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 le...more
Without Tess is a whirlwind of a novel - running the gamut from emotional to sweet to disturbing, all easily within a few pages. It's a forthright and honest look at youth, childhood, grief and mental illness without shying away from darker moments or themes. Told in the very real voice of Elizabeth "Lizzie" Cohen, the first-person perspective makes the events of the novel with Tess much more personal, much more visceral for the reader than a more r...more
I absolutely loved sisters Tess and Lizzie (by the way, this year seems to be the year of sisters-Imaginary Girls, Then I Met My Sister, The Sky is Everywhere, Want to Go Private?). Tess is one of those enigmatic, charismatic characters, the kind that no one seems to quite understand, but you fall in love with them-want to be near, with them- all...more
I'm a sucker for lovely mellow books. One such example is Lovely, Dark and Deep. This one's mellow enough but I can't get through the head of the character. I personally feel that the...more
You must realize before starting this book how difficult it will be to read. I had no idea how sad and monstrous reading this would be. Mental illness is no joke. Just prepare yourself: Pixley is real. There’s a no-holds-barred approach to telling Lizzie’s story. You’ve been warned.
I felt sorry for Lizzie. Both as the com...more
So yes, as a lover of fantasy and folklore, the subject of the book filled me with a lot of trepidation. Sisters Tess and Lizzie were each other's best friends. Imaginative twe...more
Eleven-year-old Tess lives in a fantasy world. In the beginning I was able to connect with Tess. Like her, I had a very active imagination when I was young. As the story moves forward, the reader realizes there is something mental...more
My thanks to NetGalley for the e-ARC.
I had conflicted feelings about Without Tess.
Author Marcella Pixley skillfully reveals how Tess and Liz's innocent childhood games and play-acting can turn sinister very quickly, and the horror is very real. Tess's cruelty is almost guileless at times, making it even more terrifying. The girls' invented game of Crab Carcass Bingo is gross and macabre, but not unrealistic. While Tess's darkly vivid imaginati...more
I feel like there's a lot of inferences required of the reader, and things that I can pick up on as an...more
"Without Tess" illustrates the heartbreaking tale of coping with her older sister, Tess', mental illness from Lizzie's point of view at the young age of ten, as well as her struggles with coming to terms with Tess' death after 5 years.
This story was so beautiful -- the writing, the poetry, the settings...they were amazing.
Mental illness is such a scary thing. Especially when the patient is one of your loved ones. It is no dou...more
Tess talked a lot about magic, and it seemed to fit her personality. She was a magical person. At first, she seemed like a child with a powerful, creative imagination. This can be refreshing, especially consid...more
Without Tess by Marcella Pixley (YA)
This is a hard book to read. Lizzie is the younger sister of a mentally ill girl named Tess. Tess things she is magical, can shift into animals and is starving herself on purpose. Lizzie tries to take care of Tess, even at her own expense. Tess is eventually forced to begin therapy and medication but she would rather die than continue to live this way. Her decision fills Lizzie with guilt and confusion about how to live without Tess.
Tess was by far the most interesting character of them all. The reader can see her mental decline throughout the entire book, losing her sense of reality, and how nobody seems to really notice. I feel like Tess wanted to be a child f...more
Someone said that WITHOUT TESS touches a little on what the sisters of Imaginary Girls were like. I would agree only Tess and Liz’s is less magical and a little mor...more
This was an amazing little book. It was a little dark and the subject matter is rather serious, but I am glad I read it. A lot of the book covers the experiences of young Lizzie as she plays with her older sister, Tess. Tess is not a well child and dies at the age of 11. Lizzie always wanted to be like Tess, but she never seemed to fit into Tess's magical world. Tess could see things and make things up that Lizzie desperately wished she could...more
10 year old Lizzie adores her 11 year old sister Tess; the bond between the two is palpable, swinging wildly between idolisation, love, protectiveness and resentment as Tess' disturbing behaviour and cruelty impacts Lizzie emotionally and physically. Tess'...more