UNSEELIE, by Ivelisse Housman, Inkyard Press; Original edition, Jan. 3, 2023, Hardcover, $18.99 (young adult)
An autistic changeling joins her twin on a hunt for treasure in Unseelie, the first book in a new duology by Ivelisse Housman.
Iselia “Seelie” Graygrove looks just like her twin, Isolde… but as an autistic changeling left in the human world by the fae as an infant, she has always known she is different. Seelie’s unpredictable magic makes it hard for her to fit in — and draws her and Isolde into the hunt for a fabled treasure. In a heist gone wrong, the sisters make some unexpected allies and find themselves unraveling a mystery that has its roots in the history of humans and fae alike.
Both sisters soon discover that the secrets of the faeries may be more valuable than any pile of gold and jewels. But can Seelie harness her magic in time to protect her sister and herself? —Synopsis provided by Inkyard Press
From the beginning of Unseelie, you know it’s different. Not only is the story unique, but there’s an authenticity to Ivelisse Housman’s writing that truly sets this novel apart.
Not only is Unseelie’s main character autistic, its author is, too. And though Seelie’s autism is never spelled out as such in the novel, those who read it will recognize and relate. And Seelie’s character is so lovely, that those who are unfamiliar with autism will enjoy her just as much.
While Seelie is the star of this show, Housman’s three main supporting characters — Isolde, Raze and Olani — show potential. It will be interesting to see how they develop in the sequel.
Unseelie reads like a classic fairy tale, and fits well into its cannon. Magical elements and the fae are sure to draw in readers and Housman’s accessible writing will have them turning pages to the end.
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