The Girl Who Could Read Hearts opens with six-year-old Kate, who huddles in the safe embrace of a walnut tree in Berkeley, California. At this point, Kate is clueless about her hidden intuitive powers and the presence of an angel on her birthday cake, who is charged with overseeing the evolution of a soul eons old, belaying her latest six-year-old incarnation's physical age.
While the story line focuses on the evolution of Kate's powers and her growing relationship with this angel overseer, it's also a story of parents and others who view her visions as a form of mental illness and who try to help her accordingly.
The Girl Who Could Read Hearts may be directed to young adult audiences, but the first thing to know about Kate and her world is that her ability to 'read' others and effect changes that might not be entirely desirable makes for a compelling tale that many an adult will also want to read.
As events unfold and Kate finds herself caught in a web of self-discovery and self-induced interventions, facing the consequences of her choices as her abilities grow, so readers are drawn into a plot that pairs a story of growing faith and evolving talents with a myriad of social, political and personal conflicts along the way.
Sherry Maysonave's ability to juxtapose inner and outer worlds for a maximum sense of impact and her realistic portrayal of a youngster's world make for satisfying blends of extraordinary and ordinary experiences: "See, you’re not such a smarty pants after all. Like you can’t even win a game for four-year-olds,” Marilla Marzy taunted."
Medical procedures and murder, teen angst and police involvements, eating disorders and intrigue, and interactions with the afterlife push The Girl Who Could Read Hearts into unexpected directions. Readers won't expect to find these themes wound into an overall saga of a girl's awakening abilities; but they are an intrinsic piece of a plot that combines spiritual reflections with social issues, and they make for a complex web of events that succeed in creating a moving, memorable story.
The Girl Who Could Read Hearts is a highly recommended, evocative read for young adult to adult audiences who are interested in stories of evolution, spiritual guidance, and ultimately, hope.