Entertainment | Book Review: 'All That She Can See' by Carrie Hope Fletcher (spoiler-free)


All That She Can See's protagonist, Cherry Redgrave has the gift of being able to see people's bad feelings physically manifesting as monsters that follow the characters around. Although Cherry uses this power for good - baking cakes with positive feelings in them to help people - other characters she encounters are not so benevolent.

If you read my review of Carrie's debut novel, On The Other Side, you'll know that her use of magical realism didn't really work for me. I felt it brashly crossed the borderline between realism and a magic that remained oddly unquestioned within this fictional take on our universe. All That She Can See does better in this sense as the magical realism is far more muted, with Fletcher providing only a dash of it rather than a great big tablespoon. However, just as with On The Other Side, I found a point in this novel where I came to feel rather disenchanted.

Some way through it (if you've read, you'll likely know exactly where), I feel the tone, and perhaps even the genre itself, switched somewhat joltingly. The heartwarming tale of cake and love turning into a sudden warning against authoritarianism and corruption seemed borne of an overfilled cup of Ambition. Whilst I appreciated the attempted message, I was too busy trying to get my bearings on the story's new path to really take it in.

However, the novel absolutely wasn't a write-off! I found Cherry to be a very refreshing character. So many YA protagonists dominate their respective novels, and everything they do is lauded over a little too much. Cherry wasn't treated like the best thing since sliced bread by everyone (i.e. herself, her fellow characters and the author) which made for a far more interesting, and suitably flawed, character. Other characters, even very minor ones, seemed appropriately fleshed-out for their place in the story and although I would perhaps have appreciated some more backstory for some, I appreciate that this is a novel just shy of 400 pages, rather than a hulking great thing like Les Misérables.

As with On The Other Side, Fletcher certainly does a brilliant job of presenting a beautiful message - this being one of your emotions (good and bad) being vital to who you are, and it was clear that a lot of care went into Fletcher's depiction of emotion.

Overall, I really enjoyed the first section of the novel and were it not for the very strange twist, I certainly would have ranked the novel higher. But whilst certain plot points (e.g. the sudden appearance of certain characters) felt convenient rather than convincing, Fletcher certainly has a gorgeous turn of phrase and provided me with another novel that I could get stuck into in spite of my misgivings.

Have you read this yet? What did you think? How did it compare with her previous novel?

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