I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Faerie by Eisha Marjara
Published by Arsenal Pulp Press on June 7, 2016
Genres: Depression & Mental Illness, Girls & Women, Literary
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A bold YA novel about a South Asian teenager struggling with anorexia.
Just days before her eighteenth birthday, Lila has resolved to end her life. The horror of becoming an adult, and leaving her childhood behind, has broken her heart.
Faerie, a novel for young people, is the fierce yet gently unfolding story of a hyper- imaginative girl who is on a collision course to womanhood. She likens herself to a half-human fairy creature who does not belong in the earthly world; but in the cold light of day she is a psychiatric patient at a hospital, where she is being treated for anorexia―her sickness driven by the irrational need to undo nature and thwart the passage of time.
Lila tells the story of how she ended up on the Four East wing: we flashback to her childhood in the '80s, growing up in a small town as an overweight brown kid to Punjabi immigrant parents: her father, a literary scholar whom she idolizes, and her mother, a housewife―"the most female of all females who found comfort in cooking." Faerie weaves these passages with Lila's downward spiral into life-threatening illness, her budding sexuality, and her complicated recovery in hospital that comes with a price. Written with candour and heartbreaking lyricism, Faerie is a plaintive love letter to the bold, flawed splendour that is childhood.
Faerie by Eisha Marjara could have been a powerful read. Dealing with an anorexic teen girl, Lila, and her desire to die before her eighteenth birthday should have made me an emotional wreck. Instead, I was annoyed with Lila’s whiny self-indulgence and the people around her perpetuating her disease. Lila is a patient at a hospital where they are attempting to help her overcome her eating disorder. Badly in my opinion. Never searching her room for hidden food yet wondering why she is not gaining weight. When another patient comes in and befriends Lila, they find solace and comfort in each other.
The plot of Faerie had such potential, however it never reached it as it did not focus on recovery, rather it focused on continued destruction. The writing of Eisha Marjara was good, she was able to detail a very real world in the hospital and in the emotions of Lila. Since the hospital was the only real location we saw, the world building was successful in incorporating it. The pacing was also a little off. Time would jump in uneven increments, so at times it was hard to determine just when we were at. This should have been a sob-fest with the subject matter, however I was never emotionally invested in the characters. The characters were very flat to me. All of the adults were useless and clueless and the teens were full of angst and self-pity. There was no one that I could attach to and it made for a trying read.
Faerie was not a bad read. I just expected more from the deep subject matter. Eisha Marjara was able to craft some very good scenes, they just did not contain the depth I was looking for. I may have a bias for certain storylines, as I believe they should be taken very seriously and used to teach a lesson and not just entertain. This to me was not a success as the lesson was not there.
Favorite lines – I could think of only one explanation: the persistent and petulant magic of melancholy, which burns more calories per hour than a workout or military drill, because unlike a rigorous thirty-minute cardio routine, it operates relentlessly. It makes the heart beat faster and harder night and day, asleep or awake, dead or alive.
Biggest cliché – But I’m not happy!
Have you read Faerie, or added it to your TBR?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 Debut Author Challenge
- 2016 Diverse Books Reading Challenge
- 2016 New Release Challenge
- Mount TBR Reading Challenge
- Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
- The Goodreads Challenge