Unseelie by Ivelisse Housman (The Unseelie Duology #1)
Iselia “Seelie” Graygrove looks just like her twin, Isolde…but as an autistic changeling left in the human world by the fae as an infant, she has always known she is different. Seelie’s unpredictable magic makes it hard for her to fit in—and draws her and Isolde into the hunt for a fabled treasure. In a heist gone wrong, the sisters make some unexpected allies and find themselves unraveling a mystery that has its roots in the history of humans and fae alike.
Both sisters soon discover that the secrets of the faeries may be more valuable than any pile of gold and jewels. But can Seelie harness her magic in time to protect her sister and herself?
CONTRIBUTOR(S): Elena Rey (Narrator)
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Audio
LENGTH: 416 pages (12 hours 27 minutes)
AGE: Young Adult
Queer Rep Summary: No canon queer rep.
Any book which depicts changelings in the traditional sense, with children stolen from the cradle and a faerie put in their place, leaving behind a child who speaks too well, and knows too much, but has trouble adjusting to the human world... such stories must grapple with the striking similarity that this basic description has to an allistic parent seeing their autistic child and misunderstanding them or being disturbed by their existence. Rather than merely acknowledging this fantastical descriptor of what are most likely real autistic children through history, UNSEELIE embraces it, centering on an autistic, changeling protagonist. Iselia, "Seelie", is loved by her family, knows who she is, and finds herself on an adventure with her human sister after the prejudice of their neighbors forced them to leave their parents behind and start a new life.
The story opens with a heist gone wrong forcing them to team up with a couple of people who want Seelie to help them accomplish their goals. Seelie is trying to deal with more magic than she's ever had in her life while staying focused on her goal of fixing things and getting back to their parents. Unfortunately it seems like everyone else has a different goal in mind, and eventually things come to a head. As the first book of a duology, UNSEELIE resolve several of its major plot threads and establishes a new paradigm for the sequel to resolve. I like the main characters and I'm excited to see where the sequel goes.
Moderate CW for panic attacks/disorders, body horror, fire/fire injury, violence, injury detail, medical content, medical trauma, murder, death.
Minor CW for kidnapping, fire/fire injury, self harm, child death.