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.
Natalie just wants to be normal, but with her diagnosis of schizophrenia after the incident last year, that's unlikely to happen. Her brother, David, won't let her live her life as a hermit upstairs in the attic all summer long so he gets her to tag along and accidentally audition for A Midsummer's Night Dream. There she comes across Lucas, who she remembers from her stay at Winter Oaks. He doesn't seem very happy to see her but that's fine with her; she just will focus on her new friends, Starla and Raine. As she tries to be more sociable like her doctor and parent's tell her to, she starts getting reckless and starts skipping her meds. Because what's one day without her meds? She'll just take them tomorrow.
I expected more out of The Form of Things Unknown than I received. I recently reviewed another book with a boy who had schizophrenia and I felt the emotions more with that one. Here, I honestly don't know if she had a mental illness or if drugs and certain events make her think she does. I couldn't see where the doctors could have said she had schizophrenia especially after the reveal in the end which really took out a large part of why I wanted to read this story.
The story takes place in the town of her grandmother who has schizophrenia as well. The family moved into her house to take care of her after her husband died. It was a really tough time for all of them especially when she acted like they were the enemy. I thought it would have been great if the story elaborated more on what it meant to have that fear of passing on a mental illness like schizophrenia. It was only mentioned once as a side note.
|Titania Sleeping Illustrated by Arthur Rackham|
Another really big part of the story other than Natalie dealing with her mental illness, is her acting in A Midsummer's Night Dream. She was cast as Titania and becomes really close with Lucas, Raine, and Starla that way. Her brother, David, is also in the play. He's there for Colton who he has a major crush on. (A weird thing with David is that he hasn't come out. And the way the mother acts when she hears something about it was so awkward and weird.) Natalie starts partying with her new friends at night as they search for the ghost she starts to see signs of everywhere in the theater. I liked the plot of the story. I enjoyed reading about the characters learning their lines and practicing their parts. Those were the best moments.
Natalie makes bad decisions right away which makes sense based on her past. I would have thought she would have stopped all those bad habits but people make mistakes. I always felt bad for Natalie when she would put herself down. Most of it was because she wanted to be normal but the anxieties she had are what everyone has like people talking about her or feeling like she wasn't good enough. I liked Natalie and the various characters especially Lucas but to a point. The way the story was going along and written always threw me off to what have could have been a great read.
Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington for providing me with The Form of Things Unknown in exchange for an honest review!