When your only friend is your own endless imagination, how do you escape your mind and connect to the world around you?
With parents too busy to pay her attention, an older brother and sister who would rather spend their time with friends, and peers who oscillate between picking on her and simply ignoring her, it's no wonder that Fain spends most of her time in a world of her own making. During the day, Fain takes solace in crafting her own fantastical adventures in writing, but in the darkness of night, these adventures come to life as Fain lives and breathes alongside a legion of imaginary creatures. Whether floating through space or under the sea, climbing mountains or traipsing through forests, Fain becomes queen beyond - and in spite of - the walls of her bedroom.
In time, Fain begins to see possibilities and friendships emerge in her day-to-day reality. . . yet when she is let down by the one relationship she thought she could trust, Fain must decide: remain queen of the imaginary creatures, or risk the pain that comes with opening herself up to the fragile connections that exist only in the real world?
Told in breathless and visual verse, THE LONELY ONES takes readers through the intricate inner workings of a girl who struggles to navigate isolation and finds friendship where she least expects it.
Kelsey Sutton is a young adult and middle grade author. She lives in Minnesota, where she received a dual bachelor's degree in English and Creative Writing from Bemidji State University. She recently earned a master's degree from Hamline University. Her work has received an Independent Publisher Book Award, an IndieFab Award, and was selected as a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013. When not writing, Kelsey can be found watching too much Netflix or napping with her rescue dogs. You can visit her online at www.kelseysuttonbooks.com, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter or Instagram. Kelsey also writes adult books under the pen name K.J. Sutton.
"We run through the woods, more magical than fireflies or fairies. "We love you, Fain," they croon. "You are beautiful. You are a queen." Their eyes so adoring. I can't help but believe them."
This novel is bittersweet. It is sad, yet it has an undertone of hope throughout the story. You know the light at the end of the tunnel is somewhere.
Novels written in verse are not my favorite type of books to read. They are often difficult to really get into and to know the characters. With little words the authors try to express a lot of emotions. With a poetry book you know what to expect. You read it for the words, but with an actual story, you want the story to be intriguing, too.
The Lonely Ones was a compelling read, though. The story follows a very lonely girl,Fain, who sees ghosts at night. She is not afraid of them. They are her friends. The only creatures who take time for her. At night, when the world sleeps, she goes on adventures with her monsters.
"Then, as if no time at all has passed, we go outside, have grand adventures, Their laughter is loud, wind and magic endless, The moon beautifully bright."
The inner thoughts and emotions of the teenage girl are very recognizable. Who hasn't felt alone at some time in their life? Invincible? Sad? The feeling of not belonging and seeking a connection? The verse prose bites the words out. It throws words where it hurts and forces you to feel. I do not feel disconnected from this book. It is well-thought and provoking enough to make you perceive the world like Fain does.
"The Earth seems so far away, so gently blue, that I struggle to remember, why living there is so hard.
Then, for hours or days, we float through the weightless air.
I only remember, who I am and where we are, when my favorite monster, tugs at my nightgown."
I received this E-ARC via Penguin Young Reader’s Group and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I am also participating in the Blog Tour for this book.
I heard about this book from an email from Nichole at YAReads BlogTours. Nichole emailed asking whether or not I would be interested in participating in a blog tour for The Lonely Ones. At first I was skeptical as I have been hearing about all these blogger scandals. I checked out the website and I realized that I had heard about this blog before. I read the synopsis and I agreed. I thought that I wouldn’t enjoy the book once I started reading it. I am happy to report that I loved this book!
When Fain was younger her family used to be happy and close. Then one day her father lost his job as a car seller. Her mother was in law school at the time and she dropped out because of the bills. Then the fighting started. Her older siblings Dana and Tyler moved on. Tyler started dating and going to parties. While Dana became externally glued to her phone. Only her younger brother Peter interacted with her.
Upon moving the situation only worsened. The fights continued. Her father still had difficulty finding a job. Meanwhile her mother worked in a fast food restaurant. Dana and Tyler continue on as they were earlier and Peter continues to play with Fain. Fain despite having Peter feels alone. Her voice isn’t heard over the fighting and no one notices her. Then one day while she was sleeping some monsters come at her window and invite her to play. These monsters later become the only friends she has.
One day a new boy comes to their school. Much to Fain’s surprise the new boy Matthew actually talks to her. Fain’s not used to people interacting with so she has a hard time answering simple questions because she is in awe that someone actually saw her and is now speaking to her. Matthew continues to hang out with Fain. The two form a friendship. Fain’s neighbour Anna is another person who sees her and they occasionally talk. Eventually becoming friends. For awhile Fain stops talking to the monsters. And circumstances have it that Fain and her siblings become close again.
Then Matthew and Anna hurt her and she goes right back to the monsters. But this time she has her siblings by her side. And she’s okay with that. Eventually Anna and Fain make up and then she has Anna by her side as well. By the end of the book Fain has stopped talking to her monsters. Her family is happy and she has a real friend in Anna.
The most interesting thing about this book is the writing style. Each chapter is short and formatted the way a poem is written. There are chapters titles that go along with the poem format. This was quite unique and enjoyable! The book is short and I had it finished in two hours.
The author did an excellent job with the characters! They are completely realistic and so are there interactions with one-another. While Fain’s family wasn’t happy all the time they were there for each other. Her friendship with Anna was sweet to read about! I connected with Fain. I understood where she was coming from. It was interesting to read about the monsters and the stories Fain wrote. I was happy when Fain stopped seeing the monsters and became friends with Anna and her family. It was also nice that there wasn’t a romance!
This book is about finding our own voice. And understanding that while you may feel like you don’t matter there is always someone who cares about you. It’s about family. No matter how tough your current situation is there is always someone by your side.
Overall this was a wonderful and touching book! I recommend it to everyone because this is an important read and everyone will be able to connect to Fain. Also keep a tissue box with you while reading.
Another book written by you that I absolutely love! <3 Yes it was a quick read but it reached into my heart and latched on. I can relate to some parts in this book. I loved watching the family heal. It's amazing and beautiful.
"For so long it was just the three of us. Fain, Dana, Tyler. Skinned knees, missing teeth, open roads. Passing through the sunlit days in blissful unawareness. When my legs couldn't keep up, they waited with expectant smiles. When night fell and I cowered from the darkness, they were there to guide the way. It happened so gradually, I didn't see the changes until it was too late. My sister discovered mirrors, phones, boys. My brother found sports, parties, girls. I tried to follow them to these new places, and it shocked me when I stumbled. Before long my siblings had run so far ahead, they disappeared from sight."
I'm also excited for the upcoming releases for other books you've written. Great job, and this will be a possible re read for next year. ;)
I mentioned in my review of Where Silence Gathers that Sutton has a beautiful writing style that adds to the atmosphere of her stories. In this book she uses verse to tell the story, making this book one long and beautiful poem.
I myself have loved poetry since discovering the poetry section of my local library back when I was about ten or eleven, so once I had the time to sit down with this book I got lost in the beauty of the writing and the heartache of this story until I finished it.
Fain is a lot like I used to be at that age, and this made the story recognizable and emotional. It made me smile, cry and hope for Fain and all those other overlooked lonely ones that are out there.
The story and its mood stayed with me long after I finished the book, and you bet I'll keep an eye out for Sutton's other works.
I can recommend this book to anyone who is, or was, an introvert with lots of imagination, and to everyone who loves beautifully written verse.
Probably one of the loveliest and most beautifully written books I've ever read! It's written in verse and it reads like a poem. This composition really enables you to feel the story more deeply. It's about figuring your way in this crowded, sometimes cruel world we live in. It's about finding your true self and what's dearest to you. It's about loneliness mainly and the ever changing nature of life! Quick beautiful read. :)
The Lonely Ones follows Fain, a girl who knows what it means to be lonely, invisible, left behind. That is, until a group of monsters befriends her. With them, she's a queen. At night she embarks on adventures through the desert, the jungle, the sea with her new friends. During the day, Fain attempts to keep up with the family that seems to be falling apart around her--the one she wants desperately to be a part of again.
I loved, loved, LOVED this book. Read it in one sitting. Great characters and a beautiful journey into one girl's self discovery. A must read!
A beautifully written short read about an extremely lonely girl named Fain. This is such a nostalgic tale as we bear witness to this girl's heartbreaking loneliness and her fantastic imagination. People of all ages will enjoy this free verse read.
5 stars. What’s the difference between being alone and being lonely?
There’s an assumption that novels written in free verse are cheap, simply because the words on the page don’t stretch from edge to edge, because there’s more white than black on each leaf of paper. There’s an assumption that a book with few words or small words or simple words, is not a book worth reading. All are proven wrong by The Lonely Ones.
Kelsey Sutton’s latest masterpiece is one of little words and many emotions. At 240 pages, it’s a succinct, evocative read that, regardless of its middle grade demographic, is suitable for all ages, woven with a tone of wist and bittersweet longing.
Fain is alone. With a family that no longer regards her as important and no friends to speak of or speak to, Fain retreats into the night, where monsters make her their queen and take her on adventures through the stars. But when Fain starts to see the promise of connection in her real life, will she risk the stability of her imaginary world for the frailty of human relationships?
The use of free verse is perfectly suited to Fain’s story. There’s a hollowness and isolation to Fain that the sparseness of free verse captures poignantly. It’s visceral and evocative to have the emptiness of Fain’s loneliness echoed by the blank spaces on the page.
Though the book is quick to read and simple, it is not sweet. It is melancholy contemplation balanced with chimerical imagination. It conveys its realism not through grit and ugliness, but through Fain’s humanity: her phantom-like observations, her bitterness, her hope and her learning experiences. It’s incredibly human, relatable and real, despite the book’s extended metaphors and fantasy qualities.
The imagery of The Lonely Ones is graphic and gorgeous. While reading, vivid images kept flashing through my mind: of Fain pushing back her curtains and climbing into the stars, of rain frosting the glass of her window, of a red scarf tangling in a young girl’s legs, of a quarry and Fain’s gold hair as the one spot of warmth and colour. It makes me wish I could draw or paint (because these scenes would look breathtaking in watercolour), or that I could study Media again and have an excuse to organise photoshoots to recreate book scenes. Similarly, the cover’s blue colours, separated font, and bokeh effect mimics the mood of The Lonely Ones brilliantly. A very well-thought out design.
This is a book I recommend reading in one sitting, preferably in Winter or Autumn to match the mood. (It’s Autumn here in Melbourne, but in typical Melbourne fashion, it’s 40 degrees.) As soon as I received the ARC in the mail (Thanks, Kelsey!), I was desperate to start reading it and fall into the world. And that’s exactly what it was like: falling into water, being immersed, slowly sinking, drowning, letting the pressure build in your chest and behind your eyes until you realise, “This is familiar.” One of the charms of poetry is that its simplicity allows the reader to insert themselves into the story, slide their identity into the spaces between the paragraphs. The Lonely Ones gives you a haunting sense of déjà vu. I’ve been in situations like Fain, maybe not in real life, but in metaphor.
Fain’s age is never mentioned in the book, but I headcanon her to be about thirteen or fourteen, because those were the years in which I experienced a conflict similar to Fain’s—caught between reality and fantasy, child and adolescent. I like the fact her age is never mentioned; it adds to her spectral personality. I related to Fain’s feeling of invisibility, and her simultaneous fear and longing to become visible. It’s possible to be alone in a room full of people and Fain captures this desolation flawlessly. Her use of writing to escape and explore the possibilities her real life lacked hit so close to home, because that was my main purpose for writing when I was that age, and even now, to an extent. I loved the message that though imagination is beautiful and healing, real life experiences are ultimately more rewarding.
And, despite their limited page time, I grew connected to all the minor characters. With a blink, they were shadows, echoes, of people I once knew in my own life, people who loved me or left me or misinterpreted me, cured my loneliness or made me feel alone. So many moments between these characters and Fain touched my heart. I particularly loved Carl, Matthew, Anna and Dana. The family dynamics throughout the book were raw and realistic. Sutton, with such few words, manages to express the apprehension, the warmth, and the tentativeness involved in forming relationships with other people. She touches on the fragility and unpredictability of human connections with realism and maturity. It made me compare life and people and their messiness, to writing—where you have total control over the characters and their dialogue, their dynamics and their conflict; and also to reading—where everything is planned out prior, and you can easily flip to the end to check that everyone makes it out with hearts and limbs intact.
The Lonely Ones reads like an echo, like a hollow response to a cry you made five years ago, screaming “I’m lonely.” It instills a sense of déjà vu, of autumnal wishes, and of hellos and goodbyes made of glass. Visceral, evocative and introspective, Fain’s story will appeal to anyone, of any age, who’s ever felt that ache of loneliness.
Fain is lonely. Her parents are too preoccupied with their own misery to pay her any attention, her siblings have their own lives and Fain doesn't have any good friends at school. At night she has a lot of friends though. When she's supposed to sleep she spends her time outside with monsters and other fairytale creatures. Fain finds solace in her writing. She has a vivid imagination which always pulls her through no matter what happens. When she's being betrayed by someone she likes very much she has to make a decision. Will she keep being lonely or will she make an effort to make people notice her again?
The Lonely Ones has been written in free verse. It's a beautiful story about a lonely girl who lives in a fantastic imaginary world. Fain's days are a lot less spectacular than her nights. Her story is heartbreaking and I shed several tears while reading this book. The writing is brilliant. Even though a story in verse has less words there are plenty of layers. Kelsey Sutton can say a lot in just a few sentences, which is a big strength.
The verses are all fantastic. I was impressed by their quality. They seem so effortless while it's clear Kelsey Sutton worked very hard to find the exact right words and rhythm at the same time. The Lonely Ones is a book to read again and again. It's very impressive and an absolute must-read.
I loved this book. I just love it. When I first opened it and I saw how it was written in rhyme I was just like, "Oh geez. Welp I have another hour here so i might as well read it." One hour later and I had already read through it. When I read through it for the second time everything just brought on a whole new meaning. Since I wasn't reading it to get through it it made me think about things a lot more.
The Lonely ones is a book of poetry, about a young girl named Fain. Fain has 2 older siblings, a brother and a sister, who pay her no atention. Fain finds herself consumed by her lonelyness, longer for someone to be with, a friend to value her like a queen is valued by the people she rules over. Which is exactly what Fain gets, each night, kindly 'monsters' bring her to a world of her design, make her their queen, praise her as though they are fish out of water and she is cool pond below them. Written in Free verse, Fain expresses her disdainful feelings towards her popular peers, until a boy from New Orleans moves to her school. Fain finally may have made a friend, someone she knows she can talk to. A boy who is bad at writting but good at math. A boy from New Orleans who sheds the light of friendship on Fains Dark and lonely world. That is, until Fain finds out just why the popular girls glare at her whenever she is with him. That mistake, that misplaced trust, may be exactly what is takes for Fain to get her family back.
Middle grade novels are special pieces of literature. If written correctly, these books can inspire a love of reading in older children and teenagers that will last a lifetime. These kinds of books are hard to come by, but every now and again you find a true gem that you feel the need to introduce others to and share your love for.
The Lonely Ones is one of those special types of books that will have an effect on anyone who reads it – even adults. It delivers a wonderful message of family and belonging, and it is a book that I believe everyone – both young and old – should definitely try to pick up and read at least once.
That being said, I’ve read the eARC for this book twice now, and I loved it even more the second time around. This is one of those books that I will definitely be getting a finished copy of and sharing with my daughters when they get a little older (and of course, so I can read it time and time again because it’s just that amazing).
Imagine feeling absolutely soul-crushing loneliness every day – your family is too busy to know you’re around, your friends are pretty much non-existent at this point, because everyone you thought you could rely on does nothing but hurt you or end up leaving you behind. That’s what our main character, Fain, feels every day – a sea of loneliness and emptiness, and like she doesn’t belong anywhere. She doesn’t bother talking to her family much these days, because she doesn’t see a point – no one ever pays attention to her, anyway.
“At first I thought the people in my life were too busy too distracted to respond to the sound of my voice.
Eventually I realized that they didn’t hear me at all.”
Fain goes to school, she comes home, spends time alone because everyone is too busy for her – her dad is too busy looking for a job, her mother works all kinds of hours as a waitress to make ends meet, her brother is too busy with his own life, and her sister is too focused on friends and parties to notice her.
However, at night, Fain has special creatures (that she calls monsters) who come to see her and take her on all sorts of adventures – to the ocean, the jungle, even the moon – you name it, and they’ve shared it with her. They claim to come to her because she is lonely, and they want to try and fill in for everyone else and make her life feel more complete. At first, Fain loves these nighttime adventures, but eventually she starts to long for real, human companionship – friends at school, a boy she likes, and most of all, her family.
With drama at school, loneliness at home, and depression starting to sink in, Fain’s only escape from the world lies with her nighttime visits from her monsters and the strange adventures they take her on.
When a crisis strikes Fain’s family, they must learn how to either pull together and start noticing one another more, or risk losing everything.
The Lonely Ones is a different type of book because it is written entirely in verse. I don’t read too many books like this, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it when I started it, but now I can’t imagine this book being written in any other way. It was simply perfect, and I loved everything about it.
It’s such a powerful story that will speak not only to middle graders and teenagers, but to everyone. It will remind you of how powerful family and friendship is, and the value of spending time together and making memories that will always be important.
I simply cannot recommend this one enough. Since it’s written in verse, it’s a fairly quick read – it only took me about an hour, and was simply one of the best books I have read in a while – definitely one that won’t be forgotten.
Note: I received an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
MAY03 Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway: The Lonely Ones by Kelsey Sutton
The Lonely OnesThe Lonely Ones Author: Kelsey Sutton Publication Date: April 26, 2016 Publisher: Philomel Books Pages: 240 Source: Gifted Format: Paperback ARC Age Group: Young Adult Genre: (Not sure LOL)
When your only friend is your own endless imagination, how do you escape your mind and connect to the world around you? With parents too busy to pay her attention, an older brother and sister who would rather spend their time with friends, and peers who oscillate between picking on her and simply ignoring her, it's no wonder that Fain spends most of her time in a world of her own making. During the day, Fain takes solace in crafting her own fantastical adventures in writing, but in the darkness of night, these adventures come to life as Fain lives and breathes alongside a legion of imaginary creatures. Whether floating through space or under the sea, climbing mountains or traipsing through forests, Fain becomes queen beyond--and in spite of--the walls of her bedroom. In time, Fain begins to see possibilities and friendships emerge in her day-to-day reality . . . yet when she is let down by the one relationship she thought she could trust, Fain must decide: remain queen of the imaginary creatures, or risk the pain that comes with opening herself up to the fragile connections that exist only in the real world? Told in breathless and visual verse, THE LONELY ONES takes readers through the intricate inner workings of a girl who struggles to navigate isolation and finds friendship where she least expects it.
I have never read a book quite like The Lonely Ones. It’s told in lyrical free verse and is absolutely brilliant! I literally read it in one sitting. I just couldn’t put it down. The story just flowed and instantly captured my heart.
The Lonely Ones is about a girl named Fain. Her family is going through a hard time, and pretty much ignore her. Her dad recently lost his job and is having a hard time finding work. Her mom is always working and is rarely home. It’s actually really sad. I don’t want to say much about the story because I feel like you just have to go in blind to be able to enjoy it better. What I will say is that it’s beautifully written and amazed on how much it touched me. Kelsey is a genius and so talented. It’s a story about life and growing up. I wish I could write more, but I really don't want to give anything away. I promise that you will thank me and fall in love too!
Have you ever felt soul-deep loneliness? Imagine growing up feeling lonely, different, not quite in step with the rest of the world, an unimportant extra in the cast of life. That is how Fain, a young girl, feels as she makes her own friends in her imagination that come to her window at night and take her to a special place where she is noticed. During her waking hours, she has her fantastical stories that she writes to fill her lonely hours, but how can she learn to connect to the rest of the world, to be noticed if she would rather live in the world of her mind?
The object of ridicule and bullying because she is different, reality is a painful place for Fain as she navigates the brutality of school and the youthful ignorance of others.
Follow Fain’s journey and feel her pain, the wonder of the world she must create to survive and her inner strength she possesses to endure reality. Discover the moment she realizes her worth and shed a few tears for her along the way. The Lonely Ones by Kelsey Sutton is written in a manner that flows from word to word with the cadence of poetic prose perfectly befitting the mood the author has created and the emotional turmoil as felt through a young girl’s heart. Painfully beautiful, emotionally magnetic, this is a must read for young adults, teens and anyone who has a heartbeat or an ounce of compassion for others.
I received an ARC edition from PENGUIN GROUP Penguin Young Readers Group in exchange for my honest review.
Quote "As we stand under the stars,/ the distant cry of a coyote/ reaches our ears./ We tilt our heads back/ and join in its call. / And I swear/ just for a moment,/ the moon answers." Review I haven't read verse in a long, long time. Hell, I haven't read a middle grade book in a long, long time, but when Kelsey Sutton asked me if I wanted to read her new MG, I kind of jumped at the chance. It seemed like an almost nostalgic read, and the idea was simply endearing.
This was a very short read, so this is going to be a very short review! Verse books tend to be a fast read, and at 240 pages, it was even faster than I expected. Despite the few words and short sentences, there's something about this story that packs a punch. Sutton's words are chosen carefully, each designed to push a certain emotion into your heart. There's such an abundance of feelings in such a few amount of words, it almost seems like magic.
The family dynamic between Fain and the rest of her loved ones was relatable, though painfully so. There were so many moments of ambivalence, of wanting to be noticed, of uncertainty and I felt it all. I'm not quite sure how Sutton manages to accomplish this in a mere three words at times, but she did. And I just have to mention Fain's siblings--who, as apathetic as they seemed at first, made my heart warm because no matter how ignorant they were of Fain before, they were there when it mattered, and I loved that.
I almost wish that we saw more of the monsters outside of Fain's window though, and I kind of wish we hadn't known some of the things we did going into the story. The synopsis provides almost an entire summary of the story and (this is just a minor thing, really) I feel like a shorter and vaguer synopsis would've improved on the adventure The Lonely Ones takes you on.
The first two word that I wrote about this book were "beautiful" and "captivating", and both of these words describe this book perfectly. I am cultivating a huge crush on books in verse and this one is helping me broaden my horizons in this category of literature. This is also the first middle grade book I have read that is written in verse and I hope it definitely isn't the last. I have a lot of respect for people that can tell amazing, vibrant stories with so few words but Kelsey does a fantastic job. The writing is so lovely and flows so smoothly it is easy to read in one sitting. I love the attention to how the phrases flow and how the stanzas are formatted, it truly made this book an immersive read.
I love a story that can transport me right along with it into a world that I can connect with. Everyone has had a point in their childhood where they have felt alone and invisible, so this makes Fain's character that much more interesting and relatable. This book gave me some serious Bridge to Terabithia vibes with Fain's nighttime adventures and the friendship that happens in this book is probably one of my favorite friendships in a book ever. This book is much more than an imaginative tale of make-believe creatures and a lonely girl; it is about the hardships of life, the wonders of growing up, and the importance of family and good friends.
The Lonely Ones explores life events that are very prominent and real and sheds some light on the outcast. I think it is important to note that Fain doesn't try to fit in, she is content with who she is even when it hurts to know that people don't see who you really are. The characters are wonderfully complex and genuine and just make the story so fascinating to read. I enjoyed every second of this book and will definitely be picking up a copy to add to my collection.
This was incredibly short but I thought it was really good. I don't want to say powerful because that implies that it hit hard and heavy. It was a subtle, beautiful kind of story. Very soft and short, but it had a lot of meaning behind it. It's probably not for everyone but I connected to it. It's a simple premise : a young girl growing up lost in stories with monsters, being bullied and how she finds her family and learns she's not alone. It's also written in verse so it's incredibly fast to read. I would definitely say check this one out if you enjoy verse stories and want some quick.
The Lonely Ones is written in verse and it is beautifully written. You're bound to fall in love with Fain, a young girl who feels she's invisible to those around her and only has her "monsters" that come at night and take her on grand adventures.
The Lonely Ones is a realistic book. It goes through parents losing their jobs and a struggling girl that is emotional. This book is also kind of hard to understand but later in the book it will make sense.
The book is written in poem form which is the first time I ever read a book in that format but it was a cool way to also read a story. The story explains how many kids are feeling now on days. Parents don't usually give kids their time because of work or they just don't feel like it. She creates this monsters that are her only friends and that teach her a way to survive the loneliness that she is going through.
Stories that are so vivid so real I could live inside of them
This is how I felt about this book. Alive. Breathing. Completely compelled by this book. Kelsey Sutton has outdone herself. A pure free verse masterpiece. Free verse is usually dispelled as "lazy work" or "simple minded" but this novel is surely not the case.
I was immediately drawn into Fain's world - of isolation and misunderstanding. This is not a story of fantasy, but more of humanity. This was a story of how a family's life challenges - parents' struggle to make ends meet - affect the well-being of the child.
Then she stretches her legs toward the ceiling, aiming for the sky My sister doesn't know that I've already been there
Kelsey Sutton has taken a new spin on the classical child's tale of "Where the Wild Things Are" and created a story for an older audience. If I were to have but one critique for this author, I would say as a reader, I would have liked to have learned more about the monsters - what they looked like, how they interacted . I'm sure she had her reasons for leaving it up to the reader's imagination, but a little more inspiration sent the reader's way would have been well received. Despite this, "The Lonely Ones" is a novel I would no doubt encourage my future daughter to read in hopes that she never loses her imagination and free spirit, and understands in turn, the unbreakable bond that siblings share together.
And I wonder if my family knows that when we're not careful not quick enough things will fall to rot and ruin so far so badly they can't be saved
It is with vulnerable truth that Kelsey Sutton writes, and I can only predict with strong certainty that her next novel will do nothing but amaze us all again. Bravo, dear friend, bravo.
I don't read many verse novels, but Kelsey's THE LONELY ONES was a special trip into the mind of a young girl who's felt alone for way too long. With her parents struggling in their relationship and her father searching for an elusive job, a tension clouds the entire household, making everyone pull away from each other.
Fain struggles to feel accepted. Not just by her older siblings who suddenly no longer have time for her, but by her peers. She dives into words because they are her escape, her way of explaining her feelings, her place of comfortability. No judging, no loneliness there. It works.
Along with the words that save her, she also finds solace in the group of monsters that come find her each night. They go on adventures; help her feel special. Normal. Wanted.
As in any situation where emotions are involved, factors added to Fain's daily life complicate the equation she's grown comfortable with. She meets a new friend. An acquaintance steps out of the woodwork. In time, she opens up, reveals more of herself, lets others in. The need to be alone, to stay in her own little world all of the time, to step out every night with the monsters, starts to thaw out.
But, kids will be kids. The social hierarchy isn't lost on Fain; in fact, she sees it all (or... thinks she does). As things twirl and swirl into new situations--a family emergency that causes everyone reevaluate their place, Fain betrayed and put in a bad situation. New pages are turned. Her family starts to find themselves again, and Fain gains a courage she hasn't had in a long time. As the story ends, everything Fain's gone through enables her to be stronger, smarter, and more confident.
THE LONELY ONES is a beautifully written verse novel about hope, love, family, and the struggle to stay true to yourself. It's a quick read, and would be appreciated by all ages.
*I was given a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
In my opinion, The Lonely Ones is a #MustRead because of the endearing Fain, a plot that is equal parts lush imagination and harsh reality, and breathtaking storytelling. This is an incredible book written in beautifully crafted prose, and while the genre is Middle Grade, all readers who pick it up will be glad they did.
Early in the book, we meet Fain’s family – and in only 54 words, you get a crystal clear picture of a typical morning in her household:
The Fredericks are a family bound only by blood.
Dana smears on lip gloss. Tyler adjusts his jersey,
Peter shrieks for juice.
Dad holds the paper
in front of his face,
searching the want ads
for someone who will want him back.
Mom pours milk, so distracted,
she does not notice my dirty feet.
This is the world Fain lives in, and her invisibility at home (and at school) drives her imagination to construct several fantasy worlds in which she is in control. By day, she is a lonely, confused child, and by night, she is surrounded by the creatures that need her company and leadership. The beauty of this story is Fain eventually longs for time with friends and family based in reality, not the safe alternative she imagines each night. Her journey to and from this special coping device is a beautiful metaphor for all coming of age events: what we want and need will change as we mature. You will root for Fain to find comfort and peace every step of the way. It is a quick read, but the impact is instant and lasting. I already want to read it again.
This book was simple to digest and easy to get through due to its unique and clear writing style. Yet this no-frills approach to the plot and descriptors made the heart of the story jump out that much more.
As I was reading it, it felt like the soul of the story was reaching out and caressing my heart, and I got to experience all of Fain's emotions as if they were my own (or were they?) Truly a story that may appear simple but has the power to touch your heart.