“They say every child has an imaginary friend. Mine never left.”
And so goes the inspiration for the novella The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson. Fern Johnson has an imaginary friend who has been with her since she was eight years old, when a trauma that even Fern can’t remember or face left her terrified and alone. Now nineteen and taking care of her young niece, Fern doesn’t have time for Tristan and his fantasy worlds and messages of doom.
Or does she? After all, skyscrapers don’t just sink into the ground by themselves, as FBI agent Barstow reminds her. But that’s just what’s happening in Los Angeles.
And Tristan warned Fern about it.
Could Tristan—and all his stories—possibly be more than imaginary? Could Fern really see into a world that no one else can? And just what would the wrong person give to be able to see the way she does?
This is one of a few books I’ve read that I can say is truly whimsical. There’s something beautiful about the imagination presented in the story. The book is eerily vivid, full of strong characters and beautiful prose—the first time Fern had a “hallucination” and saw the beam slicing through the floor, I actually looked around my living room just to check and felt my heart jump a little. I saw just what Fern saw.
I could not put this book down and my heart pounded through it all. The ending was so very sad . . . leading to a soaring resolution that I would love to detail more, but SPOILERS.
I also loved how the author portrayed different aspects of mental health—anxiety, depression, trauma, etc., things that everyone struggles with to different degrees—without making the characters seem broken, in need of fixing. It was a very encouraging perspective on the topic.
I cannot think of anything negative about this story. Seriously.
This is truly one of the best reads I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying this year. This little book is certainly worth your while—truth be told, we all need an encouragement to jump into the impossible and see what the world has forgotten to see.
Thieves are prepared for everything. Willa Forsythe most of all. She's been looking out for herself for years. So when the mysterious Mr. V sends her on a mission to steal a cypher machine from renown violinist Lukas De Wilde--with no instructions than that the cypher machine could be anything with letters on it--Willa began making plans. She has knowledge of violin. She has knowledge of thievery. And she was knowledge of lying.
Of course, none of those plans included violin lessons with her hero. Or German agents after the same cypher machine as her. Or that nuisance of a neighbor from back in London who seems to be following her.
But she can deal with all those.
She can't deal with falling in love with Lukas.
First of all, I love the wit in this book. As an introvert, I understood why Willa wanted to give short answers. But when Lukas was determined to draw answers out of her in the most unusual and ridiculous ways, I couldn't help but laugh--and then laugh again at her sarcastic answers.
The perspective of Lukas's younger sister Margot was a welcome addition as well. (Hint: she gets her own book: https://racheljleitch.weebly.com/rachels-reads/the-number-of-love-by-roseanna-m-white) She has a unique and vibrant personality and I love reading events from her perspective. She is a breath of fresh air amid a lot of female characters in other books who seem exactly alike.
I feel like A Song Unheard goes beyond a lot of other romance novels. It goes beyond the feelings and the floofy stuff--the things Lukas admittedly had fallen for before--and goes straight for the heart. How much would they sacrifice for each other? And yet, it makes it clear that love is not earned. It's an interesting balance portrayed beautifully in this novel.
Don't let this song go unheard. Listen. Then listen again.
Hi there! Rachel again. Check out this section for book reviews and cover reveals of some of my favorites!