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The Thing with Feathers

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  2,052 ratings  ·  409 reviews
Emilie Day believes in playing it safe: she’s homeschooled, her best friend is her seizure dog, and she’s probably the only girl on the Outer Banks of North Carolina who can’t swim.

Then Emilie’s mom enrolls her in public school, and Emilie goes from studying at home in her pj’s to halls full of strangers. To make matters worse, Emilie is paired with starting point guard C
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 5th 2017 by Blink
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Amanda Lynn This was mostly about accepting epilepsy. For this character it happened in an instant, and I don't think that's how the majority of people (me includ…moreThis was mostly about accepting epilepsy. For this character it happened in an instant, and I don't think that's how the majority of people (me included) learn to accept or even appreciate disabilities. However, many of the POV character's decisions were inconsistent with the fears she voiced. I also didn't get to know the character at all. The idea for the story was great, but the execution was lacking.(less)
Annette Bourland Blink YA Books are not Christian fiction but they are PG-13.

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Average rating 3.92  · 
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Amy Patrick
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was privileged to read an early version of this book, and it is AMAZING. The writing is soooo good, the characters are so real and so relatable, and the story is sweet and swoony and basically everything you want in a YA romance.
Chelsea ❤Peril Please❤
I’m in LOOOOOVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. I have a new BBF and I want to shout it from the rooftops. And his name is…

Hitch. Her golden retriever. Her best friend. And my favorite character.

But anyway…
I just…I don’t know why the MC felt the need to lie. Like…I mean I guess I get why she wanted to fit in-I do. I can’t rightfully put myself into her position (or anyone else with an illness for that matter) and understand why I’d be ashamed, but I do understand the need to fit in. Or, rather, to blend in, t
S.F. Henson
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book was exceptional. Beautiful writing and well-written characters, Hoyle handled some tough topics with grace. While I don't have epilepsy, this book gave me a window into some of the daily struggles someone with epilepsy might experience--especially a teenager. I have, however, lost a parent, and I can say that Hoyle accurately captured the pain and acceptance associated with that caliber of loss. I can't recommend this book enough! ...more
Rosalyn Eves
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I had the opportunity to read an early review copy of McCall Hoyle's lovely THE THING WITH FEATHERS (title taken from one of my favorite Emily Dickinson poems!).

Emilie Day has always played it safe, a tendency started by her diagnosis with epilepsy as a child and enhanced by her father's death a few years earlier. She mostly stays home, where she's home schooled, with her mother and her dog, Hitch. Safe, that is, until her mom decides it's time for Emilie to broaden her horizons and start takin
Angela Blount
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, contemporary
Originally Reviewed For YA Books Central:

A refreshing, quality debut--meaningfully woven and beautifully engaging, from the first page to the last.

Emilie Day's "normal" life ended one day in the middle of elementary school, when she suddenly had a seizure. The uncontrolled nature of her newly diagnosed epilepsy meant that homeschooling was the only suitable option--one which worked well for a time thanks to the support of her father and the addition of a
Jenn Gibson
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
As a high school media specialist, I was lucky enough to receive an advanced copy of this book. I sat down and read it cover to cover in one day and all I kept thinking is that my students are going to EAT THIS UP.
I love Emilie's character and truly believe that she encompasses all of the difficulties or experiences that so many young ladies encounter in their middle and high school years--unsure of herself, struggling with parental relationships, trying to fit in/blend into the wall, navigatin
DNF @ 15%

This book wasn't what I wanted. What I wanted was epilepsy representation so I could understand my mum's struggles on another level.

In the 15% I read, I didn't get that. I got a childish story of a girl who does not seem to care too much about her health and is "not like other girls". Obviously having epilepsy which causes grand-mal seizures is difficult, especially in the formative years. However, the main character slut shames other female characters and there is an annoying preppy l
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When you’re a homeschooled teen whose best friend is a seizure dog, it can be a nerve-racking experience to be plunked down at the local high school. But that’s the challenge 16-year-old Emilie Day faces—along with her dad’s recent death, forging new friendships at North Ridge High, and a crush on the school's star basketball player, Chatham York—in McCall Hoyle’s charming YA novel. A wonderfully delightful debut! ...more
Oct 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: z2017, ebook, ya
3.5 Stars.

Being a YA book, this is everything you expect it to be. It's sweet, it's filled with the usual tropes and clichés, it has likeable characters, the writing is simple, the story is simple, it's positive and it's a pleasant read. If you're looking for a sweet YA read, this is definitely your book. I like books like this, it's nice to read cute fluffy books occasionally. What I would have really loved though, is something a bit more meatier. I felt like this book just grazed the surface
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely read. Honest but hopeful, heartbreaking but with a gentle spirit that shines through every page. I so enjoyed traveling with Emilie on her path to acceptance -- of herself and of the difficult things that have happened in her life.
As soon as I started reading The Thing With Feathers by McCall Hoyle I was captivated and it held me all the way through.

Written in the first person, Emilie's story, her struggles, her challenges, her gifts really appealed to me. She is a bright, intelligent girl, up until the story opens she has been home-schooled, but now she faces into the jungle of high school and her counsellor's and mother's bidding. Up until now she has been safe at home, now she must face the scary new faces and situati
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I was so impressed with what a professional and sensitive job MCall Hoyle did in portraying a teen with epilepsy while keeping in mind that this was only one aspect of her life and she had all the other typical high school anxieties... does that cute boy like me... will people make fun of me if I am authentically myself? And it was really great that one theme running centrally throughout the book was that everyone, or nearly every character, had some sort of issue they were struggling with. Emil ...more
Alexandra Ott
Dec 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Such a lovely and sweet story! Beautiful writing, well-drawn characters, and a great romance. Recommend for YA contemporary fans looking for something fresh and poignant.
Leanna Domalik
Jan 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved the way Emilie wrestled with her fears throughout the story—not just her fears about having peers find out about her epilepsy, but her unresolved grief over her dad’s death and the possibility that her mom might move on to have a new relationship, and her fear of rejection when Chatham shows some pretty strong interest in her.

The tie-ins with Emily Dickinson’s life and poetry added another interesting layer to the story as well. I liked that Emilie recognized so much of herself in the re
Breeana Shields
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2k17-books
This was a such a lovely, hopeful story. Emilie's struggles are portrayed with such insight and compassion that you just can't help but root for her. McCall Hoyle also does a beautiful job exploring the relationships in Emilie's life--from new friendships to burgeoning romance to her tender, yet in-flux relationship with her mother. And I adored all of the allusions to Emily Dickinson, from the title right on through to the end. THE THIING WITH FEATHERS is a gem of novel. ...more
Katie Nelson
Jan 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful, hopeful story about reaching past your comfort zone and learning to trust in family, friends, and especially yourself.

When high school junior Emilie is forced to go from homeschooling to public school, she lives in fear of having a seizure in front of everyone. She promises her mom she'll try it for three months, and thinks she can keep her epilepsy to herself in that short time. But Emilie is partnered with Chatham for an English project, and gradually gets to know him, as well as
Feb 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A sweet, heart-warming story about acceptance--of others and ourselves.
Jun 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I can't wait to read this book. It sounds amazing! ...more
Abbie Roads
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm dying to read this book! It can't come out fast enough! ...more
Lisa Elis
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
SO GOOD. I'm also hooked on contemporary haha :DD ...more
The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)
Full Review on The Candid Cover

I haven’t seen too many books out there about epilepsy, so I was so glad to discover The Thing with Feathers, a novel that depicts this condition in a realistic way. I loved the complexity of the story and the main character’s personality. However the book would have been much better without the insta-love and clichés. This is still an enjoyable story, though, and I would recommend it to those interested in learning about what it’s like to live with epilepsy.

This b
Dec 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am very hit and miss when it comes to contemporary novels. This one I have to say was a successful hit out of the park! It started off so funny and held that until the very last chapters where this book will rip your heart out just to put it back in and caress it with love. I am so over joyed I had the opportunity to read this wonderful story! This one has a girl Emilie who hides away from the world ever since her dad died of Cancer and she was diagnosed with Epilepsy she doesn't leave her roo ...more
A beautiful book - full of hope. McCall Hoyle's YA debut captures the fears and excitement of edging past what's comfortable and safe - and learning to trust the people around you. The writing is lovely and the characters are perfectly drawn - likeable but flawed, and at all times, believable. ...more
Dec 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya, swanky-17s
I can't wait to read this one! It sounds incredible (and oh, North Carolina and homeschool girls are close to my heart). ...more
Dec 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Actual rating: Somewhere between 4.25-4.5 stars


I was not expecting to read this whatsoever. It was an Advanced Reader Copy that was sitting in the lunch room of the Christian Bookstore I work at. I started to read the back of the book for hints of the genre and what it is about.
I read the first chapter.
I had to keep going.

This book is very realistic.
I cannot say that on behalf of a teenager that suffers from epilepsy, but as someone who went through a season of frequent anxiety attacks, t
Feb 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I would love to win this book in the giveaway. I have never written a review like this before but it hits too close to home not to. I was diagnosed with POTS and Cataplexy at the age of 14 and tried to go to school. I have not been able to continue my education since then. This is so close to me but I cannot buy a copy. Regardless, I think this is a book that everyone should read. This life experience needs to be shared with anyone and everyone. And to the author? I thank you so so much for shar ...more
m a r y l i z
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Um. Yeah.

This book had issues, and I foresee another Mary Rant Review in the near future.

But all that to say, I enjoyed it more than my rating indicates and the cover is gorgeous. So it's more like 2.5 stars. ;)

2.5 stars
emilie secrist
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had the opportunity to read an advance copy of The Thing with Feathers and thoroughly enjoyed Emilie's journey from despair to hope. Teachers, librarians, and mothers will enjoy sharing this book with the girls in their lives. ...more
Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd)
This was such a light and fluffy contemporary, but there was so much heart! Emilie Day is an epileptic teen who’s nervous about leaving her life of homeschool behind as she starts attending her local high school. She decided to keep her epilepsy a secret.

I loved that we got to have a main character with epilepsy! I loved seeing Emilie talk about her seizure dog, her medicine, therapy, the different types of seizures she has - we really get to see her and I loved it. Emilie and Chatham, her engl
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Of all the books I got this weekend at ALA, this was the first one I wanted to read, and I'm glad I did. Emily Dickinson holds a special place in my heart as she connects me to my grandmother, so I was drawn in by the title alone. The characters are endearing, the setting is fascinating, and the teenage themes are fitting. I'm not sure there's anything I can relate to better than longing for a lost father and a desire to fit in and be loved. This is a great read & I can't wait to share it with m ...more
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McCall Hoyle lives in the foothills of the North Georgia Mountains with her husband, children, and an odd assortment of pets. She is a middle school librarian and teacher. When she's not reading, writing, or teaching, she's probably training one of many dogs. You can learn more about her at ...more

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34 likes · 11 comments
“If Hitch were a person, he'd be Mother Theresa or Gandhi or someone who treated all living creatures with the respect they deserve. It's depressing how my dog is a better human being than I am.” 4 likes
“Some people see the liquid and think half full. Others only see the air and think half empty. Sometimes I get the sense Chatham sees it all, which is kind of terrifying. I don't know if I want him to see me--the real me.” 4 likes
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