Book Review: The Thing with Feathers by McCall Hoyle

Back in 2018, I read and thoroughly enjoyed McCall Hoyle’s second novel, Meet the Sky. A few months ago, her publisher, BlinkYA, was having a Kindle sale, and I managed to snag her debut novel, The Thing with Feathers. I’m happy to say I have absolutely no regrets for choosing this adorable novel as my first read of 2020!

What I Liked:

Relatable Main Character

Bookworm + Movie Nerd + Writer + Homebody = my kind of main character! ❤

Minus her epilepsy diagnosis, I related to Emilie on so many levels, especially her grief after losing a loved one. I feel that readers of all ages can find parts of themselves reflected in her.

Cast of Characters

The characters made this an interesting read that tackles diverse topics, such as disorders, the death of a parent, physically and emotionally abusive parents, and a parent running out on their family.

The characters also take part in non-stereotypical outlets and often remind our main character, Emilie, that we all have more in common than we think. My favorite side character has to be Ayla, who is artistic, blunt, and an excellent friend to Emilie.

Portrayal of Epilepsy

I’ve only read one other book that features a main character with epilepsy (When You Found Me by Shana Norris), and this book’s portrayal of epilepsy seems to be accurate compared to the other book. While this book doesn’t go far into showing epilepsy in action, it does an excellent job in processing the emotional side of the diagnosis.

Interesting Subplots

I feel that the author balances the main plot extremely well along with four subplots. Each subplot is attention-grabbing and made for an addictive, page-turning read. All of the subplots resolve in a satisfying way for me, except the plot line following Cindy’s family. I wish readers received more information on their situation, as it left me with cliff-hanger vibes. I’m not sure if there will ever be a sequel to this novel, but as far as I know it is meant to be a standalone.

Highly Quotable

There are so many beautiful nuggets and delicious writing in this book. Hoyle crafts YA with substance and flair. I hope she plans to release more books soon!


The Thing with Feathers is a beautifully crafted debut novel that is a must-read for fans of clean young adult fiction.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Talk to Me, Arrowheads!

BlinkYA is my favorite publisher of clean young adult fiction. Who is your favorite author repped by Blink? Let me know in the comments!

Aim high, stay strong, and always hit your mark.

-Allyson 😀

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As an author and blogger, my goal is to teach writers that there is a way to write realistic, thought-provoking, redemptive Christian fiction that honors God while not sugarcoating the realities of the world.