I can’t weep. I can’t fear. I’ve grown talented at pretending.
Elizabeth Caldwell doesn’t feel emotions . . . she sees them. Longing, Shame, and Courage materialize around her classmates. Fury and Resentment appear in her dysfunctional home. They’ve all given up on Elizabeth because she doesn’t succumb to their touch. All, that is, save one—Fear. He’s intrigued by her, as desperate to understand the accident that changed Elizabeth’s life as she is herself.
Elizabeth and Fear both sense that the key to her past is hidden in the dream paintings she hides in the family barn. But a shadowy menace has begun to stalk her, and try as she might, Elizabeth can barely avoid the brutality of her life long enough to uncover the truth about herself. When it matters most, will she be able to rely on Fear to save her?
This was an interesting little read that stayed with me a long time after putting the book down.
Considering how ‘internal’ the best books often are it was a brave choice to write about a young woman who doesn’t really have an interior. Elizabeth Caldwell feels nothing, not when she’s bullied at school, not when her father assaults her or her mother rejects her. But she may not be so emotionless as she thinks she is, and her lack of emotion hides a secret.
The writing is curious. Without the standard fallback of referring to character emotion it could feel very sparse and empty, but that worked very well in terms of the character we were getting to know. And as Elizabeth began to feel things, we got a good sense of the fear, confusion and denial such an event would cause.
If I can find a fault with this it’s that it’s a very slight story. The things of most interest to me – the mystery of Elizabeth, why she can feel emotions but not see them – are often ignored in favour of recounting bleak, horrible things one after anohter. Things that we don’t care about, because our main character doesn’t care about it. It seemed to take too long to get to the climax, and much of the book was full up of a love triangle. Which is weird, right? This is a book about a girl that can’t feel, and there’s a love triangle. I suppose they’re necessary in YA books these days.
The ending was sufficiently interesting and it tied our facts together, and I remain enamoured of a world where emotions have sentience and form.
(Though, can I just point out that this is a book where a young woman is LITERALLY emotionless until she gets the help of a man? OK, done, pointed out)
3 out of 5.