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The Things She's Seen

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  390 ratings  ·  108 reviews
Nothing's been the same for Beth Teller since the day she died.

Her dad is drowning in grief. He's also the only one who has been able to see and hear her since the accident. But now she's got a mystery to solve, a mystery that will hopefully remind her detective father that he is still alive, that there is a life after Beth that is still worth living.

Who is Isobel Catching
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published 2018)
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Nancy They are the same book -- it was given a new title in the US.
Nancy It's the same book, but was given a new title in the U.S.

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4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  390 ratings  ·  108 reviews

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Hannah Greendale
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
At first glance, The Things She's Seen looks like a morsel, just a slim bite of a book about an Aboriginal ghost, a heartbroken father who works as a detective, and a strange girl who speaks in riddles. But upon closer inspection, it's a substantial meal, with meaty themes and a satiating mystery. What begins as the story of an unexplained fire unfolds into a layered, harrowing tale of tragedy and triumph with elements of magical realism in the vein of Life of Pi.

Easily consumed, but not quickly
RTC. In the meantime...

I found the Beth Teller chapters a little too, uh... Telly... and she seemed to me quite a bit younger emotionally than the fifteen-and-a-half she was supposed to be, but I guess maybe she lived a fairly sheltered life? And the dawning of what was going on probably wouldn't have been as powerful if she had understood what was going on straight away.

That ending and the way it wrapped up, though? Wow.

I'm still sorting through my emotions.

The whole "beneath-place" thing was d
Trigger warnings: death, Stolen Generation, (view spoiler). I think that's all?

This is a very peculiar little book. I mean, it was amazing and fast paced and I flew through it. But at the same time, I definitely wasn't expecting the magical realism-y elements of Catching's story. There were so many reveals in this story and I was blown away by every single one of them, even though this is barely 200 pages long.

I loved the mixture of prose and poetry. I loved the cha
Once I started I literally could do nothing but continue without a break until I had finished. I read as an audio-book and it was stunningly narrated by Miranda Tapsell. The authors note at the end is a must must read.
The authors note actually gives you everything I would like to be able to say about the importance of encouraging every Australian to read this and similar stories.
Officially classed as Junior Fiction- it is actually a book any discerning adult reader will devour.
Amazing, enchan
Well, that's a heart-breaker.

Lyrical, lovely, #ownvoices
This little book packs a punch. Two different narrators, aboriginal story telling, child abuse and exploitation, the Stolen Generation, death and grieving, and a murder mystery with a unique perpetrator. Just a brilliant book that makes reading so worthwhile.
Cheyenne Blue
It was good to read a young adult novel relating to indigenous Australians. I don't remember coming across any other (and would love to hear some recommendations, as I'm sure they must be out there).

This was enjoyable, but I wasn't blown away by it. I enjoyed the disjointed, choppy verse chapters told in Catching's voice the best. Beth Teller, the dead girl narrator seemed rather simplistic at times and I found I hurried through her parts to keep up with the story, rather than savouring them, as
Megan Maurice
Oct 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wasn’t sure about this book at the start, but the more I read, the hungrier I got to reach the end and solve the mystery. The parts narrated by “Catching” are so beautifully written and the way they tell the story is breathtaking. I want to go back and read all her parts again with the knowledge I have from having reached the end.
Kathleen Dixon
Jun 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathleen by: the Bookshop
I read a children’s story by this author team before and enjoyed it, and a teen fantasy also, but this teen novel is superb. To categorise it is impossible - it’s a detective novel with a ghost and a link to Aborigine mythology in small town Australia. It tackles racism, and corruption. And grief, and love, and friendship. It’s told in 2 voices - one in prose and one in poetry - both linking perfectly to take the story along to a fulfilling conclusion.
Aug 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Truly excellent Indigenous Australian YA
Bitchin' Reads
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thank you, NOVATeen Book Festival, for this amazing ARC.

Beth is a young Aborigine teen who has died in an unfortunate car accident, leaving behind a grieving father who is pulling away from his in-laws due to his survivor's guilt. But he can see her ghost. In an attempt to help him find his footing in life again, she encourages him to take on a case that she hopes will help him come to terms with what has happened to her and bring him back to his senses. The case he takes on was supposed to be a
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
It’s so sad I haven’t read (or realized I’ve read) works from or about Aboriginal people. This story was not only insightful, but thought provoking and sad. The interweaving of life and death, reality and fantasy were so well done. It’s hard to distinguish truth from fiction - but it all felt real. This short story speaks volumes about stories and a culture I personally know little about, but I want to know more. I’m excited to read more from these authors in the future!
Krystal Gagen-Spriggs
There are a lot of discussion points in this novel that would make it a great class novel. As a reading for pleasure book however, I think it might not be as well received. I know that my personal enjoyment was influenced greatly by the discussion around this book by my Teacher Librarian book club - without the insight and thoughts of my colleagues, I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the story as much. It did however, get me thinking.
Liz Derouet
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faves-of-2018
Original, mysterious, captivating and well written, I have another for my favourites of the year list. I’ll write a longer review for my blog :
Can definitely recommend this book for all ages.
I devoured this stunning little read in one sitting. The alternating voices - one in prose, one in poetry - are used to great effect. The prose sections do heavy lifting on the story, a story that explores both grief recovery and a compelling small town mystery. The poetry sections are a core part of the story lest I imply otherwise, and they transport it to another level of depth and understanding. I found myself zooming through the story to get to the next bit of poetry, for not only the pleas ...more
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Things She's Seen was a beautifully written and well thought out story that has a slow start, but totally worth finishing for the ending.
So engrossed I read it in one sitting. What bed time?!
Michael Earp
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two narrators: a girl who's a ghost and a girl who's been through an epic fantasy ordeal and speaks in verse. I'm on board for this! This is a great crime mystery with a difference (obviously).
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really great blending of dreamtime storytelling and a modern day crime story.
Jamie Canaves
Super good and unique!

I was writing about upcoming crime novels for a post and the summary left me so curious I decided to just read the first chapter and, instead, I ended up reading it in one sitting. It was so good. It’s an Australian novel that follows Beth Teller, an Aboriginal girl who died at 15 and is now a ghost. A ghost that her father, a detective, can see. And talk to. She’s trying to help him solve a case involving a fire at a children’s home that left an unidentified dead body and
Oct 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This young adult Australian fiction novel is told from the alternate perspectives of Aboriginal teenage girls Beth Teller (in prose) and Isobel Catching (in poetry). Beth is working with her dad, a detective, on a mysterious case of a rural children's home that has burnt down - all the children safely escaped, but one adult body has been found in the wreckage and it's unclear whether the body was killed before or after the fire started. Beth is in fact dead though - she's a ghost who can only be ...more
Anna Davidson
It took a while to get into this story, but once I had a better idea of what was going on, I really enjoyed it and found myself racing to find out what happened in the end. The author's note at the end was very useful to read and would be worthwhile to unpack with students who have read the book. I loved the blend of dreaming story and a crime thriller. As a teacher librarian in a primary school, I'm conflicted about its inclusion in our library, given the heavy content. This is a book that I'm ...more
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent indigenous young adult novel. Fascinating mixture of thriller, story of loss/grief/tragedy, and indigenous history/storytelling. Written in prose and verse, using only two voices. You need to follow the story closely and remember everything you've read until the amazing conclusion.
Marie Davies
What a surprising gem that was recommended to me and I’m over the moon it was. Beautifully written and poignant. Definitely one of my favorites of 2018. A Must read.
"I'm not telling you what happened to ask for help," she said.

"Then why are you telling it?"

Catcher drew her legs up to her chest and rested her chin on her knees. "To be heard."

Clocking in at less than 200 pages, The Things She's Seen can easily be read in a day. But even if it were a longer book, it'd likely still be a one-sitting read for a lot of people; once the ball gets rolling, the mystery and the dual narratives are so compelling that most readers will want to gobble it right up in one
Stephanie Ward
4.5 Stars

I literally just finished this book and my mind is still reeling. There are so many layers to this story and important topics that are discussed - it felt a lot longer than it was. Not in a bad way either! I'll try to review it the best I can without going in circles or rambling. First, the setting was fantastic. It's set in Australia and part of the story deals with the discrimination against Aboriginals. I honestly never knew about this issue and I'm glad the author brought it to ligh
Out of the Bex
May 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
It took reading the author’s note to finally understand what this story was attempting to portray. Sadly, it was the story itself that failed to fulfill its purpose.

This book starts with very little to draw you in and never quite rectifies that mistake. There is not enough development or explanation to make the reader invested in what happens or who it happens to. It seems this work is trying hard to live up to its concept, but failing to include all the elements it needed to get there.

It can no
Steven Paulsen
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! Just wow! This book was amazing on so many levels. Marketed as YA but highly recommended to adult readers. It is a touching, thought provoking mystery/ghost story, but it is so much more than that. It’s about family, love, grief, and, last but not least, about the strength and endurance of aboriginal women and the impact of the stolen generation of children and the systemic and generational wrongs that were committed against Australia’s aboriginal people. But it doesn’t preach, rather it’s ...more
Mar 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Beth and her mother were both killed in a car accident, only her mother 'went on' and Beth stayed with her father. He can see and hear her, but knows she is dead. She is lingering to try and get him to back to the dad she knows and also solve some murders. Through the investigation, they encounter other ghosts that share their stories of abduction and abuse through sparse, almost poetic prose. There are no explicit details of the trauma these girls experienced, it is all described very metaphori ...more
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Ambelin Kwaymullina loves reading sci-fi/fantasy books, and has wanted to write a novel since she was six years old. She comes from the Palyku people of the Pilbara region of Western Australia. When not writing or reading she teaches law, illustrates picture books, and hangs out with her dogs.

“My science teacher said that just because two things happened together didn't mean one was because of the other, or as she put it: correlation does not imply causation.” 1 likes
“Her people and mine carry me into sleep.” 0 likes
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