The Thing with Feathers

288p. Blink. Sept. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780310758518.
Gr 8 Up—Sixteen-year-old Emilie Day is epileptic, and her best friend is a seizure dog. Her mother and therapist think it's a good idea for Emilie to get out of her comfort zone (and pajamas) and start socializing with her peers, and so they force her to attend public school. Emilie is less than thrilled and has negotiated a 90-day trial period. On her first day of high school, her guide is the most popular boy in school, basketball star Chatham York. Once Emilie starts her classes, it becomes clear that she is very smart, and Chatham asks her to tutor him in English. Soon the protagonist begins to enjoy her time at school and develops a crush on Chatham. She's making friends but keeps them at a distance because she doesn't want to tell them about her epilepsy. Emilie's deception catches up to her, and she has to decide whether to hide or move forward. Hitch, Emilie's seizure dog, is trained to alert her if she's going to have a seizure and break her fall if she blacks out. Yet Emilie goes to school and appointments and hangs out with friends without Hitch. How is she allowed to attend school without him? While the book often relies on familiar tropes (she's secretly pretty and smart! The popular boy likes her! She makes peace with everything!), this title may find an audience.
VERDICT A secondary purchase for larger systems.

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