ARC Review: The Thing with Feathers by McCall Hoyle

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I received an e-ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Title: The Thing with Feathers
Author: McCall Hoyle
Publisher: Blink
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Stars: 3/5

Summary (from 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.”

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I haven’t seen too many books out there about epilepsy, so I was so glad to discover The Thing with Feathers, a novel that depicts this condition in a realistic way. I loved the complexity of the story and the main character’s personality. However the book would have been much better without the insta-love and clichés. This is still an enjoyable story, though, and I would recommend it to those interested in learning about what it’s like to live with epilepsy.

This book is such realistic depiction of life with epilepsy! It tells the story of a girl who attends public school for the first time after years of homeschooling. She is afraid to attend in case she has a seizure at school and is afraid to tell anyone about her condition in case they judge her. The Thing with Feathers does an excellent job depicting what living with epilepsy is like and tackles some other serious topics along the way. This is such an inspiring read that is sure to stick with the reader.

I loved the main character, Emilie. She is an English nerd, and she is just so relatable. I loved her sassy and sarcastic attitude and her ability to stay strong. Emilie has some very real fears about opening up to new people, making her a complex character. I loved watching her slowly make friends with classmates and adjust to public school. Emilie is definitely a character who is easy to root for.

My only issue with this book is the plot. The “homeschooled girl forced to go to public school” is a concept that I see so often, and with a story like this one, I would have preferred something less tired. There are also quite a few clichés in the book, not only with the plot, but with the characters as well. For example, the first student Emilie meets is your typical blond heartthrob. This results in insta-love, which takes away from such an inspiring story. I really would have enjoyed this book a lot more if it was less clichéd.

The Thing with Feathers is an inspiring read about a girl living with epilepsy. I loved the main character and her reliability. While this is an enjoyable story, the numerous clichés take away from the overall effect, and the book would have been better without an overused concept.

9 thoughts on “ARC Review: The Thing with Feathers by McCall Hoyle

  1. Kelly says:

    I hate the whole insta-love thing, and to see that this book has it going on is kind of disappointing. I was about to pick up my ARC of this next but now I’m kind of on the fence because it seems kind of overdone in terms of the plot. I haven’t really had the chance to read any books that actually deal with epilepsy, so that part of it could really be interesting. I loved reading your review!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Amanda says:

    As someone who was homeschooled until college, I would be super interested to read this just for that element! What other books have you read with that sort of trope? I haven’t heard of many, but would like to read some!

    Great review — I love seeing different life difficulties represented, but it sucks to have them dragged down a bit by the cliches. By Your Side by Kasie West was sort of like that, except the “issue” was anxiety instead of epilepsy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Candid Cover says:

      You might find this book relatable, for sure. The book that sticks out in my memory with a similar theme is Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. There are some definite merits to this story and I do hope that you enjoy it if you do give it a try. 🙂

      Like

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