I said I’d be doing a lot of reading. It was only a matter of time until a book review popped up. Actually, you might see a lot of book reviews because I’ve been reading like crazy. (I read three books yesterday. Finished one, and read two more from cover to cover. Crazy. They were the Blades of Acktar series by Trisha Mingerink, if you’re curious.)
But this was the first book I read during my summer break. I was super excited for the book when I first heard of it, because I thought it sounded amazing and the cover art is gorgeous!
The premise was super cool, and I went into this book with high expectations. That’s dangerous for me because I rarely have high expectations for books. If I have high expectations, they’re more likely than not to get dashed. If I don’t have high expectations and the book is good, I’ll be pleasantly surprised, but if it’s not, I don’t suffer any loss.
But The Girl Who Could See, by Kara Swanson, met all those expectations.
“All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but what if she is the only one who can truly see?
Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear “normal,” she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.
Tristan was Fern’s childhood imaginary hero, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man isn’t a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.” -from back cover
I was really interested because the book revolved around schizophrenia and imaginary friends, both of which I thought would be good in a book. Really, it’s a novella, but it was the perfect length for me. Any longer and it would have felt way too long.
Fern (aka Plant Girl): Fern is a strong heroine who just wants to take care of her niece. Doing so means that she needs to keep her job. It’s easier said than done. She’s lost two jobs in the past two months because of accidents related to her schizophrenia. In fact, her illness is so bad that she had to drop out of high school. Even before that, her parents were a part of a drug dealership, and often had the children pedal the drugs for them. Despite it all, she’s a determined girl.
Tristan: Tristan is imaginary friend of Fern. He saved her when she was little, and always keeps an eye on her. Plus he has so much snarky, sarcastic, happy. (Ignore the grammar.)
What I liked:
The concept was well executed. There were a few time jumps, but I was able to keep track of them with no trouble. The book is written in first person present, which normally drives me nuts, but I didn’t even notice until I was a few chapters into it. There was some romance, but it wasn’t a lot. It’s not a Christian book, but it is really clean. (The author is a daughter of missionaries.)
What I didn’t like:
There was some slightly unbelievable things that I noticed going back through a second time. (I like it so much that I read the book twice in one day. That’s saying something.) However, they weren’t glaring, and given the genre, it didn’t matter too much. There was one kiss that went a little too long. (While this is something I’m neutral on, I’ll advise: There is quite a bit of violence, but never too gory, and there is some thematic stuff.)
WRITING: 5/5 STARS
CHARACTERS: 4.5/5 STARS
THEMATIC STUFF (1 NONE, 5 HIGH): 2
(Drugs, kidnapping, monsters,)
LEVEL OF VIOLENCE (1 BEING NONE, 5 BEING HIGH): 3
(A few people are killed. Tristan fights with two flails, which he uses.)
LANGUAGE: (1 BEING NONE, 5 BEING HIGH): 1
Total: Four and a half stars. (I rounded up to five.)