Title: The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Romance
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Natalie Roman isn’t much for the spotlight. But performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream in a stately old theatre in Savannah, Georgia, beats sitting alone replaying mistakes made in Athens. Fairy queens and magic on stage, maybe a few scary stories backstage. And no one in the cast knows her backstory.
Except for Lucas—he was in the psych ward, too. He won’t even meet her eye. But Nat doesn’t need him. She’s making friends with girls, girls who like horror movies and Ouija boards, who can hide their liquor in Coke bottles and laugh at the theater’s ghosts. Natalie can keep up. She can adapt. And if she skips her meds once or twice so they don’t interfere with her partying, it won’t be a problem. She just needs to keep her wits about her.
Honest, nuanced, and bittersweet, The Form of Things Unknown explores the shadows that haunt even the truest hearts . . . and the sparks that set them free.
The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges is a credible depiction of a teenager’s struggles to be “normal” despite her diagnosis of schizophrenia. This young adult novel also has a bit of a mystery element along with a hint of romance.
Natalie Roman and her family have recently relocated to Savannah to take care of her grandmother who also suffers from schizophrenia. Grateful for the new beginning, Natalie lets her brother David talk her into trying out for the summer production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. However, she is quickly dismayed when she recognizes one of the cast members Lucas Grant. She and Lucas were both recently receiving treatment at the same metal health facility and she would rather keep this information to herself for the time being. Her worries appear to be unfounded when Lucas continues to ignore her and Natalie is befriended by cast members Raine and Starla. Amid rumors the theater is haunted, the three girls delight in exploring the theater for spirits but after a few ghostly encounters, Natalie wonders if what she is seeing is real or delusions caused by her schizophrenia.
In many ways, Natalie is a typical teen who makes questionable decisions due to her immaturity. She does not want to cause any problems for her parents who are struggling to care for her grandmother and the stress from their recent move. She does have an excellent relationship with David and their interactions are a wonderful blend of teasing and concern for each other’s well being. Natalie’s desire to keep schizophrenia under wraps is understandable, but in an effort to fit in with her new friends, she makes some very unwise decisions that could lead to a worsening of her symptoms. When these choices lead to trouble, her parents remain supportive but still manage to emphasize the importance of managing her health responsibly.
The secondary story arcs with Natalie’s new friends, the ghost stories and an unexpected romance with Lucas are skillfully interwoven into the main plot. Raine and Starla are also normal teens but their budding friendship is full of peer pressure that leads to Natalie making some stupid decisions that jeopardize her health. The mystery surrounding the ghostly manifestations at the theater is interesting and it is impossible to tell if these sightings are real or part of Natalie’s delusions. There is also a slight romantic element which involves Natalie and Lucas and although their romance is not the main focus of the story, it does play a pivotal role in a major plotline.
The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges is a fast-paced and engaging young adult novel. The characters are multi-faceted with true to life frailties that are realistically portryaed and easy to relate to. The teenagers’ thoughts and actions mimic real life and although they make questionable decisions with predictable outcomes, they are sympathetic and likable. The overall plot is compelling and the various storylines are fully resolved by the novel’s conclusion. All in all, it is a wonderful novel that readers of all ages are sure to enjoy.