Familiars and Foes, Helen Vivienne Fletcher
Adeline yearns for family, but for many years, since the death of her parents when she was a teenager, the closest she's gotten is her assistance dog, Coco. Adeline can also see ghosts. She has seen them all her life, off to the side as she goes about her days, never interacting, but always there. So you can imagine how shocked she is when a ghost speaks to her in the supermarket. And then a particularly malevolent one attacks here in her own home. Adeline also suffers severe epileptic seizures and her reactions to things around her, and people's reactions to her are often tempered by the seizures, which can be extreme, and unexpected by all, except her beloved companion Coco.
But things in her life definitely take a turn after the ghosts start to interact with her, from the reaching out by a blind woman in the park, to the use of service dogs and a childhood friend who it turns out always wanted a closer relationship, creating some lovely hopeful, touching light where there's darkness, hanging like a heavy cloud over the city of Wellington, seemingly centred around Adeline and her home.
I've been lucky enough to read quite a few of Helen Vivienne Fletcher's YA styled novels now and I have to say she's become a firm favourite YA author. All of her stories revolve around the "other" and the way that difference can be particularly empowering. The depictions of other often include the supernatural or the offbeat but at the core there's always a real life difference to consider. None of them are preachy or overt in their messaging, all of them are perfect, for young girls in particular, who feel like they don't fit in (although boys would get a lot from these stories as well). Each one of them has been perfectly crafted, short and rich with detail, experience, emotion and opportunities for connection and FAMILIARS AND FOES follows that pattern perfectly.
An old crush. A long-lost family member. A magical Labrador and a whole load of ghosts… At least Adeline can’t say life is boring!
Adeline yearns for family, but for years, the closest she’s gotten is her assistance dog, Coco.
When a frightening encounter with a ghost brings an old friend back into her life, it seems like Adeline’s about to find the companionship she’s been missing.
But her crush might have to wait. As the ghost’s smoky presence increases around Wellington, Adeline feels its hold on those around her tightening dangerously.
Will Adeline figure out the source of the ghostly smoke, or will her chance at happiness go up in flames?