In The Lonely Ones, Kelsey Sutton uses just a few precise words to give us a beautiful, poignant, and imaginative story. Her main character, Fain, is a young girl watching her family disintegrate under the pressures of a recession. At night, Fain is beckoned out of her bed by monsters and fae. They whisk her away to sail through mermaid-inhabited seas and find treasure, to tell them stories, to climb to the moon. It’s never quite clear if her adventures with them are dream or a magical reality, but they are her greatest escape either way.
“I stand on our lawn throwing rocks at the stars, hoping my aim is good so that I can make a wish. A wish that things would change. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned in this terrifying world where everything is big and I am so small it’s that stars don’t fall on their own. We must knock them down.”
The story unfolds through sparse, precise verse, each short stanza heavy with emotion. Fain’s daily life stares down themes of confidence, of being seen, being valued, and feeling protected. She experiences first love and heartbreak, dealing with a bully, a shaky pride at her talents being recognized, missing the closeness of her siblings, and seeing her parents consumed by their misplaced frustrations. The reader is swept along on her thoughts and reflections and hopes until a few frightening nights change her family’s destructive course. The Lonely Ones is a wonderful and unforgettable story full of magic, heart and redemption.