Format: ARC (thank you, Harper!)
Marlena Oliveira has—mysteriously, miraculously—been given the power to heal all kinds of ailments. People around the world believe she is a saint. But her power comes at a price: she can’t go to school, she can’t have friends her own age, and she certainly can’t date.
Then she meets Finn, a boy who makes her want to fall in love. For the first time, she begins to doubt whether her gift is worth all that she must give up to keep it.
THE HEALER is an emotional, well-written novel, and you need to pick this book up immediately! I haven’t seen many people talk about this book, but it is heartbreaking and definitely worth your time. This novel follows Marlena, who has a natural, almost magical, ability to heal. As a result, she is unable to live a life of a normal teenage girl and she strives towards that when she meets Finn, a graduate student who works at a nearby doctor’s office.
Marlena is a very relateable character – she feels trapped by her mother, by the hundreds of people who see her every week to get healed by her, and by her gift. When a nearby neurologist comes visit her, Marlena visits her office and meets Finn. Slowly, they fall in love, and Marlena struggles to figure out what she really wants out of life.
I will admit, the plot is rather slow, and it’s more about Marlena’s character development rather than action-packed scenes. Nonetheless, Freitas did a great job with flushing out all the characters in this novel, from the doctor, to Jose (her driver), to her mother, to her various acquaintances/friends. She’s a very complex character with complex emotions, and I really enjoyed reading about them. Additionally, Marlena and her mother are Portuguese, and I believe many other characters are POC, which I appreciated.
Overall, I think many people would appreciate this novel. It’s poignant and emotional and heartbreaking and lyrical, and I look forward to Freita’s next novel. Marlena is a character you won’t forget and her love for Finn is one of the most uplifting romances I’ve read in a while.
Thank you to Harper for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Alice is an 19 year old college student who loves the oxford comma, television shows, and the company of dogs. She finds writing in the third person odd yet enjoyable. You can find her scrolling through Twitter, Instagram, and forever organizing her shelves on Goodreads.