Middle grade novels are special pieces of literature. If written correctly, these books can inspire a love of reading in older children and teenagers that will last a lifetime. These kinds of books are hard to come by, but every now and again you find a true gem that you feel the need to introduce others to and share your love for.
The Lonely Ones is one of those special types of books that will have an effect on anyone who reads it – even adults. It delivers a wonderful message of family and belonging, and it is a book that I believe everyone – both young and old – should definitely try to pick up and read at least once.
That being said, I’ve read the eARC for this book twice now, and I loved it even more the second time around. This is one of those books that I will definitely be getting a finished copy of and sharing with my daughters when they get a little older (and of course, so I can read it time and time again because it’s just that amazing).
Imagine feeling absolutely soul-crushing loneliness every day – your family is too busy to know you’re around, your friends are pretty much non-existent at this point, because everyone you thought you could rely on does nothing but hurt you or end up leaving you behind. That’s what our main character, Fain, feels every day – a sea of loneliness and emptiness, and like she doesn’t belong anywhere. She doesn’t bother talking to her family much these days, because she doesn’t see a point – no one ever pays attention to her, anyway.
“At first I thought
the people in my life were too busy
to the sound of my voice.
Eventually I realized that they didn’t hear me at all.”
Fain goes to school, she comes home, spends time alone because everyone is too busy for her – her dad is too busy looking for a job, her mother works all kinds of hours as a waitress to make ends meet, her brother is too busy with his own life, and her sister is too focused on friends and parties to notice her.
However, at night, Fain has special creatures (that she calls monsters) who come to see her and take her on all sorts of adventures – to the ocean, the jungle, even the moon – you name it, and they’ve shared it with her. They claim to come to her because she is lonely, and they want to try and fill in for everyone else and make her life feel more complete. At first, Fain loves these nighttime adventures, but eventually she starts to long for real, human companionship – friends at school, a boy she likes, and most of all, her family.
With drama at school, loneliness at home, and depression starting to sink in, Fain’s only escape from the world lies with her nighttime visits from her monsters and the strange adventures they take her on.
When a crisis strikes Fain’s family, they must learn how to either pull together and start noticing one another more, or risk losing everything.
The Lonely Ones is a different type of book because it is written entirely in verse. I don’t read too many books like this, so I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it when I started it, but now I can’t imagine this book being written in any other way. It was simply perfect, and I loved everything about it.
It’s such a powerful story that will speak not only to middle graders and teenagers, but to everyone. It will remind you of how powerful family and friendship is, and the value of spending time together and making memories that will always be important.
I simply cannot recommend this one enough. Since it’s written in verse, it’s a fairly quick read – it only took me about an hour, and was simply one of the best books I have read in a while – definitely one that won’t be forgotten.
About the Author
Kelsey Sutton is the author of teen novels SOME QUIET PLACE and GARDENIA. She is also the author of two novels for middle grade readers, THE LONELY ONES and BENJAMIN. She lives in Minnesota, where she received a dual bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from Bemidji State University. She is currently working on a master’s degree from Hamline University. Her work has received an Independent Publisher Book Award, an IndieFab Award, and was selected as a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013. When not writing, Kelsey can be found watching too much Netflix, ordering a mocha at the nearest coffee shop, or browsing a bookstore. You can like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @KelseyJSutton.
2 signed copies of The Lonely Ones by Kelsey Sutton, open to US and Canada.