoming fears, forging new friendships, and finding a first love. Very highly recommended for personal reading lists, 'The Thing with Feathers' will prove to be an ideal and enduringly popular addition to school and community library YA Fiction collections. * MidWest Book Review * "[Readers] will swoon over the dreamy Chatham and root for Emilie to come out of her shell." * Kirkus * A refreshing, quality debut--meaningfully woven and beautifully engaging, from the first page to the last.
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.
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. * YA Books Central * It's become very hit and miss when it comes to my liking of contemporary novels. I have to say "The Thing with Feathers" was a successful hit out of the park! It started off so funny and held that until the very last chapters. This book will rip your heart out just to put it back in and caress it with love. I am so over joyed I had the opportunity to read this wonderful story!
"The Thing with Feathers" features Emilie. She's hidden away from the world ever since her dad died of cancer. She has also been diagnosed with epilepsy and she doesn't leave her room. She is homeschooled and pretty much has drawn away from the world. I felt very sad for her because she felt like she couldn't do anything because of her illness. An illness that she has no control over.
Emilie grew so much in this book. I was surprised to love the one part where she attempts suicided and then decides she wants to live. As a survivor of suicide, that really touched my heart. This story is so empowering. It teaches that you shouldn't give up. You shouldn't let illnesses or anything take over your life and stop you from doing what you want to do. There is always hope!
Book in a Pinch: Girl with epilepsy learns that she doesn't have to hide away from the world.
Go Into This One Knowing: It involves themes of cancer, epilepsy, suicide (slight), domestic abuse (slight) and romance * Night Owl Reviews *show more