In her fantastical Young Adult (YA) fantasy novel Off My Feet, Rachel Tremblay slays at delivering a wild ride of an adventure while also delivering many important and under-communicated messages to her younger audience.
Tremblay opens her novel with one of the best introductions to a character I have ever encountered in any writing, perfectly encapsulating the personality of Edie Stacks, the female protagonist we didn’t know we needed, in just a few lines:
“We are Stardust. Highly complex puzzles made up of the myriad pieces of carbon let loose from the explosion of a gazillion-year-old ball of glowing, hot gas. That’s us. All we are is intelligent dirt . . . that’s who I am. I am Edie. I am sun-loving dirt, and I like coffee” (2).
Edie is introduced to us with such gusto and grandeur that I could not help but fall in love with her in the first few sentences. I was soothed by her bitter and skeptical nature. I enjoyed watching as she interacted with the (dream) world around her. Tremblay unapologetically shows us who Edie is while taking us on a psychedelic adventure that unravels so much more than adorable aliens; it follows the slowly evolving and healing of Edie.
Tremblay marvellously has Edie established and fully fleshed out to the audience before any of her unfortunate history is disclosed to us, preventing any pre-existing stigma and connotation of trauma from clouding how the audience views Edie’s glorious character. Edie is not atrauma “survivor” we pity. Edie is a strong but vulnerable woman we admire and respect. Plus, with most of the audience’s sympathies already directed towards Edie’s fate rather than her past, Edie surpasses the mark for a perfectly developed a character that is much needed representation for many young people who have suffered similar traumas or know people who have.
Tremblay’s novel does so much more than entertain her readers. It gives voice and representation to those who are often forgotten in literature, especially literature targeted at engaging a younger audience. Edie is a character that can give hope those who can empathize with any of her struggles. To those who are unable to empathise with Edie or relate to her, she still brings awareness to some of the extreme hardships in life that many people may not have thought about or fully realized.
Overall, Off My Feet by Rachel Tremblayis an amazing novel that I recommend to anyone who wants an enjoyable, but important, read.
About the Author: Rachel(le) Tremblay is a Canadian artist, musician and writer. Working on poetry, songs and hip-hop lyrics in her young adult life, she also spent a lot of time drawing. Painting, music and poetry led her to finally write novels doused in magic and fantasy. A homeschooling mother, vegan and straight-edge, she lives against the grain as a spiritual warrior who believes in the innate goodness of the human heart. You can find her in her native Montreal or in the Laurentian woods walking her dogs or making art in some form or other.
- Paperback : 346 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0969017278
- ISBN-13 : 978-0969017271
- Product Dimensions : 13.34 x 1.96 x 20.32 cm
- Publisher: Grindspark Press (June 16, 2020)
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