Fey Girl was a difficult book for me to review: the parts I loved I loved, and the parts I disliked, let's just say I really disliked. The characterization and mundane (non-supernatural) plotline are great and written in a voice I would go as far as to compare to John Green. However, in places where the story branches into philosophy, or the paranormal, it falls apart. 3.5 stars.
Chapter one was, for lack of a better description, off-putting. It is a detailed discussion of bird feeders and ecology, with no anchor (character, plotline) established. Unless ecology is of personal interest, I can not see most readers making it through. The beginning reads like a textbook existential crisis (but blatantly spelled out, instead of hid behind a storyline): stuff happens, people forget said stuff happened, soon all concrete evidence that said stuff happened is gone, and then your dead and said stuff is gone forever.
Chapter one: zero plot, zero real emotion. However for my dislike of chapter one, chapter two is much much better. It follows two boys and their girlfriends and the angst and drama that comes with falling in love. The writing is much smoother, and it is when writing the interactions between characters that the author really shines. The character descriptions (their personalities and nuances) are extremely well done and I finally saw the great lyrical style and voice I raved about in my previous Kevin Newman review.
The main character Jude falls in love with his friend's girlfriend and I really enjoyed the authors way of making you feel like you're there and of sympathy towards the characters. It's almost halfway through the book before anything paranormal happens, and I found that the author's description of any supernatural events lacked voice; it was more of an advancing of events.
The highlight of Fey Girl is the stylish portrayal of everyday events and conflicts. It was in these moments that the authors voice broke through. The supernatural and philosophical parts of the book felt too forced; politics/philosophy that the author wanted to work into the story were too thinly veiled and left the story feeling preachy.
If the same level of detail and emotion that described the non-supernatural events were worked into the paranormal parts of the book, and the first chapter revised or omitted, Fey Girl would be a great read.