cover image The Healer

The Healer

Donna Freitas. HarperTeen, $16.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-266211-8

With a deep sense of longing and a beautiful coming-of-age undercurrent, Freitas (The Body Market), a PW contributor, presents a stark and emotional tale about growing up as a saint. Marlena Oliveira’s entire life has centered on her identity as a Healer. Her touch has the power to cure a variety of afflictions, but she has grown up sheltered, homeschooled, and friendless, forbidden to touch others lest it damage her ability. Her existence has consisted of portraying a saintly image and meeting with the weekly audiences her mother sets up. Now 18, she begins to visit a neuroscientist, Angela, who’s interested in studying her brain—visits that begin as small rebellions quickly give way to a world of text messaging, bikinis, and boys, including Finn, a young graduate student who captivates Marlena with his intelligence and his smile. Yet Marlena knows that her desire to live a normal life is completely at odds with the responsibilities of her gift, leaving her feeling isolated and stuck. This delicately crafted, heartfelt novel speaks to the rewards and challenges of creating one’s own identity. Ages 13–up. [em]Agent: Miriam Altshuler, DeFiore & Co. (Oct.) [/em]