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The Form of Things Unknown

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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 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 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 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.


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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 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 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 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.

30 review for The Form of Things Unknown

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Elizabeth

    (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley.) “Yes, I’m taking my pills! Do we have to go through this again?” This was a contemporary story about a girl who had briefly been admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Natalie was an okay character, and it must have been hard for her to worry so much about whether she was experiencing hallucinations all the time. She should maybe have made more of an effort to take (Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley.) “Yes, I’m taking my pills! Do we have to go through this again?” This was a contemporary story about a girl who had briefly been admitted to a psychiatric hospital. Natalie was an okay character, and it must have been hard for her to worry so much about whether she was experiencing hallucinations all the time. She should maybe have made more of an effort to take her pills correctly though. The storyline in this was about Natalie taking part in a theatre group, with a little bit of mystery over exactly what happened to her to land her in a psychiatric hospital. We also got a little bit of romance between Natalie and a boy who she had met in the hospital, a grandma with schizophrenia, a gay brother who hadn’t come out to his parents yet, and possible ghosts in the theatre. I did find my attention wavered at around the 40% mark though, and the book seemed to drag a bit from there. The ending to this was okay, and it was nice that the truth came out in the end. 6 out of 10

  2. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    Natalie Roman just wants her life to return to normal after her brief time in a psych ward. Her ex had given her drugs and that was a bad combination with the mental history problems in her family. Now she maintains her meds and wants to put it all past her and start fresh after her family moves to Savannah, Georgia to care for her grandmother. Natalie's brother talks her into auditioning for a play over the summer where she manages to get cast in a good part and make a few friends. Along with g Natalie Roman just wants her life to return to normal after her brief time in a psych ward. Her ex had given her drugs and that was a bad combination with the mental history problems in her family. Now she maintains her meds and wants to put it all past her and start fresh after her family moves to Savannah, Georgia to care for her grandmother. Natalie's brother talks her into auditioning for a play over the summer where she manages to get cast in a good part and make a few friends. Along with getting to know a few of the local girls though Natalie finds that a boy from the psych ward is also involved in the play and she hopes he doesn't spill her secret. The Form of Things Unknown covers a lot of different things but mostly it centers around mental health as the story focuses on Natalie's struggles with her own sanity when she thinks she begins seeing things. It's touching to see her questioning everything around her after what she had been through but I still had a few issues with this one. Mainly I'd say what brought this one down a bit for me was the fact that even though I know Natalie wants to be a "normal" teen while managing her health I was a bit put off when she immediately begins drinking and doing other things with the new friends. The ex is so horrible for giving her drugs but her she is falling into the same traps again. Also, the ending to this one seemed a bit rushed once you find out what had been going on all summer. Sort of a here's the big reveal you can stop caring about these characters now moment instead of a nice steady wrap up. I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. For more reviews please visit https://carriesbookreviews.wordpress....

  3. 5 out of 5

    Stacee

    It's the day after I've read it and I still don't know how to rate or review this book. I have decided on 3 stars, but I'm still undecided on if it's too high. What I liked: -The open discussion about schizophrenia within Natalie's family. No one was trying to hide the family history or keep anything from Natalie regarding her possible future or her health. Same for Lucas discussing what happened with him. -The setting. I'm a sucker for books set in the south and the theatre was described so awesom It's the day after I've read it and I still don't know how to rate or review this book. I have decided on 3 stars, but I'm still undecided on if it's too high. What I liked: -The open discussion about schizophrenia within Natalie's family. No one was trying to hide the family history or keep anything from Natalie regarding her possible future or her health. Same for Lucas discussing what happened with him. -The setting. I'm a sucker for books set in the south and the theatre was described so awesomely -The sweet moments between Natalie and Lucas and every scene that Caitlin was in. What I didn't like: -Her amazingly shiteous friends -What the reveal was -The seemingly abrupt ending The formatting of the e-arc was a bit odd. It was long passages without paragraphs or short cut off dialogue. I don't know if that was on purpose to show how unstable Natalie was, but it didn't translate well and it annoyed me for a majority of my reading. Overall, I was interested in knowing what happened, but there were plot points that didn't make sense to me. I understood some of Natalie's choices, but not many of them and I struggled to root for her while she dealt with the repercussions. Sadly, there was something missing that kept me from being able to love love love this book, which is what I was expecting. **Huge thanks to Kensington and NetGalley for providing the arc in exchange for an honest review**

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bee

    The twins are called Hailey and Bailey. Really? Only one letter differentiates them. This literally pains me.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dilushani Jayalath

    *Kindly received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* So this is one of the actually nice books you find in Netgalley. The story started out pretty nice and interesting. The whole supernatural thing was plus point for me. I was really expecting Lily to come help out Lucas and Nat. But boy wasn't I wrong. I really liked Natalie. She was sweet and obviously has done her fair share of stupid teenage stuff and she has deftly paid for it too. I liked how she got a chance to start a *Kindly received an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* So this is one of the actually nice books you find in Netgalley. The story started out pretty nice and interesting. The whole supernatural thing was plus point for me. I was really expecting Lily to come help out Lucas and Nat. But boy wasn't I wrong. I really liked Natalie. She was sweet and obviously has done her fair share of stupid teenage stuff and she has deftly paid for it too. I liked how she got a chance to start a new life. Not everyone gets that privilege. I loved David and how her family actually cared for her and surprisingly I loved Grandma Judith too. Lucas was nice. I guess this is one of this rare times I actually like the girl in a New Adult book rather than the guy because Lucas was just that. Nice. Other than that he was average. And I liked that. I liked that the book concentrated more on finding Natalie's problems and solving them without adding extra problems of their relationship into it. I liked their sweet and slow romance. The ending was the reason I knocked off one star. It was not what I expected and after the suspense in the beginning and the middle, it felt like the story fell short after that ending. It was kind of saddening also. Still the story was nice and it was cute to read it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Karina

    Rating: 3.75 / 5 stars “The lunatic, the lover and the poet Are of imagination all compact: One sees more devils than vast hell can hold, That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic, Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt: The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling, Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven; And as imagination bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing A local habitation and a name. -Theseus, A Midsummer Night’s Dr Rating: 3.75 / 5 stars “The lunatic, the lover and the poet Are of imagination all compact: One sees more devils than vast hell can hold, That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic, Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt: The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling, Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven; And as imagination bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing A local habitation and a name. -Theseus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, act 5, scene 1 This book is my second read from Robin Bridges. I have read Dreaming of Antigone, which is a companion of this novel. The Form of Things Unknown is a story of one of Andria’s – from Dreaming of Antigone – friend. Though there’s no need to read Dreaming of Antigone first before reading The Form of Things Unknown. If Dreaming of Antigone is a retelling of Antigone which is related to Greek mythology, The Form of Things Unknown is a retelling of The Midsummer Night’s Dream, a play written by William Shakespeare. I liked both stories but I enjoyed The Form of Things Unknown more. The first thing I noticed and liked is how Robin Bridges discussed mental-illness. It’s the same on what she did with Dreaming of Antigone. Miss Robin Bridges’ way of talking about mental issues – the story behind those, how they are triggered, what are some effects, some do’s and don’ts – and the way she portrays it is great. From the very beginning, you’ll immediately see and feel that this isn’t just a story of a “normal” teenager. You’ll see her life - the way she think, the way she act, what she had become, the effect of this illness. Another thing is the family dynamics. Natalie’s family is far from perfect. Her Grandmother has schizophrenia. David - Natalie’s older brother - is gay but he’s not out yet. Natalie herself has a mental problem and at times, having hallucinations. So her parents need to deal with all of this altogether. The family is open when it comes to the mental-illness that some of them have or may have. And their family is strong. They bend, but they do not break. I definitely enjoyed that Nat and his brother are in a theater play. I barely know anything about theater and the life behind those curtains. And this book showed and thought me so many things which I truly enjoyed. There were times when while I was in a theater at our uni, I always think of this book. I can picture the people of this book in the stage. Every scene, the set, the characters; I imagined them all as real simply because Robin Bridges made me felt that they were. The characters at first were just okay but I eventually liked some of them. Each has a story to tell, though I can’t say that they all caught my interest. The romance in this book isn’t one like the romance I always encounter in a book, especially with a book that talks about mental issues. I like how the story isn’t just focused on the romance. Instead, it is still focused on Nat and her life, on how she needs to fix some certain issues in her life on her own. Lucas is just the same. He also has some certain issues that he needs to fix on his own. And I love how Miss Robin Bridges did not use their relationship to be a “cure” to their problems. I like how realistic the story went. Robin Bridges showed that “love” isn’t the cure to make your life better and your mental health stable unlike some other authors do. The book was ended in a way I was really not expecting. The revelation at the end spiced things up. The Form of Things Unknown made me wonder what’s real and what isn’t. I loved how a book can play with one’s mind and made her doubt everything. If things were real or not, you’ll struggle to know. The only weakness of this book is the writing. I find it hard to feel at some times. It feels so weak and it isn’t written in a way that can amaze or impressed me. It is the reason why I can’t say that I’ll definitely recommend it. The narration didn’t worked for me well, it’s the same thing happened on Dreaming of Antigone. Maybe the writing style is the thing that the author really needs to change or improve. But despite of this, I still liked and enjoyed the story, anyway. Overall, I still enjoyed it. It is a quick read. And I like how the author discussed some mental-issues. When it comes to discussions about mental issues, Robin Bridges is one of the persons I’ll be happy to talk with. And the characters from the Dreaming of Antigone to The Form of Things Unknown are really realistic and relatable. I am just not that fond of the writing style. It isn’t very well and not quite impressive. It’s just plain okay. The crazy is still there, right under the surface.

  7. 4 out of 5

    PinkAmy loves books, cats and naps

    GRADE: A- When Natalie tries out for a summer play with her brother, she doesn't expect to see Lucas, another former patient from the psych hospital. She doesn't expect to see ghosts in the rumored-to-be-haunted old theater either, especially since she's taking medication to control her hallucinations. Are they real, or is her mind playing tricks? Robin Bridges does a masterful job weaving diversity and nuance into THE FORM OF THINGS UNKNOWN from a history of mental illness in families to the diff GRADE: A- When Natalie tries out for a summer play with her brother, she doesn't expect to see Lucas, another former patient from the psych hospital. She doesn't expect to see ghosts in the rumored-to-be-haunted old theater either, especially since she's taking medication to control her hallucinations. Are they real, or is her mind playing tricks? Robin Bridges does a masterful job weaving diversity and nuance into THE FORM OF THINGS UNKNOWN from a history of mental illness in families to the difficulty balancing Natalie's meds with the side effects to her semi-closeted brother's budding romance to the impact of grief to the dangers of drugs. Bridges seamlessly weaves so many subtleties into the characters and plots. Natalie has so many dimensions, a good kid who didn't always make wise choices, just like most teens. Empathic with boundaries, she had appropriate limits to her understanding. She always tried to make good decisions, but her desires to fit in and be a "normal" teen sometimes won out. I loved her brother and family. Her grandmother's often unmediated schizophrenia was particularly well written. Lucas was more of a flatter character, but also quite likable. Bridges writing felt like the authentic voice of a teenager. My only criticism is the ending and resolution to the ghost story felt too contrived and almost like a cop out compared to the quality of the novel, which prevented me from giving THE FORM OF THINGS UNKNOWN 5 stars. THEMES: mental illness, depression, suicide, family, parents, grandparents, siblings, grief, drugs, alcohol, LGBT I received this novel from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Melinda Howard

    *This book was received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* This was a really good book that dealt with mental illness in an honest and heart-warming fashion. One thing that stuck with me and really resonated was the difficulty of proving something when it's one person's word against another. This is even harder when you've been diagnosed with a mental illness as not only do people no longer trust your judgement but other people's opinions can start to make you question your own sanit *This book was received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* This was a really good book that dealt with mental illness in an honest and heart-warming fashion. One thing that stuck with me and really resonated was the difficulty of proving something when it's one person's word against another. This is even harder when you've been diagnosed with a mental illness as not only do people no longer trust your judgement but other people's opinions can start to make you question your own sanity even more. I loved all the characters except for Starla and Raine but by far my favourite character was Natalie's Granny. Overall this was a really good book about mental illness, the road to recovery and theatre.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Abbie

    (I received a copy from Netgalley, In exchange for an honest review.) I didn't love the main character in this, but she was okay. This was an alright read, but I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. There were a few times where it started to lose my interest a bit, and there was quite a chunk of it that dragged for me unfortunately. Overall, An okay read, but not as good as I was expecting.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sarah E.

    I was gifted this ebook via Netgalley. Actual rating: 3.5 stars Although not officially stated anywhere, this is the companion novel to Dreaming of Antigone. Natalie has moved away from Athens to Savannah, GA, and has joined a summer theater program. This story takes place after an incident that put her in a mental institution and her family had to move to take care of Natalie's schizophrenic grandmother. The story itself isn't too bad, but I feel like there wasn't enough development there. I feel I was gifted this ebook via Netgalley. Actual rating: 3.5 stars Although not officially stated anywhere, this is the companion novel to Dreaming of Antigone. Natalie has moved away from Athens to Savannah, GA, and has joined a summer theater program. This story takes place after an incident that put her in a mental institution and her family had to move to take care of Natalie's schizophrenic grandmother. The story itself isn't too bad, but I feel like there wasn't enough development there. I feel like I blinked my eyes and then suddenly two characters that were barely having any chemistry were groping each other. The paranormal storyline was strange too and then seemed too outlandish to have happened like it did in the first place. I really like Natalie as a character, but feel she deserved better. Her story could have been better.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cristina (My Tiny Obsessions)

    Read full review HERE I will start by saying that I did not read the first book set in this universe, Dreaming of Antigone, but I honestly didn’t feel like I had any problems from not having read that one. Maybe if I had, though, I wouldn’t have requested this one… Unfortunately I couldn’t connect with the writing style of this book, I felt like it was abrupt and it skipped over details and situations. I couldn’t emotionally connect and I couldn’t envision some of the scenes. I mean, sometimes sim Read full review HERE I will start by saying that I did not read the first book set in this universe, Dreaming of Antigone, but I honestly didn’t feel like I had any problems from not having read that one. Maybe if I had, though, I wouldn’t have requested this one… Unfortunately I couldn’t connect with the writing style of this book, I felt like it was abrupt and it skipped over details and situations. I couldn’t emotionally connect and I couldn’t envision some of the scenes. I mean, sometimes simple things like an embrace were complicated for me to “see”, because I couldn’t understand how she can reach on her tiptoes to kiss the guy, if they were lying down the second before… With this said, this book had a LOT of continuity problems. Still, I had hope! Both main characters are supposedly dealing with 2 serious mental illnesses, schizophrenia and depression (with a suicide attempt), and yet the representation of both in this book is very poorly done. To be honest, by the end of the book I couldn’t really tell you if Natalie really was schizophrenic, or if Lucas was better, because even though the subjects are talked about plenty, they are not discussed. The illnesses are just used as plot devices and I hated that. Sorry to be the bearer of more bad news, but I kind of disliked all the characters in this book too. Nat… I don’t even know what to make of her! This is a girl who thinks that fitting in and getting drunk is more important that taking her meds… after she ended up committed because she was drinking and doing drugs, and ended up having one episode. Then at some point she goes to her doctor to up her dosage… what does she do the next day? Yep, she drinks like crazy again. I just can’t… sorry but no! The rest of the characters had no depth at all, and they all had attitudes that left me at least a little baffled. Her brother David, who seemed cool at start, doubts his sister at every turn. I don’t get it. The supposed “friends”? How did they go from totally unknown people to “friends”? There was no development of characters or relationships in this book. NONE! So, how about Lucas? I usually always like the romantic interest, so I should like Lucas, right? Well, I did… to some extent. He was sweet and attentive and all, but I finished the book and those, and his eyes and hair colour, would be the only things I could tell you about the guy. The romance was weak! They were never friends… they go from strangers to totally in love, and I don’t know why, because they never talked at all. Why were so into each other? Did they have anything in common besides spending some time in the same place? No clue! Overall I though that every single bit of this book had potential: the characters, plot and relationships, but everything fell short and lacked depth. It really wasn’t for me, unfortunately.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cátia

    For more reviews click HERE Actual Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars *I was provided a copy by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review A few months ago I read Dreaming of Antigone and I really liked that book. It had a few problems but overall I liked it. In that book we were introduced to Natalie who was the main character in The Form of Things Unknown. Because Natalie was a side characters in Dreaming of Antigone I only knew a few things about her and I didn’t know the full story. W For more reviews click HERE Actual Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars *I was provided a copy by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review A few months ago I read Dreaming of Antigone and I really liked that book. It had a few problems but overall I liked it. In that book we were introduced to Natalie who was the main character in The Form of Things Unknown. Because Natalie was a side characters in Dreaming of Antigone I only knew a few things about her and I didn’t know the full story. Well, let me tell you that The Form of Things Unknown is quite different from that Natalie but mostly because of something that happened to her after the first book. That was one of my main problems in this book. I didn’t like Natalie at all and I didn’t like what she was doing. Right in the beginning of the book we learnt that Natalie has mental health problems and she takes meds because of that. Being new in town she tries to hide from everyone else her problems and does some stupid things just to look normal (like drink and not take her meds when she might be having schizophrenic episodes). That was just wrong for me. I really didn’t like her in this book. I didn’t like her but I didn’t like the other characters at all. The only one I kind of liked was Luke, the love interest. He was super cute but we don’t even learn that much about him in the book. We just know Natalie likes him and he likes her but we don’t know why because we barely see them talking. The other characters were just terrible. They were all terrible friends and I didn’t like them at all. And don’t even make me talk about Natalie’s brother because he was a terrible older brother. He didn’t care about his sister at all. Most of the times he only cared about his boyfriend and when something bad happened to Natalie he didn’t even believe her. He didn’t believe the person that he has known for years and instead he believes in a girl that he has known for about a year. It was screwed up. Not only I didn’t like the characters but I also had a few problems with the writing. It was a little bit confusing sometimes and I was constantly coming back to a certain sentence to try to understand what was happening. The good thing about this book is that at one point I was super invested in the story and couldn’t stop reading it. Unfortunately this book was kind of disappointment to me. I would love to say that I loved it because I really liked Dreaming of Antigone but this one wasn’t that as good as the first one. I don’t think I can recommend this book but if you’re interested in the blurb go on and read it. You might enjoy it.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Romance Readers Retreat

    3.5 Stars After reading Bridges' Dreaming of Antigone, I jumped at the chance to read more from the author and I really enjoyed this book although not as much as the first. This book deals with quite a lot: mental illness, underage drinking, peer pressure, and maybe even a touch of paranormal. This book focuses on the life of Natalie Roman as her family moves in to take care of her schizophrenic grandmother. Natalie has just had her own stint in the psych hospital following hallucinations due to 3.5 Stars After reading Bridges' Dreaming of Antigone, I jumped at the chance to read more from the author and I really enjoyed this book although not as much as the first. This book deals with quite a lot: mental illness, underage drinking, peer pressure, and maybe even a touch of paranormal. This book focuses on the life of Natalie Roman as her family moves in to take care of her schizophrenic grandmother. Natalie has just had her own stint in the psych hospital following hallucinations due to her ex boyfriend slipping her some ecstasy. Still trying to come to terms with her health, she just wants a fresh start in this new city. When her brother David convinces her to audition for a part in the Midsummer Night's Dream production, she quickly makes new friends. The only problem is Lucas. He is in the same group of friends she makes but he was also in the psych ward with her. She doesn't want everyone to know her secret. She is afraid of what her new friends would think about her mental breakdown and the fact that she is still on medication for it. What makes this story even more interesting is that while trying to fit into her new circle of friends, she consumes alcohol and does things that could compromise her medication. So when strange things start happening at the supposedly haunted theater, she starts questioning her sanity and wondering what's real and what isn't. Is it a ghost or is she hallucinating again? This book had some great secondary characters like Natalie's kooky schizophrenic grandmother and Lucas''s kid sister Caitlyn. They both are guaranteed to make you smile and laugh and were an overall great addition to the story. I enjoyed Lucas and Natalie and while there wasn't a whole lot of romance in this book, I loved their connection. This book paints a very vivid image of what living with a mental illness is like. Natalie's paranoia and anxiety over her 'hallucinations' is very well written by the author and you just want to empathize with her. This book was very much a psychological mystery and will definitely be a hit with the YA crowd. I can't wait to read more from the author.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

    I was provided a copy via Net Galley. Natalie had to spend time in a mental hospital after she started having hallucinations. After leaving the hospital her family moves in with her Grandma who has schizophrenia. Her brother persuades her to try out for the summer play; A Midsummer's Night Dream. But Natalie starts seeing ghosts at the theatre. I really enjoyed this book and I thought that the author dealt with mental illness in a really good way. The way that it was dealt with made it seem real I was provided a copy via Net Galley. Natalie had to spend time in a mental hospital after she started having hallucinations. After leaving the hospital her family moves in with her Grandma who has schizophrenia. Her brother persuades her to try out for the summer play; A Midsummer's Night Dream. But Natalie starts seeing ghosts at the theatre. I really enjoyed this book and I thought that the author dealt with mental illness in a really good way. The way that it was dealt with made it seem realistic and I think it did a good job of portraying what it is like to live with a mental illness. I enjoyed the romance in this book as it was a slow building romance. I also like that the romance wasn't used as a 'cure' for the mental illness. I find a lot of books use the love interest as a way of making the character better but this is unrealistic and I felt that this relationship was a lot more realistic. The plot twist is a bit disappointing but it did surprise me as I had no idea that a particular character was going to end up like that. I wasn't a huge fan of the ghost storyline and I feel that the book would have still worked if this hadn't been included. Overall I really enjoyed this and I would recommend it. I can't wait to read more from the author in the future.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adriana

    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, Starl 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. The main problems for me were probably the pacing and the writing. I think there wasn't much time for me to get to know Natalie before the incident. I also felt like the way the story was told was a bit off. I couldn't feel anything for these characters. It was just a story without the substance I needed. Lucas, is a great source of this. Lucas actually was very interesting. As soon as I found out why he was at Winter Oaks I wanted to know more. I wanted to know why he was always frowning at Natalie. On top of that, he was such a great brother to his little sister so I wanted to get to know his character more. (Do you sense a theme?) When I finally got to know him there was a point where Natalie started thinking of him as someone she could potentially be with, and the way she imagined herself with him was way too forward and soon. The both of them just didn't work right with me when they became closer. 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!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Terri

    Review also found at http://kristineandterri.blogspot.ca/2... I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The expected publication date is August 30th, 2016. In today's world it is hard enough just being a teenage girl. Pile on top of that mental health issues in your family, the possibility of your own mental health issues and trying to keep it all a secret while trying to make friends and fitting in in a new city. This is where Nata Review also found at http://kristineandterri.blogspot.ca/2... I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. The expected publication date is August 30th, 2016. In today's world it is hard enough just being a teenage girl. Pile on top of that mental health issues in your family, the possibility of your own mental health issues and trying to keep it all a secret while trying to make friends and fitting in in a new city. This is where Natalie's journey begins. Written for the YA audience, this storyline sticks mainly to topics that those in that genre can identify with. For the most part clean, it does tell of things that teenagers can get involved in. What makes this story interesting is the fact that Natalie is attempting to fit in by doing all sorts of things that could compromise her health due to her medication and as a results start to doubts what is real and what isn't. While an extreme example, it does highlight the inner battle that goes through every teenage girl as they try to navigate the waters of social acceptance and inner acceptance. Trust me I know, I was a teenage girl once! Altogether an entertaining read that I think will be a hit with the YA crowd. Also, at the end of this story is a blurb for Bridge's other novel Dreaming of Antigone which I have also read. They seem to be loosely linked however I never made a connection so these stories are easily stand alones. Having enjoyed both, I will be keeping an eye out for her other work.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jess (the cozy reader)

    Big thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for an ARC copy for review. DNF at 35% The beginning was ok, but the pace seemed to slow and I started to lose interest halfway through. Unfortunately Natalie's journey just wasn't for me.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Desiree

    This is the second book I've read by this author...and I have a feeling it will be the last, at least for awhile. There were just so many things that rubbed me the wrong way with this one that the few bright spots just don't stand out. Things I didn't like: 1. Way too many characters. There are so many characters introduced in this little book (less than 230 pages) that it was impossible to keep them straight. None of them were fleshed out at all, and most of them were mentioned in passing and th This is the second book I've read by this author...and I have a feeling it will be the last, at least for awhile. There were just so many things that rubbed me the wrong way with this one that the few bright spots just don't stand out. Things I didn't like: 1. Way too many characters. There are so many characters introduced in this little book (less than 230 pages) that it was impossible to keep them straight. None of them were fleshed out at all, and most of them were mentioned in passing and then never heard from throughout the rest of the story until the very end. 2. Using mental illness and grief as a plot device. This was really poorly done with all the characters, but especially the Grandmother. In the early part of the book, she is shown in two or three scenes being completely unhinged, paranoid that her family and the government is trying to poison her, kill her, etc. Each time this happens we are told about how her grandma has had a rough time since her grandfather passed and that she stopped taking her meds. Then, about half way through the book, she miraculously has no more manic episodes. She's still quirky and says inappropriate things, but she appears perfectly lucid. I was thinking we would get a scene or even just a line saying that she's back on her meds...but nope. Also, what are the odds that Lucas and Natalie would be in the same psych hospital and then end up running in the same circles in Savannah? I mean, it's not a HUGE city, but there are well over 100,000 people living there...just saying...not very realistic. 3. Nat was unsympathetic. I'm sorry, but the synopsis of this book makes it sound like the big reveal is going to be that Caleb assaulted her in some way. Now, I'm not saying he is just a great guy who doesn't deserve any blame, she is responsible for her own actions. She made the decision that led to her breakdown. Also, the way she just ignored the risks of the side effect of her meds really annoyed me. If it'd been once, maybe...but over and over again? What an idiot. 4. The pacing. This story flew by, but not in a good way. It felt like the author was unable of taking her time with anything, letting moments breathe or have weight. As I said previously, the sheer volume of characters made it impossible to keep anyone straight. I needed more. More description, more backstory. More agency. 5. The romance. I actually didn't hate Lucas. I liked that he was just this young guy working his butt off to take care of his baby sister and grieving father. I liked the IDEA of Lucas and Natalie. But I don't feel like we really got to know him all THAT well. I also feel like their infatuation with each other kind of came out of nowhere. They had what...maybe two meaningful conversations before they started rubbing all over each other? 6. The friendships. Actually, the inauthentic friendships and romance circle right on back to the breakneck pacing in this book. There was no development of the characters. She literally meets them and two pages later they're buddies, hanging out getting drunk together...I just didn't buy the friendship. 7. Writing inconsistencies. There were several instances where Natalie would assert something that she'd previously denied. One example: earlier in the book, grandma wants David to fix up her old car so Natalie will have something to drive and Natalie thinks, "As much as I want a car of my own, I dread the idea of driving grandma's Jetta. I know she'll be expecting me to take her to Lord knows where." Then at the end of the book, she says, "I've been lusting after this car all summer. Even if it is a beat up four-door hatchback." There are other instances as well. It kind of felt like the author forgot what she wrote...should've been caught in editing. 8. Homosexuality used as plot device/character depth. The only thing...literally, the only thing, we know about David is that he's gay and he hasn't told his parents. At the end, when grandma outs him (wacky grandma alert!) the parents are just like, "Yeah, no biggie, we already knew that." When earlier in the book Natalie's mother made a huge deal out of the possibility that he may be gay. Which is another instance of inconsistent writing. 9. The ending. Again...comes back to the pacing. The ending is very abrupt. So many different things are going on that are just tied up in a matter of a couple pages. It felt like one of those 80s or 90s sitcoms where no matter how crazy things got, everything worked itself out at the end of 22 minutes. Things I liked: 1. Midsummer Night's Dream references 2. Lucas, although I needed to know more about him. Man, I guess I really disliked this. When I look back on this book and the companion book, Dreaming of Antigone, I really had most of the same issues with that book that I do with this one, but this one just took it to the next level.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Tamara

    I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I started reading this book, but I think I found it more interesting than I had anticipated. The book description fits the story well, so again . . . I'm not sure what I was expecting. There was a good balance of normal life, instability, and spookiness. It was less about two former psych patients and more about a few teens trying to navigate the trials resulting from some ba I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect when I started reading this book, but I think I found it more interesting than I had anticipated. The book description fits the story well, so again . . . I'm not sure what I was expecting. There was a good balance of normal life, instability, and spookiness. It was less about two former psych patients and more about a few teens trying to navigate the trials resulting from some bad decisions they made. Overall, I found the characters likable. Mostly. I was suspicious of (view spoiler)[Starla (hide spoiler)] , and rightly so. Natalie was unsure of herself in many ways, and her desire to fit in often made me want to shake her. She made some stupid decisions in an attempt to be liked. But she felt real, and she cared about people--she tried to be a good person, and I liked her. I find it odd that she was being treated for schizophrenia, though. Her "incident" had a rational explanation (though again, it was stupid decision): (view spoiler)[At a bonfire, she let her then-boyfriend, Caleb, convince her to try ecstasy. (hide spoiler)] So of course she was seeing things. Although now that I think about it, she did say that (view spoiler)[the tox screen at the hospital came up negative (hide spoiler)] . Still. Lucas was a genuinely good guy. While Natalie's parents carried a lot of the weight in her family (from Natalie's problem, her grandmother's issues, etc.), Lucas carried it in his family. His father was kind of mentally absent after his wife died, compounded by Lucas's time in Winter Oaks (the psych hospital where he met Natalie). So Lucas was left to take care of his sister and work two jobs. He was kind and tried to be understanding. I can see how what everyone called a suicide attempt might have been unintentional, though very stupid. (view spoiler)[His mom died. Starla, his then-girlfriend, broke up with him. He got very drunk. He was in pain (was it a headache? I can't remember) and took some of his mom's pain meds. The combination could have killed him. (hide spoiler)] Natalie's grandmother was quirky, though also a little bit unsettling. Supposedly she had schizophrenia, but you really don't see it in the book. All you see is a grumpy old woman who hasn't really finished mourning her husband and is unhappy about people moving in to take care of her. Okay, and she believes the government is out to get her. So there's that. But she's actually pretty funny. Natalie has a family that loves her, and she does know it. She has a good relationship with her parents and especially her brother. I appreciate that even though her parents' marriage is a bit strained by the changes (moving in with her grandmother, dealing with Natalie's issues), they don't just give up on each other. And you know what? I actually kind of liked Caleb when he was in the book. Don't mistake that for me thinking Natalie should have gone back to him. But he wasn't the horrible drug dealer ex-boyfriend I imagined him to be. He was actually . . . decent. Yes, he made stupid decisions like so many other people in the book. But he wasn't a bad guy, and I suspect his time in prison turned him around. (view spoiler)[He wanted to apologize to Natalie for what had happened. And when he saw that she was moving on, he didn't try to stop her. He actually helped her out by telling Lucas to go to her house. (hide spoiler)] The resolution to this book was good. Natalie confronted the people who had been behind so much of her trouble, but she wasn't malicious or spiteful about it. She stood up for herself on her own, though she had people supporting her. She became a stronger and more self assured person by the end of the book. My biggest complaint is that things went way too fast with Natalie and Lucas once they actually admitted they liked each other. Things build really slowly between them, and then suddenly she spends the night at his house. And all that implies. It seemed really . . . stupid. That combined with the two f words that were suddenly in the last 8% of the book (which contained very little swearing aside from that) deducted a 1/2 star from my rating. I was aware of one inconsistency: Natalie said her brother, David, came out to her during his senior year of high school. Their grandmother said David came out to her when he was 13, and Natalie said that was a whole year before she found out. So unless David was only 14 when he was a senior, those two things don't match up. How it ends: (view spoiler)[Starla plays a prank on Natalie, locking her in her dressing room, turning the lights off, and writing horrible things on the mirror in fake blood, trying to cause a mental breakdown. Natalie discovers that Starla was behind many of the things that made her doubt her sanity, though she can't prove all of them. While they're locked in the dressing room together, Starla screams for help from Mrs. Greene, Lucas, etc. and claims Natalie is trying to hurt her. Mrs. Green sends Natalie home and tells her that she's not in the play anymore. Lucas comforts Starla, though he doesn't really indicate whom he believes. Mrs. Green calls for Natalie's grandmother to pick her up. Caleb, who had shown up at the play for closure, shows up with Nat's grandmother, driving the broken-down Jetta, which he was able to fix (he had to learn a skill in prison and decided on mechanics). Natalie's grandmother convinces them to drive her to the beach, where she finds two sand dollars for her husband's grave (she had promised to bury him with one but was prevented because she was in the hospital). Caleb gives Natalie an envelope, asking her to read it later. (Btw, we never find out what's in the envelope.) He just needed closure. He also resounds to Lucas's millions of "where are you" texts to Natalie's phone (without her knowing), telling him that they needed to talk and to meet at her house. Natalie and Lucas make amends, and he wants her to believe in herself, take things a day at a time. They're together. Natalie goes to the dance, where she confronts Starla about all the things she had done. Starla admits that it was because everyone liked Natalie, including Lucas. That she had visited Lucas at Winter Oaks to try to get back together, but he had turned her down; Starla saw "the way" Lucas looked at Natalie (they weren't even really friends yet). So Starla was a "mean girl," which always drives me kind of crazy. (hide spoiler)] Note: A little swearing, but two f-words near the end. Implied sex (the scene changes quickly). Natalie's brother is gay and has a boyfriend, but they're not the focus of the story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Darleen

    » Review can also be found on Orchids & Amethysts. Title: The Form of Things Unknown Author: Robin Bridges Rating: 4/5 Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release. 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 o » Review can also be found on Orchids & Amethysts. Title: The Form of Things Unknown Author: Robin Bridges Rating: 4/5 Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release. 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. Alright, it's official: I am a huge Robin Bridges fan! I read Dreaming of Antigone a few months ago and had it declared as one of my favourite reads this year. I think my rating of it was lower, probably a 3.5, but I can't really say which one I liked better, having now also read The Form of Things Unknown. So I'll just tell you that both reads are worth four full stars. They deserve all the positive comments they get. Again, her love for poetic things is pretty obvious in this book. Never having read any of Shakespears plays before, I gotta admit, I found the way Robin Bridges included this, very enchanting. You'd think that a book in which the characters starr in a play is too childish, but nothing this author writes ever comes out as childish. Sweet and light, maybe, yes, but not childish. It can't be childish anyway, because the topic that gets described in this book is far too heavy. In a good way. I usually struggle with reading stories about mental illness. Most of the time, the characters either don't seen real to me, or the book itself bores me. I'd like to think that I wasn't too convinced The Form of Things Unknown would make me love the story because I knew what Robin Bridges was capable of. I'd rather believe that this story really capitivated me. And it did. So I am not even lying. What Nat was going through... It all had a spooky vibe to it and it was never too much to handle for the reader, because in the end, you never knew whether what she thought she saw and heard was real or not. But considering her past, you start doubting her without even wanting to. And by the end, maybe you'll even feel bad for thinking these things about her, because they make you no better than her so-called friends and what they did. I hope that's not a spoiler, but I am getting angry when it comes to bullying and that was what it was kinda about too. So, anyway... Nat's brother convices her to take part in a Shakespear play. Without really giving it much thought, she decides to at least go to the audition. That's where she spots Lucas. Lucas is a boy (hello, new book boyfriend!) who attend the same mental health clinic as her, called Winter Oaks. But while everybody in town basically knows that he was there, Nat and her family are new in town, so no one knows her secret, her past. When the director of the play matches her a role and Nat, her brother and their new friends start working at the theatre, Nat also starts to see things, hear things, that can't be there. When she finally admits it to the others, they think it's a ghost that haunts the theatre and they come up with meeting, trying to talk to the spirit or whatever it is. But things just won't go back to normal and while she and Lucas grow closer due to that, she feels like she's on the edge of losing it. As always, my "putting it in a nutshell" synopsis isn't the best and basically everything that can be read in the official blurb too. While Dreaming of Antigone concerned a heavy topic too, I think Robin Bridges took a step forward with this current work. Of course, there are still light scenes, funny scenes and romantic scenes too. Did I mention I loved Lucas?! He was such a nice character, oh my. And I really liked how the book didn't revolve around him, but we found out enough about his past. Also, the book kind of had a Pretty Little Liars vibe to it. I can't exactly explain why. I have never read these books, but I've seen a few seasons of the show and the mystic part of it reminded me of it. And then I think it was important that we didn't get to read about Nat's presence at Winter Oaks. The story started after she was sent there, when she was back at her new home in Savannah. So, if you're looking for an awesome read, I suggest you pick this one up. No, seriously. It's one of the best books about mental illness that I have ever read and the writing - especially Nat's thoughts (such a funny girl!) - is fabulous. I'm kinda sad the book wasn't longer, and I thought the ending, when Nat confronted her former friend (I won't say who), was a bit rushed. No bully gives in just like that. Would be nice if they did, but they don't. I can't read for the author's next book. Impatiently waiting!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mandy Armstrong

    Sometimes quick reads are worth it. Sometimes they are not worth it. This one is not worth it. Not sure what I was expecting considering I thought Dreaming of Antigone was also sub par.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    13 April 2020: $2.99 on Kindle 13 April 2020: $2.99 on Kindle

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cassie Johnson

    Too much idiot teen who is on medication and specifically SHOULD NOT be drinking alcohol (slightly more than teens in general) drinking alcohol to fit in. I hate it, so much.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Megan (Under the Book Cover)

    Review also posted at: http://underthebookcover.blogspot.com... 3/5 Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review! The Form of Things Unknown is a wonderful YA contemporary that deals with the topic of mental illness. Natalie and her family have moved from Athens to Savannah in order to take care of her grandmother who has schizophrenia. While the move has been difficult for Natalie, who has just recently spent time in Winter Oaks hospital du Review also posted at: http://underthebookcover.blogspot.com... 3/5 Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review! The Form of Things Unknown is a wonderful YA contemporary that deals with the topic of mental illness. Natalie and her family have moved from Athens to Savannah in order to take care of her grandmother who has schizophrenia. While the move has been difficult for Natalie, who has just recently spent time in Winter Oaks hospital due to a psychotic break, she decides to try and make the best of her summer and auditions for a play at the local theatre. There, she meets some new friends and reunites with someone from Winter Oaks- Lucas. Natalie is happy that she's able to make new friends, but now she skips out on her medication so that it doesn't interfere with her partying. Can she keep her wits about her or will she suffer another breakdown? This book was kind of out of character for me to read at this point in the year, as it is no longer Summer, but I couldn't resist a book that was not only set in Georgia but also about the theatre. The characters were really fun to read about, the setting was very familiar, and the plot was full of twists and turns. Something that I was personally on the fence about was how the mental illness of both the main character and the grandmother was addressed. Throughout the book, Natalie really talked down about herself and really put her illness in a negative light. She constantly called herself crazy and would try to say that people deserved better than her, and that she was a horrible person for doing things that normal teenagers do. It really bothered me how often she talked down on herself, and I wished that she was more positive at times. There was also some negativity surrounding the grandmother and her illness, but there is a scene towards the end of the book that really turns things around for her and certainly made me smile. My favorite character had to be David, who is Natalie's brother. He was so loyal to Natalie and always made sure that she was okay and taking care of herself. There were a few times he was a bit more invested in a certain other character, but he was definitely there for her when she really needed him. Natalie, as I stated above, was fairly negative throughout the book. I understood that she was having trouble adjusting to her new life in Savannah and was stepping out of her comfort zone with doing the play, but I just couldn't get over how she was regarding her illness. I also really enjoyed the grandmother towards the end, despite her being a difficult character throughout most of the book. While I didn't exactly enjoy Natalie as a character, I did enjoy reading about her and her journey through the book. The plot was fun, and I loved the A Midsummer Night's Dream being incorporated in the story. The readers get a lot of insight into the theatre life, and as a high school theatre geek, I really appreciated that. You basically get a lot of theatre, some drama between old and new friends, a bit of a complicated-but-really-shouldn't-be-complicated-love and it all comes together to make a very interesting read. The writing was well done and I enjoyed how descriptive the author was, even about the small things such as the feelings that Natalie got when she was alone in the theatre. It really seemed like the author had a pretty decent grasp on not only how a teenager thinks and acts, but how a teenager dealing with mental illness thinks and acts. I definitely liked the way that Robin Bridges writes and I will definitely be checking out the companion novel, Dreaming of Antigone! If you're looking for a really cute Summer book that touches on the theme of mental illness, be sure to pick up The Form of Things Unknown. It has some really beautiful writing, a decently large cast of characters with unique personalities, a look into theatre life, and brings the topic of mental illness to light in a big way. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good contemporary to help close out the Summertime!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Teenreadsdotcom

    Robin Bridges, author of DREAMING OF ANTIGONE and the Katerina trilogy, returns to the young adult world with her newest novel, THE FORM OF THINGS UNKNOWN. Natalie Roman is adjusting to life in Savannah, Georgia. Her family has only been living there for a short time, having uprooted from their home in Athens to care for Natalie’s grandmother after the death of her husband --- or, more accurately, after Natalie’s grandmother, distraught with grief, stopped taking the pills that helped subdue her Robin Bridges, author of DREAMING OF ANTIGONE and the Katerina trilogy, returns to the young adult world with her newest novel, THE FORM OF THINGS UNKNOWN. Natalie Roman is adjusting to life in Savannah, Georgia. Her family has only been living there for a short time, having uprooted from their home in Athens to care for Natalie’s grandmother after the death of her husband --- or, more accurately, after Natalie’s grandmother, distraught with grief, stopped taking the pills that helped subdue her schizophrenia and almost set her house on fire. Living with her grandma Judith is a challenge of its own, but what makes things worse for Natalie is the constant reminder of what she might become should she forget to take her own medication --- Natalie recently had an episode of her own, one that seemed to confirm her inheritance of her grandmother’s genes, and one that she’d rather forget. Natalie plans to lay low over the summer, but her older brother, David, has other plans for her --- plans involving acting in a play, making new friends, and meeting frustratingly cute boys. Soon, Natalie is swept into the world of the theater, Shakespeare and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” She is quickly befriended by the flamboyant Starla and intriguing Raine, her fellow cast mates, and she begins to think that she might fit in in Savannah after all. However, hanging out with Starla and Raine means doing things normal teenagers do, and Natalie is anything but normal. To Starla and Raine, staying up late and drinking don’t seem to have the most serious consequences, but when drinking means skipping her meds for the night, Natalie has a tougher call to make. Now Natalie must juggle her new friends and her mental health, and if that weren’t enough, Lucas, an enigmatic boy who was also a patient at the psychiatric center where Natalie spent two weeks post-episode, is in the play, too --- and he knows her secret. Natalie has a lot on her plate, balancing an unpredictable grandmother, a lead role and the burden of keeping her family from worrying. So, when rumors begin swirling about ghosts inhabiting the theater, Natalie is more on edge than ever. Especially when she begins seeing things that are eerily close to the paranormal…and she can no longer tell if it’s her hallucinations or the real deal. Robin Bridges brings THE FORM OF THINGS UNKNOWN to life, creating characters with intricate personalities, real vulnerabilities, and believable connections. Natalie is a strong narrator, and her likeable, genuine voice is augmented by a cast of captivating supporting characters, each detailed in their own right. Bridges is successful in running multiple parallel plotlines, which unite to give the novel more depth and interest. The supernatural aspects of the novel are well handled and well explained, while the everyday components are authentic, but never mundane. Readers can look forward to suspense, romance, and an ultimately comprehensive story, enhanced with charming protagonists and the exploration of real-world issues like mental illness. THE FORM OF THINGS UNKNOWN is a pleasantly engaging read, which is sure to satisfy any audience of YA Romance enthusiasts, and which puts a delightfully original spin on by-the-book teen romance. Reviewed by Laura T., Teen Board Member

  26. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges is a credible depiction of a teenager's struggles to be "normal" despite her diagnosis of schizophrenia. This young adult novel also has a bit of a mystery element along with a hint of romance. Natalie Roman and her family have recently relocated to Savannah to take care of her grandmother who also suffers from schizophrenia. Grateful for the new beginning, Natalie lets her brother David talk her into trying out for the summer production of A Midsummer The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges is a credible depiction of a teenager's struggles to be "normal" despite her diagnosis of schizophrenia. This young adult novel also has a bit of a mystery element along with a hint of romance. Natalie Roman and her family have recently relocated to Savannah to take care of her grandmother who also suffers from schizophrenia. Grateful for the new beginning, Natalie lets her brother David talk her into trying out for the summer production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. However, she is quickly dismayed when she recognizes one of the cast members Lucas Grant. She and Lucas were both recently receiving treatment at the same metal health facility and she would rather keep this information to herself for the time being. Her worries appear to be unfounded when Lucas continues to ignore her and Natalie is befriended by cast members Raine and Starla. Amid rumors the theater is haunted, the three girls delight in exploring the theater for spirits but after a few ghostly encounters, Natalie wonders if what she is seeing is real or delusions caused by her schizophrenia. In many ways, Natalie is a typical teen who makes questionable decisions due to her immaturity. She does not want to cause any problems for her parents who are struggling to care for her grandmother and the stress from their recent move. She does have an excellent relationship with David and their interactions are a wonderful blend of teasing and concern for each other's well being. Natalie's desire to keep schizophrenia under wraps is understandable, but in an effort to fit in with her new friends, she makes some very unwise decisions that could lead to a worsening of her symptoms. When these choices lead to trouble, her parents remain supportive but still manage to emphasize the importance of managing her health responsibly. The secondary story arcs with Natalie's new friends, the ghost stories and an unexpected romance with Lucas are skillfully interwoven into the main plot. Raine and Starla are also normal teens but their budding friendship is full of peer pressure that leads to Natalie making some stupid decisions that jeopardize her health. The mystery surrounding the ghostly manifestations at the theater is interesting and it is impossible to tell if these sightings are real or part of Natalie's delusions. There is also a slight romantic element which involves Natalie and Lucas and although their romance is not the main focus of the story, it does play a pivotal role in a major plotline. The Form of Things Unknown by Robin Bridges is a fast-paced and engaging young adult novel. The characters are multi-faceted with true to life frailties that are realistically portryaed and easy to relate to. The teenagers' thoughts and actions mimic real life and although they make questionable decisions with predictable outcomes, they are sympathetic and likable. The overall plot is compelling and the various storylines are fully resolved by the novel's conclusion. All in all, it is a wonderful novel that readers of all ages are sure to enjoy.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa Loebig

    What Natalie Roman does not need in her life is more stress. Her family has just moved to a new city to take care of her schizophrenic grandma who’s stopped taking her medicine. Natalie’s far away from her friends and doesn’t know anyone but her brother in the new town. And she just got out of Winter Oaks, the psychiatric hospital, after she had her own experience with hallucinations. When her brother David convinces her to join a summer theater group, Natalie tries to make new friends, fit in, What Natalie Roman does not need in her life is more stress. Her family has just moved to a new city to take care of her schizophrenic grandma who’s stopped taking her medicine. Natalie’s far away from her friends and doesn’t know anyone but her brother in the new town. And she just got out of Winter Oaks, the psychiatric hospital, after she had her own experience with hallucinations. When her brother David convinces her to join a summer theater group, Natalie tries to make new friends, fit in, and forget about what’s happened. Then another patient from Winter Oaks joins the summer group, and Natalie can’t sort out the confused feelings she has for him. But when old superstitions about the theater are exposed and weird things start happening, Natalie has to grapple with her past, her present, and her grip on reality. If this book is about anything, it’s recovery. It’s about piecing yourself together, letting others help you and helping others. It’s about forgiving and moving on. A lot of the forgiving Natalie has to do is of herself. Before she can really start living her life again, she has to accept her past, her mental health, and the decision she made to bring her to her current situation. This element of the novel is on the most graceful and rewarding to experience. Every reader will be able to connect with Natalie on some level through the emotional growth she undergoes. As much as THE FORM OF THINGS UNKNOWN is Natalie’s story, it’s also the story of her family and new friends and their own recoveries. Natalie’s grandma is still mourning the loss of her husband, who died recently whose funeral she didn’t get to attend. Natalie’s dad just lost his father, and Natalie’s mom gave up her bakery—something she loved—to move to Savannah. Natalie’s entire family is trying to recover from the scare they had when Natalie had to be hospitalized. As they go on this journey together, their relationships grow, and their family bond is one of the strongest aspects of the novel. Then there’s Lucas, the other patient from Winter Oaks. He’s got his own story and character growth. I don’t want to say too much because the mystery of his family and his path is a major point in the novel, but his character and story builds both a strong parallel and contrast to Natalie’s own circumstances. As a narrator, Natalie is smart, snarky, and vulnerable, and I really enjoyed reading about her story. The plot finds a good balance between fun and emotional, and even in the few weak moments, it’s incredibly engaging. If the book falters anywhere, it’s in its characterization. At times, characters just seemed a little flat or made decisions that furthered the plot but didn’t seem to align with my understanding of them. Lucas, as much as I felt like he had a strong background and potential, never really grew to be more than a stock character. Even with that, I couldn’t put the book down at the end. Robin Bridges’ tells a completely captivating, poignant, and ultimately uplifting story about recovery and acceptance. Thanks to Kensington Press, who gave me a copy in return for an honest review! 3.5/5 stars

  28. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    I won an advanced reader's copy from goodreads, and have to admit that I was very impressed by this book. It was a light, easy read, that offered a view into how teenagers deal with mental illness, whether they're suffering from it or how their loved ones react. The main character Natalie is thrust into a new city, where she's forced to deal with a schizophrenic grandmother, at the same time as she tries to overcome her own mental health issues. Through the support of family and friends, Natalie I won an advanced reader's copy from goodreads, and have to admit that I was very impressed by this book. It was a light, easy read, that offered a view into how teenagers deal with mental illness, whether they're suffering from it or how their loved ones react. The main character Natalie is thrust into a new city, where she's forced to deal with a schizophrenic grandmother, at the same time as she tries to overcome her own mental health issues. Through the support of family and friends, Natalie learns to trust herself and those around her.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia (Bingeing On Books)

    I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I thought I was getting a book about a girl struggling with mental illness and struggling with whether to reveal that information to her friends, especially after she meets a guy (Lucas) who was in the same psych ward. First of all, Natalie takes medication for schizophrenia despite the fact that she doesn't actually seem to have it. This is NOT a spoiler because it's revealed within the first 10% of the book, but Natalie starte I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. I thought I was getting a book about a girl struggling with mental illness and struggling with whether to reveal that information to her friends, especially after she meets a guy (Lucas) who was in the same psych ward. First of all, Natalie takes medication for schizophrenia despite the fact that she doesn't actually seem to have it. This is NOT a spoiler because it's revealed within the first 10% of the book, but Natalie started hallucinating after she took some ecstasy. That's it. She took some drugs and flipped out. There were no hallucinations before that and none after, but sure, let's give her some drugs. Did Natalie have to go to any kind of therapy. Nope, of course not. And people with schizophrenia generally see a therapist as well. Now Natalie's grandmother is suffering from the disease. I can understand why they would be concerned about Natalie having it, BUT SHE DIDN'T. Her grandmother also refused to take her medication and she was a handful. She would insult the family and accuse Natalie's mom of trying to poison her, etc. This would have been a MUCH BETTER book if the author had focused on her grandmother's illness and Natalie's worries that she was going to get it. So Natalie's grandmother definitely has the disease and she never takes her meds. What does everyone do about that? Not a damn thing. They don't try to get her to take her meds AT ALL and they never try to make her see any kind of doctor. Natalie's parents basically acted as if her grandmother was just old and there was nothing they could do. To make it worse, Natalie's dad worked all the time so Natalie's mom had to stay home and take care of her by herself. She couldn't even work because someone needed to be home with her. That was irritating. The whole relationship thing with Lucas was ridiculous. It came out of nowhere and they had no chemistry. Then Natalie starts seeing ghosts or something and of course no one believes her and no one sees what she does. But I was confused because some people did believe in ghosts and no one thought they were crazy. And the ending was just . . . it was just wrong, that's what it was. It turned out that (view spoiler)[ some girl who was supposedly Natalie's friend found out about Natalie's stint in the psych ward and decided to make Natalie think she was going crazy because she was super jealous of her relationship with Lucas. Seriously, this girl actually breaks up with Lucas and then gets pissed when he decides to date Natalie. WTH?!? Talk about idiotic. (hide spoiler)] It just bugged me that Natalie's family was super concerned about her and kept track of her meds and lectured her when she didn't pay attention to possible side effects and yet they did NOTHING about the grandmother. That was all kinds of wrong. It really just seemed like the schizophrenia diagnosis was a convenient plot device that was brought out because the author needed more conflict. I don't like that. I was not a fan of this one.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    "The Form of Things Unknown" is the story of Natalie, who has joined a theatre group for the summer. Natalie has a lot on her plate- her family has recently moved to take care of her grandmother, who has schizophrenia and stopped taking her medications after her husband died. Natalie's grandmother is the embodiment of her fears about her own schizophrenia. Far away from her friends and with her ex-boyfriend in jail, Natalie is trying to build a new social group and friends without scaring them a "The Form of Things Unknown" is the story of Natalie, who has joined a theatre group for the summer. Natalie has a lot on her plate- her family has recently moved to take care of her grandmother, who has schizophrenia and stopped taking her medications after her husband died. Natalie's grandmother is the embodiment of her fears about her own schizophrenia. Far away from her friends and with her ex-boyfriend in jail, Natalie is trying to build a new social group and friends without scaring them away with her diagnosis. Her brother, David, is in the theatre group with her, and dating another member of the group- a male- while not yet coming out to their parents. Enter Lucas. Lucas was at the psychiatric hospital with Natalie and has his own problems. He attempted suicide after his mother died and girlfriend left him. His father is a ghost and Lucas is primarily responsible for taking care of his 5-year-old sister (who is probably one of my favorite characters). Combining the inherent superstitions of the theatre with her schizophrenia, Natalie is trying to navigate what might be real and what is not, as she begins to see things that she thinks might be related to a ghost. Hiding from her friends, she does things which she cannot with her medication (alcohol, sunbathing) and finds herself in trouble. I really liked this book, as it portrays the presence of mental illness in a young adult, who only wishes to be "normal," as so many do. The building of the slow romance between Lucas and Natalie was beautiful and I really enjoyed this. Her grandmother, who seemed like Natalie's personal villain, really becomes an example of healing and redemption by the end of the book (I loved the unexpected trip - just wish Caleb was not there, but perhaps this was just another way in which Natalie needed forgiveness and healing). However, I am not sure I liked the twist with Starla, who suddenly turns out to be the worst "mean girl." I feel that this was too much and not necessary. Natalie had enough challenges that the book did not need it (the plot would have worked without it), and it almost called into question the whole premise of the book. I won't say too much to not give spoilers, but this is why I took away a star in what otherwise would have been a 5-star book for me. Aside from the things with Starla, I really enjoyed this book and Natalie's personal journey to love and healing. Please note that I received this book from the publisher through netgally in exchange for my honest review.

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