Book Review: The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson

I read this a few weeks ago and enjoyed it as a fast, exciting read with something new to offer.

It’s a novella, which means it clocks in a little under page/word count for what you might expect in a novel. And while that means Kara kept the story elements tight (you’re not going to get secondary characters with their own side stories here), it does make this a great beach or poolside read this summer. Especially if you’re looking for something fast that isn’t all frills and froth.

Because there’s definitely suspense and adventure in The Girl Who Could See. The premise sets up like this: Fern is a young adult woman who still has an imaginary friend. She’s obviously in need of some meds and counseling, right? Or is she really crazy at all? When Tristan, the young warrior/imaginary friend starts to warn Fern of disasters that end up happening, she begins to question the truth behind her “insanity” and what it all means for her, for Tristan and for the entire world.

The book sets up nicely within the first few chapters; the hook is immediate and the writing is super solid. It’s also well-edited and formatted, which I appreciate immensely in an indie.

A few jumps in the storytelling toward the beginning did confuse me slightly but solidified nicely as I read, and there was only one real trouble point for me as a reader. I felt the transition from all the set up into the rising action was a bit abrupt. A few things that happened with side characters were certainly plot furthers, and at the time of reading it, I felt like there wasn’t a solid reason for the people in question to do the things they did.

That being said, some of what happens a little later might explain the actions (or not, depending on how much you read into it). And it’s much less an issue of writing than it is of length. I think this story was just so big, it was pushing out of the novella box and something had to be sacrificed for that.

Once I got passed that slight bump, I devoured the rest of the book in a single sitting because the climactic scenes include a nice twist and some stellar fantasy action. And there’s a lovely bit of sweet romance intertwined throughout for those who like to ship something while they read.

I’d recommend The Girl Who Could See for anyone who enjoys YA/NA urban or contemporary fantasy and needs a quick read for the evening or for enjoying in the sun or shade this season.

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