Sadie Hartmann's Reviews > Seeing Things

Seeing Things by Sonora Taylor
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really liked it

I know I sound like a broken record to those who follow my reading journey but for the sake of those who might be reading one of my reviews for the first time, let me just say:
I love coming-of-age horror. I especially love a female protagonist coming-of-age horror story with delicious supernatural elements and paranormal activity.
SEEING THINGS by Sonora Taylor is about a young girl named, Abigail "Abby" Gillman. Around the same time she starts seeing some changes in her developing body, she begins seeing blood that nobody else can see. The mysterious blood leads her to ghosts or other important objects which usually spark some curiosity for Abby. This provokes her to start having some interesting conversations with the grown-ups in her life.
Man, this book has some serious ability to hook readers into the story immediately. Sonora Taylor has chops. She is an author on the rise. Her storytelling voice is so smooth and accessible, readers just fall right in step with whatever pace Taylor sets. I've read about a dozen or more of the author's short stories and this is an identifying, consistent attribute of her writing.
My favorite aspect of SEEING THINGS was this "it factor" that might be hard for me to describe, so just bear with me.
There's a moment in the story where Abby is going to go to her Uncle's for a while and this is something that is a regular part of Abby's childhood; going on these summer vacations to where her Uncle lives to spend time with him and her Aunt. Although this time, her Uncle is having some disruptions in his life with a job change and some marital issues. All of this information is filtered through Abby's perspective but also translated to the reader through adult conversations between Abby's parents.
This was magical for me.
I cannot explain to you how for several chapters in this book, I was having the most blissed-out reading experience of my life! I was in heaven, curled up on the couch with this book as the author set the stage for Abby to embark on a road trip with her folks to go stay in some seaside, beach town with her Uncle and help him do some low-key renovations of the childhood home he lives in.
It sounded like a childhood dream come true. And while I didn't have an Uncle in my life that I would go stay with like that, I could easily relate to the excitement of being able to spend a week or two away from my parents and get to go to summer camp or a school trip. Sonora Taylor captured all of these emotions so well.
I thought the supernatural gifts Abby experienced were a little underwhelming. At first, Abby seemed scared by all the things she was seeing, the blood and the dead people. But in almost no time at all, she appeared to make some quick adjustments and she's a regular expert on their comings and goings and not unsettled or scared by them. Quite the opposite in fact as she seemed to be in pursuit of them at times.
I wasn't sure that felt authentic to Abby's age but I did make an exception because mid-way through the book, as Abby's character deepens. She starts to come across as confrontational to the point of actually being aggressive and rude to people so I ultimately figured that she's just a unique, young girl that might not have any trouble with seeing dead people after all. In fact, I would even go as far as to say that Abby is a bit of a brat in some situations but this wasn't off-putting to the story. I have raised three kids and it's perfectly normal for kids to display huge amounts of maturity one moment and then throw a temper tantrum the next.
As the end drew closer, I began to feel like certain story developments were a bit rushed. The family dynamic changes pretty drastically and I felt cheated out of some of the more painful, intimate conversations/situations that would undoubtedly take place. Also some of the mysteries that come forward, begin to overlap. There's a tragedy at a summer camp involving some children and then another mystery about a girl named Claire and the two become entangled and slightly confusing.
The ending is fine, and even maybe left room for the author to pick up with Abby later in life, but I did feel like I wanted a few more chapters. I'm giving this book 4 full, glowing stars though because honestly, I had more fun reading this book than anything I've enjoyed as of late--it holds its own against all the other stand outs I've read this year.
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Reading Progress

July 7, 2020 – Started Reading
July 7, 2020 – Shelved
July 7, 2020 –
page 50
27.17% "Man, I love coming of age stories"
July 8, 2020 –
page 103
55.98% "Abby is kind of a brat 😂"
July 9, 2020 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Jerry (new)

Jerry Roth Good point about the ending...I want more :) Great review!


Sadie Hartmann Jerry wrote: "Good point about the ending...I want more :) Great review!"

Thanks, Jerry! I'm glad you enjoyed it.


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