May 23, 2019

The Things She's Seen Blog Tour: Review

The Things She's Seen
Author: Ambelin and Ezekiel Kwaymullina
Genre: YA Paranormal/Fantasy/Mystery
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers


Nothing's been the same for Beth Teller since the day she died.

Her dad is drowning in grief. He's also the only one who has been able to see and hear her since the accident. But now she's got a mystery to solve, a mystery that will hopefully remind her detective father that he is still alive, that there is a life after Beth that is still worth living.

Who is Isobel Catching, and why is she able to see Beth, too? What is her connection to the crime Beth's father has been sent to investigate--a gruesome fire at a home for troubled youth that left an unidentifiable body behind? What happened to the people who haven't been seen since the fire?

As Beth and her father unravel the mystery, they find a shocking and heartbreaking story lurking beneath the surface of a small town, and a friendship that lasts beyond one life and into another...
I literally just finished this book and my mind is still reeling. There are so many layers to this story and important topics that are discussed - it felt a lot longer than it was. Not in a bad way either! I'll try to review it the best I can without going in circles or rambling. First, the setting was fantastic. It's set in Australia and part of the story deals with the discrimination against Aboriginals. I honestly never knew about this issue and I'm glad the author brought it to light. It talks about it just enough to make it important to the characters and the story without going overboard. 

The characters, mainly Beth and Catching, were both interesting and realistic. Even though Beth is a ghost, she's still very involved with her Dad's life and feels like she has to take care of him after her death. She's very loving and devoted to her whole family. Catching is a bit harder to describe. She's closed off, has major trust issues, and tells it like it is. She's also incredibly strong and brave, and we learn just how much by the end of the book. One big plus for me was the author's choice of writing style. The book is separated into alternating chapters between Beth and Catching. Beth's part is written in the first person narrative, while Catching's part is done in prose. It was a nice surprise and I felt it worked great with the story. It helped the reader see how different the characters were and we get the entire story Catching has to tell done in prose. 

I can't really put into words how much I thoroughly enjoyed the allegorical story that Catching tells throughout the book. It was confusing at first, but as the rest of the story plays out, it starts making a lot of sense. It's deeply disturbing in both ways - the way Catching tells it about monsters and other-places, as well as what really happened. It was incredibly unique and I adored it.

The plot was intense in several ways. It touches on many topics - inner strength, grief, bravery, determination, letting go, death, family, and alludes to other darker topics (the majority of which come from Catching's story). I love mysteries and it takes a lot to catch me off guard anymore, but there was one or two twists that left me spinning. I was able to figure things out way before the characters did, but it was interesting and fun to watch them puzzle it out themselves. This was a really original book and I highly recommend it for readers of YA, paranormal, fantasy, mystery, thriller, and contemporary fiction.

Ambelin Kwaymullina loves reading sci-fi/fantasy books, and has wanted to write a novel since she was six years old. She comes from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. When not writing or reading she teaches law, illustrates picture books, and hangs out with her dogs. 

Son of the acclaimed Australian author Sally Morgan

Ezekiel Kwaymullina was born in 1983 in Perth. He was diagnosed with dyslexia as a child and dropped out of high school in year eight to which he would never return. At thirteen he was mostly illiterate, teaching himself how to read from comic books and a dictionary.

Eventually he began a writing career specialising in children's books.


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