Hello, friends! I hope that you all are having a lovely Sunday. I’m sitting here, enjoying beautiful sunshine and listening to The Two Towers soundtrack (at the moment, it’s “Where Is the Horse and the Rider?”, which is fantastic).
I finished The Girl Who Could See way back in December, and I loved it! Kara Swanson is a very talented and imaginative writer, weaving a tale of suspense, healing, and unconditional love. I’ve been wanting to get a review out for a while now, and here it is at last! 🙂
Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, everyone’s been trying to convince her of that fact since her childhood. After all, she’s the only one to see a blond warrior who’s not fully in her world. The warrior, Tristan, has always been Fern’s best friend, her hero, helping her to cope with the consequences of a childhood trauma. But Fern is now nineteen and desperate to appear normal in order to provide for her niece, so she struggles to repress the young man. However, when her city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern must face the truth – that Tristan may not be a hallucination and that the monster that destroyed his world may be coming for hers.
What I Liked:
- The characters. All of the characters are fantastically well-rounded for a novella. Fern is a brave young heroine. Tristan is a loyal, courageous protector. Elinore is the sweetest little girl. And these are people who hurt in raw, real ways, so be prepared to feel with them.
- The plot. I’ve never read anything like this before. An imaginary friend that never went away? A shape-shifting destroyer? It’s such a fresh and original story, and Kara handled it so well in the novella-length that she had.
- Fern and Tristan’s relationship. It’s obvious that this is a romance. Fern and Tristan are drawn to each other. But first, they’re friends, and they care so much about each other. I loved the theme of sacrificial love and loyalty woven throughout the book, mainly on the part of Tristan.
- The themes. This is kind of going off the last point, but the themes are beautiful. Loyalty. Sacrifice. Unconditional love. Friendship. It’s themes like this that makes me think about a story for months after I read it.
What I Didn’t Like:
There’s so much to love about this book, it’s hard to think of things I didn’t like. 🙂
- A few plot holes. I can’t go into detail without spoilers, but there were just a few things that didn’t fit quite right into the plot. Nothing super noticeable, but I wish that there had been a little more explanation in a couple places.
- I wish there had been more description of Tristan’s world. This is just a tiny little quibble. Tristan’s world seemed so fascinating, like a sci-fi world blended with fantasy elements, and I would have loved to read a little more about it.
There’s one kiss. Tristan tells Fern that he’s her friend, not a pervert. There’s some violence (not worse than the typical fantasy book) and description of Tristan’s wounds. An FBI agent tells Fern he thinks she was trafficked (it’s only a passing comment). Fern takes a few prescription drugs at one point early in the book.
One big part of the book is that Fern was taken from the hospital and experimented on by scientists in a lab, and she remembers flashes of that horrible experience throughout the book. It’s nothing graphic, but it could be disturbing to some. I personally don’t think that it would bother anyone above 13 years old (in keeping with the novella’s YA status).
Would I Recommend It?
100% yes! This is a lovely, worthwhile read with lovable themes and characters, and the plot will have you desperate to read the whole thing in one sitting.
I give The Girl Who Could See four out of five (4/5) stars and recommend it for ages 13 and up.
Have you read this novella? If so, what did you think? If not, are you interested? What did you think of this review? And isn’t the cover gorgeous?! Let me know in the comments!