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The Girl Who Could See

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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, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man isn’t a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.

208 pages, Paperback

First published June 1, 2017

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About the author

Kara Swanson

8 books801 followers
As the daughter of missionaries, KARA SWANSON spent her childhood running barefoot through the lush jungles of Papua New Guinea. Able to relate with characters dropped into a unique new world, she quickly fell in love with the fantasy genre.

Swanson is the award-winning author of The Girl Who Could See and Peter Pan retelling Dust and Shadow. She helps young writers explore their passions as a faculty member of the Young Writer’s Workshop and also offers her own author coaching services.

Kara is passionate about crafting stories of light shattering darkness, connecting with readers, and becoming best friends with a mermaid—though not necessarily in that order.

You can connect with Kara online where she chats about coffee, fairy tales and bookish things on Instagram (@karaswansonauthor), Facebook (Kara Swanson, Author), and Twitter (@kswansonauthor).

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 329 reviews
Profile Image for Elizabeth Dragina.
586 reviews14 followers
October 25, 2019
Oh my poor, sad heart.

(( Just as a side note, cuz, I though you should know. . . It took me an hour to read this. :P ))

There was a moment of desperation, where I actually thought this was a tragedy -- O.O 😥 -- and I literally screamed and jumped around the room in relief because of the ending. Oh that ending though. So perfect. So cute. (( if that was spoilers...I'm sorry that I just ruined your life--not. ))

Because of how fast I read it I'm still reeling from shock and I don't quite know how to create this darned review. :P THAT COVER!! LET'S TALK ABOUT HOW BEAUTIFUL THAT COVER IS!! *eyes go stary* *mind explodes* Did anybody else notice the bird connection??

Description ~ Was it ever magnificent?!! Oh my the colliding worlds was absolutely amazing. I could picture it like I was physically there--and echoing the sentiments of some reviewers before me . . . . THIS BOOK NEEDS TO BE A M·O·V·I·E!!!!!!!!! Even though we were in California it still felt like a different world.

Setting ~ California . . . restaurants . . . school . . . hospitals . . . Oh yeah, there was also that desert-covered world that was BEING EATEN BY A DEATH MONSTER!!! I loved the description in these areas, it was so breathtaking and full of wonder. Took me by surprise, and hurled me through every page like I was parched land desperate for the water it offered. ^.^

Plot ~ Understandable, Believable, Impacting, Realistic, Action-packed, Adventurous, Twisty, Surprising, but most importantly it was Solid. A complete package of everything combined smoothly. Ready to take your emotions on a rollercoaster, then twist your heart to pieces and before you can even breathe, put it back together. *sigh*

Content ~ Well there is the word Heck . . . hospitals, so blood and medical stuff. There is some shooting, and then the Rhoon. Translation: Death Monster trying to destroy earth. Also crazy scientist/doctors! One kiss.

Romance ~ So cute!!!!!! 😍😍😍😍😍😍💔💔💔💔💔💔💞💞💞💞💕💕💕💕 That's all I really want to say because it was ADORABLE!!!! 😍😍😍💔💔💞💞💕💕💕💞💔😻😻😻 😭😭😭😭😭 I just can't even express myself!!! GAHHHHHHHHHH *takes a deep breath* It. Was. Everything. A. Romance. Is. Supposed. To. Be. O.O Tragic, lovable, adorable, believable, twisty, full-of-feels, heart attacks, action, and a major display of selflessness!!! I SHIP THESE CHARACTERS!!! SHIP. IS. AT. SEA.

Characters ~ So human. They had flaws, they learned to overcome their flaws, they learned to let go. And when you let go you get what you need. *sappy grin* People, read the book. You need this in your life.

*cue the dramatic and over zealous applause*

Overall ~ SHIP. IS. AT. SEA. My heart is back together again. And my emotions are very twisted. It might take a couple hours to untangle them. :P Stupid rollercoaster. -_-
Profile Image for Kate Willis.
Author 22 books502 followers
July 13, 2022
(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. ;)


Fern was a very interesting character in that she was so normal. It sounds weird, but I mean that she wasn’t super rebellious or brilliant or skilled at anything in particular. She could have been you or I. I especially liked how she was doing her best to take care of Elinore. <3 That was super sweet and showed her strong inner character. Also, I need more heroines with untamable hair, because that is the most relatable thing ever. XD

All of her banter with Tristan was hilarious! I loved the easy way they talked with each other, even when she was trying to get him to go away. ;) Honestly, I think “Plant Girl” is the most adorable nickname, and I’m gonna start calling him “Post-Apocalyptic Macho-Man”. (I definitely do ship it, guys. And I appreciated how appropriate and sweet everything stayed.)

The worldbuilding was really fascinating. Talk about a very, very destroyed world. O.o. Some of that and a certain aspect of the plotline were reminding me a little of one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes. ;) Between the world-jumping, (intense) flashbacks, and a time skip, it could get confusing sometimes, but I followed (at least on my second read-through). ;)

The FBI agent Barstow was an interesting and competent side character. I like what ended up happening with him.

Okay, but the spiritual themes! O.o. I understood them sooo much stronger the second time, and I was tearing up a bit at certain parts. ;) Something that really hit me near the beginning was how easy it was for Elinore to believe in Tristan, and how Fern needed to go back to the trust and belief she had as a child. Definitely a message to us young adults who have begun to experience the world that calls us crazy for our beliefs. And the theme of a valuing love that sets people free. And Tristan’s reply to Fern’s question at the end. So amazing. I’m trying not to spoil anything, but I loved it. ;)

Just a note, some of the post-apocalyptic situation and medical details (including children) could be disturbing to young children. Some of the descriptions of wounds/blood got to be a little too much for me, personally, at times. Also, one redacted swear word and a slang phrase were used.

(All the best quotes are spoilers. Sorry, guys. Just read it.)

Altogether, I’m glad I tried this book, and I very much enjoyed the sci-fi-ness and the allegorical themes. ;) I definitely want to try this author’s Peter Pan inspired book when it comes out, and I want her to write something Nutcracker-ish next. A girl can dream, right? ;)
Profile Image for mary liz.
213 reviews18 followers
August 3, 2017
*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 Elinore...I WANT TO SQUEEZE THEM ALL. I loved Fern's character arc, and her adorable relationship with Tristan. (Those. Two. Are. So. Cute.) Tristan is everything I love in a character, with his playful banter and the way he protects Fern. CAN I HAVE HIM PLEASE?? Of course, we can't forget Barstow. He was sarcastic, pessimistic...but also soft-hearted deep down. ;) In short...I loved them all and I want more stories with these charries. <3

- The setting. *rubs hands together gleefully* Yessssss. It's set in modern-day Los Angeles, but Fern can see into another world. So basically, it's a form of urban fantasy...a favorite genre of mine. I LOVED IT. *hugs story*

- The cover. C'mon, though. Does this need an explanation?

- The creativity. Because let's face it: the idea of having an imaginary friend be real? That's kind of genius. WAY TO GO, KARA.

- The poignant themes. OMW THIS STORY WAS TOUCHING. I don't know what it was about this story, but it just completely melted my heart. Again, Fern's arc was so well-done. I felt really touched by her journey of overcoming her trauma and fear of being perceived as "abnormal" by the rest of the world. Completely, totally perfect.

Not So Lovely Things:


- (Actually though, some of the typos/formatting issues bothered me a little. Nothing major, and it's the only thing I wanted to point out. ^_^)


CONTENT: There's a semi-detailed kiss described. (But I actually wasn't bothered at all by it? it felt really sweet and tender and heart-wrenching to me.) Also, some levels of attraction between characters. Fern had traumatic experiences as a child, and her parents were mentioned to have been drug dealers. For those reasons, I would probably recommend this to those 13+.

Overall? I'm head-over-heels in love with this novella. It's going right onto my favorites shelf--a high honor indeed for any story. Now all I want to do is go re-read this. IT'S THAT GOOD, FOLKS. <3

5 stars!
Profile Image for Kaytlin Phillips.
Author 7 books97 followers
July 12, 2022
This book is sooooo good! I loved it! Seeing into another world!? Love that! It was like incredible! The premise of the story and characters and just...like everything about it! I will definitely be reading more of Kara's books in the future! Wow!

Fern was well done...I loved her sense of panic and her annoyance with Tristan, aka her imaginary friend. She was well rounded and that heart wrenching decision at the end...*sobs*

Tristan was awesome! Let's clear the air...he was great and like Awesome! So yeah...his protectiveness of Fern and how he always called her Plant Girl...eeek! So cute!

None that I remember...might have been a side word...but I don't remember one.

One kiss...but given the situation it was perfect and felt right...like my heart was breaking!

This was a really incredible read and enjoyed it soooooooo much! Like that was awesome! Highly recommend!
Profile Image for Abigayle Claire.
Author 9 books222 followers
May 10, 2017
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 very beginning. The small amount of jumping around in time was easy to follow. All of the characters had a purpose, became distinct in my mind, and were easy to get attached to even in the span of a novella. So much so that some certain main characters made me cry while reading it and it wasn't even 2am! I thought the blend of fantasy and reality was excellent, as was the blend between gravity and levity. While I can understand wanting more of a story, I found the length of this one to be perfect. Not all novellas fell like a c0mplete and well-rounded story, but this one did. I was thrilled to receive an ARC from this author and look forward to more work from her!
Profile Image for Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls).
1,599 reviews3,497 followers
July 10, 2017
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, saving her from monsters under her bed and outside her walls. As she grew up and his secret world continued to bleed into hers, however, it only caused catastrophe. But, when the city is rocked by the unexplainable, Fern is forced to consider the possibility that this young man isn’t a hallucination after all—and that the creature who decimated his world may be coming for hers.”

Series: As of now, no.

Spiritual Content- A ‘Thank God’ is said;
*Note: A mention of the years Fern was kidnapped that was “like hell”.

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘heck’, a ‘screwed up’, a ‘what the’, and two ‘stupid’; A few mentions of curses (said, not written); Sarcasm & Eye rolling; Pain, Injuries, Diseases, Blood/Bleeding, & Fighting (up to semi-detailed); Many mentions of pain, injuries/wounds, stitches, blood/bleeding, fighting, spears/blades, & protecting someone from harm/danger (semi-detailed); Many mentions of a dangerous monster/disease/plague, & deaths (along with flashbacks of that time, up to semi-detailed); Many mentions of when Fern was kidnapped, tested on, & felt pain from it all (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of deaths & murders (barely-above-not-detailed); Mentions of a car accident & injuries (up to semi-detailed); Mentions of hallucinations, trauma, & screams; Mentions of drugs, selling crack (Fern’s parents did), & jail-time; Mentions of lies; A few mentions of nightmares; A few mentions of bullies; A couple mentions of terrorists; A couple mentions of rotting flesh; A mention of tattoos.

Sexual Content- a boarder-line semi-detailed // detailed kiss; Touches, Embraces, Nearness, & Warmth (up to semi-detailed); Blushes; Some Noticing; A few mentions of thinking a child (young Fern) was trafficked; A couple mentions of a male friend not being a pervert; A couple mentions of a cute guy & a boyfriend; Some Love, falling/being in love, & the emotions.

-Fern Johnson, age 19
1st person P.O.V. of Fern
200 pages

Pre Teens- One Star
New Teens- One Star
Early High School Teens- Three Stars
Older High School Teens- Four Stars
My personal Rating- Four Stars
I went into this novella not knowing too much. I came out impressed by the very well done first person POV. The whole premise is very interesting. I can definitely see fans of Lisa T. Bergren’s YA series and also Sara Ella’s books enjoying this one. There were some parts I wasn’t a fan of because of some details mentioned, but overall I enjoyed it. I do think some parts could have been expanded on, but it was a very action packed read that had some romance thrown in and a great ending! ;)

Link to review:

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.
*I received this book for free from the Author for this honest review.
Profile Image for Lisa.
211 reviews229 followers
June 16, 2018

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 even though he was quite stubborn and incredulous, well, he did a fine job XD

+ ELINORE is precious <3


+ contemporary - It takes place in ... LA, was it? Can't quite remember. Anyway, it all takes place in our world and Fern was even a waitress to start with. A major setting is the hospital.

+ fantasy. Because Fern can see into a parallel world (aka Tristan's) and there's a monster trying to get from there to here *shudder*

+ mystery. Because Fern had a really dark brutal past and she tries to repress her memories and it takes a while before we can find out WHY. Also police involvement.

+ horror. Because FIRST, THE MONSTER. And second, EVIL LAB EXPERIMENTS AND KIDNAPPING AND SCIENTISTS. It was freaky for a while, really *hides under blanket*

+ triller. Because ALL THE ACTION?? It was exciting and scary and ridiculously gripping :DD

SO. ALL IN ALL. ALL THE APPLAUSE FOR THIS NOVELLA. It was beautifully, beautifully done. I have zero complaints. Just mmmmmmm A+.
Profile Image for Grace Johnson.
Author 15 books304 followers
April 4, 2021
If there’s one thing I’ve heard, it’s that Kara Swanson is a fantabulous author. All of the amazing reviews and recommendations of Dust have piqued my curiosity in Swanson’s stories, so naturally I started out small: her free short story. Seaglass didn’t exactly capture my attention or really say much about her talent, but it wasn’t so bad that I was deterred from ever reading anything of hers.

So, when I started my three free months of KU, Swanson was on the top of my list. Now, Dust is not available on KU, so I had to settle with The Girl Who Could See.

And I use the term “settle” loosely, because this story was amazing!

After reading Sara Ella’s books, I’ve developed a hankering for clean YA fantasy romance. My hunger had gone unsatisfied for nearly a year (mostly because I don’t have to heart to spend money on something I’m not sure I’ll enjoy; I am more historically inclined, after all) before I finally picked this novella up.

Guys, everything’s there, just as it should be. The writing—with that modern slant that’s so relatable and sarcastic, but not as cookie-cutter as most. The story—that’s fast-paced and unique, sucking you in from Page 1. The heroine—who’s mature but still acts her age and is just altogether so lovable. The HERO—who is all hot and macho yet so, SO sweet and caring. (I mean, he’s no Ky Rhyen, but he beats nothing.)

I really did enjoy reading this novella. I loved Fern and Tristan—their relationship was so cute, but they were also strong characters separately, which is oftentimes hard to find in characters these days. I loved the story, the plot, the concept, the secondary characters—all of it! And, assuming I ever turn a profit off of these books I’m trying to write, I will definitely be reading more from Kara Swanson in the future!
Profile Image for Jane Maree.
Author 9 books99 followers
March 22, 2018
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.

This is a self-published book but GUYS, it was edited really well and is practically up to par with most published books. (Yes, I found two or three mistakes but they were tiny details that are very easy to miss. No book is perfect, hey.)

I'm not normally a person for romance but EXCUSE ME YES.


This was lovely and wonderful and I loved it and help I'm a total fangirl.
Profile Image for Sara.
1,080 reviews362 followers
February 6, 2018
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 didn't stand out and lacked any kind of emotional connection. The only character I really liked was Elinor, who we see too briefly. I liked her innocence and love for her aunt. In comparison, I found Fern and Tristan's relationship awkward and clunky. I didn't think they worked well together at all, and I could have done without the relationship entirely.

The story itself also seems to jump around without any real sense of direction. One minute Fern is locked up by the FBI, the next minute she's rushing to a hospital after a random phone call to the babysitter. It felt rushed and manic, and didn't flow well. Also, I struggled to get to grips with how these adults suddenly go from not believing Fern and thinking she's insane to believing her a few paragraphs later without any real evidence other than a fleeting glimpse of Tristan.

Also, nothing is explained in great detail, especially Tristan's world, which I found frustrating and led me to feeling confused as the story progressed. The conclusion is predictable, and unfortunately for the most part I was bored.

I think if this had been longer, and the characters fleshed out more I would have enjoyed this. It had the potential to be a unique story, but the characters let it down.
Author 3 books40 followers
March 9, 2018
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, I would definitely recommend The Girl Who Could See. (It has a really pretty cover too!)
Profile Image for Lilian.
269 reviews11 followers
January 26, 2020
Incredible book


... Dang. Pretty powerful book. I would definitely recommend this for those readers who love sci fi and romance -- such a great book!
Profile Image for Bethany Jennings.
Author 6 books58 followers
May 2, 2017
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 sweet element, as well. All of them won my heart the moment they appeared on the page. And I loved Barstow; he was fun!

The romance took me off guard, in part because I wasn't expecting it, but also in part because it was so powerful despite being very delicately and deftly woven through the story. It was sweet and totally satisfying.

The tension didn't let up. I want all the characters to be real. And the ending was superb and perfect.

Can I give this story 10 stars?? <3

(I was given an ARC by the author in exchange for my honest review. ^_^ )
Profile Image for Ryan Elizabeth.
153 reviews
January 25, 2022
I've been reading so many awesome books lately! The Girl Who Could See is one of my new favorites, and I'm SO glad to have read it.

What I Liked:
- TRISTAN. What an incredible character, the concept behind him was pulled off so well.
- Actually, all of the characters are very well written, I really liked Fern.
- The fantasy element was just so so cool.
- Writing style is a favorite!
- It was so fast-paced (in a good way) and it pulled me in so quickly, couldn't put it down. I definitely could've read it in one sitting.
- Also I should mention I cried. The ending...*sighhhh* it was perfect.

What I Didn't Like:
- I was super confused about the Rhoon for a while there, it wasn't explained super well.

CW: nothing except minor references to drugs and human trafficking and some frightening imagery.
Profile Image for Megan McCullough.
Author 1 book132 followers
September 11, 2018
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.
Profile Image for MeMe.
223 reviews26 followers
April 26, 2021
I was very impressed with this book. It turned out to be better than I thought it would. It had a few things I searched for, particularly in novellas. The main thing I search for are characters that are not difficult to associate with within a book. That occurred for me with both Fern and Tristan. They resemble capable, sensible characters that are not difficult to pull. I will say they don't go through a massive load of character development, yet I anticipated that since this is a short book. The second thing I search for is clarity. Since a novella is short, it shouldn't occupy an excess of time clarifying things, yet also, it shouldn't be sufficiently ambiguous to be befuddling. The creator worked hard at that. The last thing I like in a novella is, therefore, to be a decent blend of activity and reflection, on the off chance that you have a lot of one or either a story can delay, even a short one like a novella.
I think the solitary thing that would have made me love this story considerably more would be an epilogue, showing a more significant amount of Fern and Tristan's new sentiment together. I surmise we can trust that there might be a spin-off later on, correct?
Profile Image for Abby Burrus.
Author 1 book41 followers
December 25, 2021
First of all, can I just say the cover is amazing?
Second, the author seriously needs to turn this book into a novel. I see it having great potential that way.
I absolutely devoured this book. It was way too short.
I would say that maybe the plot could be considered a tiny bit cliche, but the characters-! Oh my goodness, yes.
Is this a book I will reread? Totally. Some time in the feature, a couple years from now perhaps, I'll be looking back on the books I read in 2021, see this one, remember it, and order from the library to read again.
The ending was also amazing!!! Loved it, it was perfect, etc.
For the Christians out there, I wouldn't say this book is 'Christian.' But it is perfectly clean, the author is a Christian, and it has several Christian principles. For those who aren't Christians, I don't think you'll have a problem with it.
So yeah, just read the book XD
Profile Image for R.F. Gammon.
492 reviews176 followers
June 14, 2017
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 stuff she'd gone through, and her character arc was nicely done for such a short book.
-Tristan. Can I just say that when male leads are well-done, with their own reasons for loving people and fighting and existing, it makes me so happy? Tristan can take care of himself, and he's been protecting Fern since she was a little girl. But she has to learn to come out from under his wing, and he has to learn to let her.
-Again: can I just say these character arcs were golden?
-I really loved Elinore also. She was the sweetest little thing.
-The FBI aspect of it. I've never read that kind of book, and it was really cool. I also liked that Agent [Barstow?] wasn't a bad guy. I feel like this kind of story tends to make the cops bad, and while he isn't a cop, neither he nor his guys are bad.
-The pacing. Especially in the second three-quarters of the book. The first quarter was a little off to me. But that's a complaint for a different section.

-Probably that the first quarter was a little bit hard to get into? It wasn't slow, and it was definitely necessary, but I had a little bit of a hard time throwing myself in headfirst.
-I noticed a few typos here and there, but for the most part this was a very well-made book, especially since it's self-published :)
-I wished it was longer :)

4.5 stars. I totally recommend this one. It was amazing and I already want to re-read it.
Profile Image for Katrina Michelle.
222 reviews
June 7, 2018
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 time, pretty much.

I can't help but consider whether or not I think this might have worked as a full-length novel somehow... I guess there were just a couple things I wish could have been fleshed out more? ESPECIALLY Tristan's world - what it used to be before, and just more about it. We get the tiniest little taste that was so intriguing it made me want to know morrrrrre. :D

But man... I enjoyed this so much!!! And now I want more of these precious characters. *sobs* (You know what would be cool? A prequel all about Tristan! His backstory is so fascinating, I feel like it could make an awesome novel. Or novella. Or something. Gosh, the more I think about it, the more I WANT IT.)

4 stars for this wonderful little story. *huggles it*
Profile Image for Deborah O'Carroll.
479 reviews93 followers
July 25, 2019
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*
Profile Image for Jenna.
Author 2 books155 followers
July 14, 2018
How could so much be packed into a novella???
Oh my goodness this book...I love Fern and Tristan so much.
And this cover! It should be in an art museum, no joke.
Profile Image for Sarah Grace Grzy.
629 reviews831 followers
May 11, 2017
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 a great job with her character; some people struggle with writing little children, but Kara hit the nail on the head! I could completely picture her adorable little-girl actions and expressions. Super sweet! Tristen was also a great character. I think my favorite character is FBI agent Barstow; sarcastic, and quite crusty, but you find out he does have a heart! And, he's an FBI agent, I mean come on! It doesn't get much cooler. ;)

The story was very well done and very believable - I mean, as believable as a story in this genre can be. The little bit of time jumping was well written so as to not be confusing. I struggled a little bit to understand some of the parallel world stuff, but that's probably just me, as my brain does not work that way. The end climax was quite well done and wrapped everything up neatly. The little twist at the end was both surprising, heart-breaking, and very welcome! (Yes, that's contradictory, but you'll just have to read the book yourself!)

One thing that I loved in particular was the romance, or should I say, lack there of. It was kept to a bare minimum, which I appreciated. Kara definitely could have made it MUCH more romance, but I am very glad she didn't! It was more of a natural afterthought, than an obtrusion or main storyline.

CONTENT NOTE: There is practically no content! A few mentions of a wound and blood, but nothing terribly graphic, the violence was pretty minimal and mostly talked about, not actually portrayed. There was one kiss that went on a bit too long for me, but under the circumstances, it was rather understandable and easily skimmed. Some "thematic elements" may be a bit graphic for younger readers, like , so I would recommend it for ages 14-15+.

All in all, very well done! I really enjoyed this book, and there were numerous times I just could. not. put. it. down. Gripping, exciting, and an all round enjoyable read! I will definitely be buying a paperback as soon as this releases! Highly recommended!
Profile Image for Claire Banschbach.
Author 7 books175 followers
January 28, 2018
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 seeing her struggle and gradual acceptance of all the "crazy". And the end. <3.

Highly recommended! Looking forward to more from this author!
Profile Image for Nathaniel.
Author 21 books114 followers
December 7, 2021
The Girl Who Could See is the book that's going to make me read Kara Swanson in the future. I read The Heirs of Neverland duology and it was pretty good, but not so amazing that I would rush out to read everything Swanson writes. This novella, though, is fantastic. Amazing characters, brilliant plot, sad twist, happy twist...just all the feels. The emotions kept me holding my breath. I can't believe it took me so long to read this.
Profile Image for Cheyenne Langevelde.
Author 4 books109 followers
May 29, 2023
The Good:
Though a self-published debut and a novella at that, this is a very strong story. The plot moved smoothly and was interesting enough that I couldn't put it down and stayed up way too late finishing this. The characters, though only given a short amount of time, were developed nicely, and I appreciated the realistic emotions shown in this.

The Bad:
This had a very slow, almost cliché beginning, and I wasn't really sold on the story until around halfway through. There were a few proofreading errors and some formatting mistakes that made it a tad confusing at times to read, but I know from personal experience that formatting an ebook is HARD.

What the Reader Thought:
I wasn't sure what to make of this book when I first started. I'd heard a lot about this writer and how good her writing was, but didn't know what I personally would think of it. Once I got past the beginning though, I ended up loving the story and being unable to put it down. I definitely want to get a physical copy sometime! It's a lovely, action-paced and character-centered sci-fi novella. I also want to read more of this author's work in future.
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