November 3, 2017

The Thing With Feathers. McCall Hoyle

book cover
Published: Blink
Date: 5th September 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 288
Genre: YA
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
4.5 stars                Add to Goodreads
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.”

My thoughts banner
As soon as I started reading The Thing With Feathers by McCall Hoyle I was captivated and it held me all the way through. 

Written in the first person, Emilie's story, her struggles, her challenges, her gifts really appealed to me. She is a bright, intelligent girl, up until the story opens she has been home-schooled, but now she faces into the jungle of high school and her counsellor's and mother's bidding. Up until now she has been safe at home, now she must face the scary new faces and situations.

Emilie has epileptic seizures and is terrified that she will have one while at school. She endeavours to keep herself distanced from people there, but soon finds herself drawn into a couple of really important relationships. But hanging over her head is the fact that she has not shared that she suffers from epilepsy.

It seems that some of the girls envy her new budding relationship with Chatham, a golden haired sports hero who benefits from a little tutoring from Emilie, who has a real feel for books and poetry. I loved the references to Emily Dickinson, even though I am not familiar with her poetry - although now I feel myself drawn to read some of her poems and that of Walt Whitman as well. Anyone I suspect who knows the poetry of Dickinson will recognise the title of this book.

I liked watching the relationship unfold between Emilie and her mother, and their struggle with the loss of Emilie's Dad three years before and the way that things are beginning to change. 

Emilie has a service dog called Hitch - so loveable, his awareness of Emilie was just adorable. 

The book moved along at a great pace, it was one of those books that was so easy to read and left me a little bereft when I had to leave all the characters behind.  A refreshing read.
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  1. Another book I read recently (When We Were Worthy) also referred to Dickinson! This sounds like a wonderful novel.

  2. I do think I would like this one too, how could I not

  3. I love that title...and the story sounds uplifting. Thanks for sharing.

  4. My teen would like this book as she loves reading realistic fiction. She's left the middle grade genre and moved up to high school characters.

  5. I don't normally read books set in high school but this sounds really good and unusual. I like that her service dog has his own part in this. I'll have to add this to my TBR.


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