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The Girl Who Could See

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  425 ratings  ·  198 reviews
All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but what if she is the only one who can truly see?

Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear “normal,” she represses the young man flickering at the
Paperback, 200 pages
Published June 1st 2017 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
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Gray Cox Yes, but it is very minimal and innocent.

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4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  425 ratings  ·  198 reviews

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Ashwood (애쉬 우드).
If this book was made into a movie, I’d definitely want to watch it about maybe 35 thousand times, honestly.

This author really nailed her captivating writing style, world building and ability to crack my heart into a million pieces of heartbreak then magically piece it back together again.

I loved these characters seriously, even Detective Barstow, the dude was cool.
Gray Cox

I'm going to review this on my blog probably on Wednesday, so I'll post a link then. :D
It's up!
(Also I took a TON of pictures because THAT COVER, and they are featured in my blog post, so yeah). Y'all are welcome. ;)
Kate Willis
(Originally posted on Lilian's blog as part of a very fun collab) ;)

First off, is it weird that I want to enlarge this cover and hang it up like a movie poster? Because I do. XD (And the birds, guys!!!)

I actually read this book twice in a row to get all my thoughts about it together. The first time I read it, I was pretty keyed up from something unrelated to the book plus the SUSPENSE that is this story that I felt like I definitely missed some things, so I read it again to get all the richness.
m a r y l i z
Aug 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
*clutches heart* Can I just say there's a reason the cover is so beautiful?

BECAUSE WOW. This novella made me cry. Laugh. Smile.

It made me sit and stare at the wall and stroke the cover because it's that kind of a book. The kind that leaves a mark on your very soul and becomes a lasting part of who you are.

That's what The Girl Who Could See is to me.


Okay, you want an actual review?

Lovely Things:


- All right, but the characters. Fern and Tristan and darling Elino
Abigayle Claire
May 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Once I finally stopped staring at the stunning cover and began reading the book, I was not disappointed! This felt like one of those really cool crazy person TV shows from the very beginning. It's a novella with the end-of-the-world, get-the-FBI-to-listen stuff. With the distinct feeling that the fantasy and 'imaginary' elements were add-ons to a realistic 'real' world, it had the flare of modern Marvel movies. I tend to like that sort of thing when it's well done, so I enjoyed the book from the ...more
Hann Remraf
I totally get why everyone loves this book now. And I, along with everyone else who's read it, it seems, would recommend it, too XD
Fern is the girl who can see. Following an accident aged 8, Fern has been able to see and hear more than most people, including imaginary friend Tristan. But Tristan isn't imaginary, he's from another world. A world destroyed by the Rhoon, who want nothing more than to consume Earth. And the only way to do that is use the connection Fern has...

I'm struggling really to come up with any real emotions about this novella, which I think is its biggest downfall. The characters, storyline and writing d
Lisa Elis

I basically never read novellas because SHORTNESS. But I have heard people raving about this forever so, why not? And I went in prepared for its shortness so it did not disappoint ;D


+ FERN. She is so vulnerable and relatable and heroic all the same ... *hugs her*

+ TRISTAN. He was awesome of course ;D imaginary friend, anyone? He's the PERFECT imaginary friend lol

+ AGENT BARSTOW. hurray for the FBI!! We need more GOOD law enforcement people in books, and eve
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Aaahhhh this was fantastically paced and had me twisting into knots of panic. Character development was great, especially considering that this is only a novella. I was impressed by how the author used backstory to develop Fern. Tristan was also a pretty great character!

Also, there's pretty much nothing cliche in this. At all. #win THERE'S REALLY SO MUCH TO LOVE.

However, I'm not 100% sure what I think of the concept here. I'm sorta having a mental disconnect?

Basically the main idea is that the
Gracelyn Buckner
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
5 Stars

Wow! This was so good! I don't read speculative fiction very much, but I'd heard so many good things about this, that I stepped out of my comfort zone. I don't usually spend that much money on one book, either, but it was so worth it. Someone mentioned that it was a Christian allegory, and I was watching for that. I could see some of it at the beginning. At the end I was a bit confused as to how it fit into a Christian worldview (not that it was un-Christian or anything). But all in all,
Alea Harper
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
So umm I accidentally read the entire thing in almost one sitting. This book was absolutely INCREDIBLE. So well written and the pacing was amazing. Can I give it 100 out of 5 stars?

You can always tell when a book is an author's passion story. THIS IS KARA'S PASSION, and it comes through so beautifully on the page. This is Kara pouring her heart out, and the results are beautiful. Definitely give this book a read.
Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls)
About this book:

“All her life Fern has been told she is blind to reality—but what if she is the only one who can truly see?
Fern Johnson is crazy. At least, that’s what the doctors have claimed since her childhood. Now nineteen, and one step away from a psych ward, Fern struggles to survive in bustling Los Angeles. Desperate to appear “normal,” she represses the young man flickering at the edge of her awareness—a blond warrior only she can see.
Tristan was Fern’s childhood imaginary hero, savi
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well. That was absolutely amazing. The concept, the prose, the characters, the THEME and there was actually a heap of character development in such a small space of words and that's very uncommon, so I'm very pleased about that.

I cried. I don't cry a lot in books, but I cried in this one. I'm just such a sucker for happy endings that when the second last chapter looks like doom and despair the tears just start coming. (view spoiler)
Bethany Jennings
May 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Oh my word.

I stayed up until 4 AM reading this, desperate to see how it would end. Sometimes I had to set the book down and take a deep breath before I could keep going because it was SO intense and cut right to the heart (oh the feeeeeels).

Fern was so relatable and real, and I ached for her struggles - her "insanity" drew me in from the get-go, and it was a thrill to watch her overcome her trauma and step into her strength. And Tristan!!! So tender and snarky and epic. <3 <3 Elinore was a
Lila Kims
Okay... so this was EPIC.

It took me about half the novella to really get into the story, but that might be my fault, idk. This book is beautiful and inspiring, featuring characters I was absolutely in love with by the last page. Fern and Tristan are amazing and I can't get enough of them.

The premise is SO original! What the author did with the whole imaginary-friend, rift-between-worlds idea... It was just brilliant. And I thought it was especially cool how Fern could see both worlds at the same
Deborah O'Carroll
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars

This was a completely fascinating book and I'd never read anything like it! Hospitals etc. give me the willies which is why it doesn't get ALL THE STARS but otherwise I really enjoyed it and especially loved Tristan! :D Delightful and unique! *hugs story*
R.F. Gammon
So I'd heard quite a bit about this book thanks to many of my friends here on Goodreads, and when it went on sale, I snagged it. Sweet deal - $.99! I started it in the afternoon and read until ten o'clock, when my dad made me go to bed with literally two pages to go. So I got up at 5:30 in the morning to finish it.

And it was SOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOD, y'all. Amazing. Totally worth the hype.

-Fern. She was a very unconventional heroine, and I just loved her so much. She was realistic for all the
Claire Banschbach
I'm at like 4.5-5 stars right now. This was super cool and fun!

I loved the concept of the imaginary friend who's actually real! I kind of love stories with alternate worlds/realities, and this was fantastic. At first I thought there was no way everything could be resolved with how short the book looked, but it ended up being maybe just the right length. I did want a bit more detail on things, like the science-y stuff, but it works as is.

Loved all the characters! Fern was great and I enjoyed se
Victoria Howell
Oct 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed it. It was creative and I loved the concept. :)
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Whew!!!!! That was AMAZING!
Sarah Grace Grzy
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Ages 14+ for thematic elements
Wow, that was . . . just wow! This book is pretty awesome, ya'll.

First things first: THAT COVER! *swoon* I am in love! So gorgeous and so perfectly portrays the story! Simply lovely!

While the paranormal\speculative\sci-fi genre is not one I often read, and I have very few favorites, I was immediately drawn into this one! The character of Fern was realistic and relatable (even if you don't still have an imaginary friend. :D) from the very first page. I also love her niece, Elinor. The author did
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Girl Who Could See was an amazing read. While it was short due to its Novella format, it packed a punch. This id definitely a great book if you're looking for a light read. The fact that it was self-published is what made me want to read it as I want to support more indie-authors.
I bought the book in paperback form. The cover is even more stunning in person.

The book goes through Fern's life as it is now, along with little specks of things that happened in her past that are eventually revea
Amber Stokes
May 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: amber-s-kindle
My endorsement for the book! :)

Kara Swanson's novella pulses with action and beats with a love that longs to look beyond self. It's a vivid, imaginative story that encourages you to see what the world refuses to accept. An exciting read!
Amber Stokes, author of How a Star Falls

*With thanks to the author for providing me with a complimentary e-ARC of the book.*
ashley nicole
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Seeing Tristan had never been the nightmare. My desire to be 'normal' was - to become something I was never meant to be. Safe and complacent. To survive, but not to live.
"There's so much more than that."

I saw the raving reviews on here and I was just like "I've got to read this one". First off, I'm not a huge fan of science fiction and this book started off a little rough for me, but once I got into it I really enjoyed it! There are so many great themes about being different, letting go, and sa
H.L. Burke
The Girl Who Could See is a tightly paced contemporary SciFi with tight but evocative writing and easy to follow, compelling action.
The book isn't without its flaws.
I think my biggest gripe is the fact that in the beginning (the very first chapter) the main character is being interrogated about how she knew that a building which has recently collapsed was going to collapse. Immediately following this, we flash back to before the building collapse for some back story, and I kept expecting to com
Essie-Marie W.
I finished The Girl Who Could See, and OH MY WORD it was amazing!!! 😍 This book got me hooked from page one and left me in a squealing mess (which is a compliment in its highest form) at the end. I'm so glad I got to read it. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. I don't care what genres you read. You have to read The Girl Who Could See. It's phenomenal. EEEEEEEEEEEEKKKK!!!!! The story is original, the plot is intriguing, and the characters are phenomenal. Go read it. Now.
Ashley Townsend
Jul 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Aaaaaaand *cries* I can't remember ever reading a novella that I loved or gave me the feels like TGWCS, but this story was incredible! Swanson's world is beautifully crafted, full of colorful, complex characters that your heart cheers and aches for. The story manages to pack gritty reality (and un-reality), sweet romance, and humor into one pulse-pounding novella that leaves you wanting more. I need my ticket into their world!!!
Jul 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Girl Who Could See is the story of a young woman whose imaginary friend never left. As an adult with responsibilities, this odd friend is still there for her to talk to. And now that she is older, he is begins to tell her of a deadly danger facing the world that onlu she can stop because she is the only one who can see him. Is he a product of her overactive imagination? Or a real person in dire need of help?

The Girl Who Could See is awesome. I could hardly put it down and moved it to my favo
Rachel Dodson
Jul 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this novella. It's not my normal genre but I fell in love with it rather quickly. It's different, it's sad, it's romantic, it's witty. It is a whole lot of things wrapped up into one. I could just see how this would play out in a movie (and I sure hope it becomes one). If I could always read speculative fiction as good as this I'd never put it down. I can't wait to let my 12 year old daughter read this. I think she is going to love it. Tristan was my favorite character. He was t ...more
Apr 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I recently received an ARC from the author, and this book made me want to laugh and cry in the same breath throughout the entire read. Tristan is a a lovable, sassy, and dependable dork. While Fern is strong, yet falling apart at the seams. One cannot help but love the characters, holding their breath in suspense to the very last moment. It's a testimony to what good tension and developed characters look like. I only wish I could have crawled inside this story and lived there I definitely. My fi ...more
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Who else thinks this book needs a sequel/prequel??? 2 7 Nov 27, 2017 04:22PM  

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As the daughter of missionaries, KARA SWANSON spent sixteen years of her young life in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped suddenly into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the speculative genre and was soon penning stories herself.

Her co-authored fantasy novel, Pearl of Merlydia was published when she was seventeen. In June of 2017 she independen
“Why would you give up your life from a world that doesn't even believe you exist?'
A cough wracks his body, but his grip on me remains strong.
'Because I believe everyone should have the chance to live.”
“Today I am not the girl who's parents didn't love her. Or the women who's crazy. Or the aunt who can't keep a job.
I am the girl who can see what no one else can.
I matter, At least this once.”
More quotes…