Page Number: 224 Pages
Overall Rating: 4.5 Stars
Tess and Lizzie are sisters, sisters as close as can be, who share a secret world filled with selkies, flying horses, and a girl who can transform into a wolf in the middle of the night. But when Lizzie is ready to grow up, Tess clings to their fantasies. As Tess sinks deeper and deeper into her delusions, she decides that she can’t live in the real world any longer and leaves Lizzie and her family forever. Now, years later, Lizzie is in high school and struggling to understand what happened to her sister. With the help of a school psychologist and Tess’s battered journal, Lizzie searches for a way to finally let Tess go.
I wanted to read this book for two reasons:
One, being that I wanted to read a book that was focused on an emotional situation. Every book has emotions, obviously, but I haven't read one that was based on something like this.
And two, being that I'm not the biggest fan of fantasy mixed into reality. This is obviously different, but the way it's described is very visual. I figured that if I couldn't like it in something like this, it probably just wasn't for me.
But I did really enjoy this book. It's an interesting idea and I'm fairly sure that there's not anything else out there even remotely like it. The mythical elements of this book are pretend, which, in the end, is probably why it didn't feel confusing to me. I knew that, for the most part, it was a game.
I absolutely devoured the strangeness of all of it. How serious Tess took her delusions. How far Lizzie was willing to go to please her sister. How their parents never seemed to notice it before it was too late. It was all so odd and so different.
I do really enjoy the writing style of this. It's honest with its descriptions. It knows when to be simple and when to use prose to its advantage. There are points when the descriptiveness of it nearly makes me wonder if Tess really does have some sort of magic powers.
The potency of the last few chapters had my eyes misty and a lump rising in my throat. They were beautifully heartbreaking. It felt like Tess's spell had broken and her magic was seeping away, never to be seen again. And, even though Tess was very intense and a little frightening, I missed her. She added a lot to the book.
Something that I both loved and hated was the extreme honesty of the situation. It was a little refreshing, but, at the same time, certain parts felt overly dramatic and a little crazy. Some of the roughness didn't feel natural and it distracted me.
But there is one thing that I did love, that others might not: Tess is certainly crazy. There was no sugarcoating it. She's completely delusional. There was no forced ending where the mother holds Tess above her head and screams, "She's cured! She's sane!" It's a sad story, with a sad ending and a light at the end of the tunnel. It went where the story was bound to go, and I respect that.
This book has shown me that it's not impossible for me to enjoy some fantasy mixed into reality, even if it's only a child's imagination. I'm glad for that. I don't want to have to cross off a group of books that seem to be gaining in numbers if I don't really, really feel I can't enjoy them.
I hope you'll give this book a chance. It's weird. It's quirky. But I love it. And, chances are, if you like this blog and it's writer, you might not be so afraid of something strange. ;)
Songs I listened to while reading: