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The Healer

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Marlena Oliveira has—mysteriously, miraculously—been given the power to heal all kinds of ailments. People around the world believe she is a saint. But her power comes at a price: she can’t go to school, she can’t have friends her own age, and she certainly can’t date. Then she meets Finn, a boy who makes her want to fall in love. For the first time, she begins to doubt whe Marlena Oliveira has—mysteriously, miraculously—been given the power to heal all kinds of ailments. People around the world believe she is a saint. But her power comes at a price: she can’t go to school, she can’t have friends her own age, and she certainly can’t date. Then she meets Finn, a boy who makes her want to fall in love. For the first time, she begins to doubt whether her gift is worth all that she must give up to keep it.


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Marlena Oliveira has—mysteriously, miraculously—been given the power to heal all kinds of ailments. People around the world believe she is a saint. But her power comes at a price: she can’t go to school, she can’t have friends her own age, and she certainly can’t date. Then she meets Finn, a boy who makes her want to fall in love. For the first time, she begins to doubt whe Marlena Oliveira has—mysteriously, miraculously—been given the power to heal all kinds of ailments. People around the world believe she is a saint. But her power comes at a price: she can’t go to school, she can’t have friends her own age, and she certainly can’t date. Then she meets Finn, a boy who makes her want to fall in love. For the first time, she begins to doubt whether her gift is worth all that she must give up to keep it.

30 review for The Healer

  1. 5 out of 5

    alice (arctic books)

    I really really liked this one! Full RTC!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Samantha (WLABB)

    At 18, Marlena had yet to attend school, go to a dance, or get her first kiss. She had been kept separate from the world and revered for her gift as a healer. Tired of living in her "saint" bubble, she rebelled, and began stretching her wings a little, as she attempted to discover who she was when not being The Healer. • Pro: Freitas set this initial mood with her beautiful writing, which really captured the mystical quality of Marlena the Saint. I found myself fully absorbed in her world, and wa At 18, Marlena had yet to attend school, go to a dance, or get her first kiss. She had been kept separate from the world and revered for her gift as a healer. Tired of living in her "saint" bubble, she rebelled, and began stretching her wings a little, as she attempted to discover who she was when not being The Healer. • Pro: Freitas set this initial mood with her beautiful writing, which really captured the mystical quality of Marlena the Saint. I found myself fully absorbed in her world, and was enthralled by the mystery of her gift. • Pro: I always love a cute romance, and the feelings and euphoria of first love was so well illustrated. Finn and Marlena made me smile and my heart pitter-pat. Their love and affection radiated off the page, and warmed me from the inside out. • Pro: Marlena's struggle with her identity was quite interesting and sometimes painful. Marlena the Saint was someone crafted by her mother, but who was Marlena, and who did she want to be? • Pro: The naivety Marlena displayed was believable, and it was sort of interesting seeing and experiencing so many things for the first time with her. • Pro: Marlena's frustration at her lack of connection and feelings of exploitation were palpable. I felt so much empathy for her. And her guilt! My heart cracked in half, as Marlena dealt with her feelings of betrayal for abandoning her gifts, her responsibilities. • Pro: Freitas left me a sobbing mess at the end of this book. The tears started flowing at 91%, and I pretty much couldn't stop. So, that is a testament to my connection to the characters and their story. Overall: A heartwarming and heartbreaking coming-of-age story, which explored love and faith and the different ways one can fulfill their destiny. *ARC provided in exchange for an honest review. BLOG | INSTAGRAM |TWITTER | BLOGLOVIN | FRIEND ME ON GOODREADS

  3. 5 out of 5

    Madison

    The Healer is a compelling and unique book. It is a very different coming of age story, yet despite Marlena’s special abilities that set her apart in the world, her story of falling in love for the first time, discovering who she is and is meant to be and learning to stand up for herself is universal. Marlena is a Healer. Some say she is touched by God, others say she is a saint. For years, her mother has decided how she will live and what she will do. But as Marlena begins to stretch her wings, The Healer is a compelling and unique book. It is a very different coming of age story, yet despite Marlena’s special abilities that set her apart in the world, her story of falling in love for the first time, discovering who she is and is meant to be and learning to stand up for herself is universal. Marlena is a Healer. Some say she is touched by God, others say she is a saint. For years, her mother has decided how she will live and what she will do. But as Marlena begins to stretch her wings, she must decide if being a healer defines her or if she can heal on her own terms. At first, I was expecting a book similar to The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee, but The Healer is not about plants or potions and is far more mystical and religious. Marlena isn’t sure where her powers come from, some days she’s not even sure she really has powers. But her mother is a firm believer that Marlena has been touched by God and a church and religious group has risen up around Marlena. The constant attention is something that Marlena hates the most. She longs for connection with people not awe and fear from afar. She wants to be able to walk down the street of her hometown without seeing her face on souvenirs in the windows of shops. She wants to live a normal life. Pushing the boundaries of her constrained life means conflict with her controlling mother. It means discovering a whole range of options never before open to her. It means learning who she wants to be and who she doesn’t. But there is also a cost. The Healer is both a coming of age story and a love story. When Marlena meets Finn it is love at first sight for her and there is an undeniable attraction between them. But their romance, despite being quick and intense, has a lot to overcome. I am more than happy to get behind a quick romantic story line when the connection between the couple is believable and I was 100% behind Marlena and Finn. The moments they share, Marlena’s newness and awkwardness with it all was totally adorable. Donna Freitas’ writing style is beautiful in The Healer and she crafts an entrancing story that I was immediately drawn to. The mystery behind Marlena’s healing talent is never fully explained in The Healer, leaving it up to the reader to decide how much they believe in her gift and its possible options. I was surprised, delighted and charmed by The Healer, by Marlena and by this story of growing up, falling in love, learning, loving, losing and living. The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own. Find more reviews, reading age guides, content advisory, and recommendations on my blog Madison's Library

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tracy (The Pages In-Between)

    Thank you Edelweiss and Harper Teen for gifting me an E-ARC in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own. I rate this book a 3.5 out of 5 Stars. This was a great YA book. It is hard to pin point this genre, it's kind of several genres mashed into one book, and while that doesn't work for some books, it did work for this one, I felt. I think it had a very good message to it, and I appreciated the fact that it wasn't a happily ever after type of YA book. This one is sad, and it is emotio Thank you Edelweiss and Harper Teen for gifting me an E-ARC in exchange of an honest review. All opinions are my own. I rate this book a 3.5 out of 5 Stars. This was a great YA book. It is hard to pin point this genre, it's kind of several genres mashed into one book, and while that doesn't work for some books, it did work for this one, I felt. I think it had a very good message to it, and I appreciated the fact that it wasn't a happily ever after type of YA book. This one is sad, and it is emotional. From a semi-heartless mom, to finding first love, and having to choose between everything she has ever known, and the new outlook she has on life.  I came across this book on Edelweiss, initially it was the cover that got my attention, and then I read the synopsis and I was sold! Luckily I didn't have to wait long as Harper Teen approved my request within hours. Thank you! I was hoping that I would like this one, and I was hoping it would provide for a nice distraction from all that is going on in my life right now, and it did.  I loved Marlena and Finn. They were so cute,and I appreciated their emotional love story. I want to add, I don't read books with religious undertones, that's just not something I am into. This one does mention God a lot, and her belief in him, as well as several mentions of spirituality. I didn't mind it, and I do not think it was too over-bearing, or preachy. So I am very appreciative of that. 

  5. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Marlena is a healer - a living saint. People come from far and wide to be healed by her, the small town she lives in makes their living off selling souvenirs with her image, and her mother has shaped Marlena's entire life around her identity as a child with a gift from God. Marlena has never been touched, been to the doctor, gone to school, had friends - any of the things that a normal eighteen year old girl would do. And she craves it. As Marlena begins to open her world to the possibility of m Marlena is a healer - a living saint. People come from far and wide to be healed by her, the small town she lives in makes their living off selling souvenirs with her image, and her mother has shaped Marlena's entire life around her identity as a child with a gift from God. Marlena has never been touched, been to the doctor, gone to school, had friends - any of the things that a normal eighteen year old girl would do. And she craves it. As Marlena begins to open her world to the possibility of more, she see's a change in her gift. But a chance at love with a boy named Finn, who actually sees her as something more than Marlena the Healer, is something she does not want to let go. As her feelings for Finn grow and she leaves her previous life behind, Marlena must decide whether it is more important to heal or to live. I thought the writing in this book was absolutely beautiful. Marlena is a character with such depth, that I honestly felt all of her internal conflict right along with her. The love story between Marlena and Finn is very sweet, but ultimately this a story of personal growth for a young woman who suddenly is faced with questioning herself, her faith, her family, and her role in the world.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Anita Eti

    I read some other works by this author that I liked, but I was still pleasantly surprised by her foray into a very unique genre. This book deals with Marlena, a teenaged girl, who from birth has possessed this remarkable power of healing. At age 18 however, she is sick of it. Sick of what she can do, sick of the hype, the intrusion, sick of God, and longing for normalcy. She wants to go on a date, a party, or even a movie. She wants to go to regular school and wear clothes people her age wear, bu I read some other works by this author that I liked, but I was still pleasantly surprised by her foray into a very unique genre. This book deals with Marlena, a teenaged girl, who from birth has possessed this remarkable power of healing. At age 18 however, she is sick of it. Sick of what she can do, sick of the hype, the intrusion, sick of God, and longing for normalcy. She wants to go on a date, a party, or even a movie. She wants to go to regular school and wear clothes people her age wear, but she can't because her overprotective mother feels like that will dry up her miraculous God-given power, so she seems to be destined to live like a pariah for the rest of her life. Until she meets Finn. And he shows what living truly is. OK, this is where my problem starts. I thought I was getting a book about healing and how this affects Marlena and her relationship with God (who supposedly gave her these powers) but it turns into a love fest (a pretty graphic one of you know what I mean) when she meets Finn. And then because its YA, it's apparently not possible to have a deep inner conflict...but rather a lot of that conflict comes from something quite dramatic that happens in her relationship with, you guessed it, Finn. But other than that, it was a pretty good book. For all the angsty teenagers out there, this would definitely be relatable. Disclaimer: I personally didn't cry, and I saw a lot of other reviews mentioning tears, but this is IMO not a very sad book, probably because I wasn't attached to the characters that much. But who knows? Maybe you will cry So this was definitely different from what I normally read, but it was quite interesting. Would make a good rainy day read. Thanks Edelweiss+ for an ARC of this book

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*

    The Healer by Donna Freitas, 400 pages. HarperTeen, October 2018. $18. Language: PG (11 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: R (on page sex); Violence: G. BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE For all of her 17 years, Marlena has been the healer girl – the untouchable Savior who dispenses healing every Saturday – for a price, but Marlena doesn’t know that, because her mother has always been in charge of everything. But something someone yelled at her and a boy she once saw won’t leave h The Healer by Donna Freitas, 400 pages. HarperTeen, October 2018. $18. Language: PG (11 swears, 0 ‘f’); Mature Content: R (on page sex); Violence: G. BUYING ADVISORY: HS - OPTIONAL AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE For all of her 17 years, Marlena has been the healer girl – the untouchable Savior who dispenses healing every Saturday – for a price, but Marlena doesn’t know that, because her mother has always been in charge of everything. But something someone yelled at her and a boy she once saw won’t leave her mind. Is there more to the world to healing? Can Marlena have a normal life with friends and love and still be a healer? For all that Marlena’s healing power came supposedly from God, she has no personal relationship with him and seems to discard him quickly when a pretty boy comes into her life. While the issues seem to be deep, they remain on the surface as angst, not a crisis of faith. Had Frietas established a deeper connection between Marlena and God, her choices would have been more monumental. Frietas does cover some deep issues of identity, personal choice, love and loss among others – but personal faith is not one of those issues. Cindy, Middle School Librarian

  8. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This was a good read, but the overall story felt like their were pieces missing. I wanted to know sooooo much more about Marlena's mother, and how not only her grandparents but how her father died. I wanted to know a lot more, and found myself frustrated at the lack of clarity. On the other hand, the storytelling and character development of Marlena, Finn, and even other characters like Angie, Mrs. Lewis, and Fatima was really well done. The ending seemed very lackluster to me. I loved the retur This was a good read, but the overall story felt like their were pieces missing. I wanted to know sooooo much more about Marlena's mother, and how not only her grandparents but how her father died. I wanted to know a lot more, and found myself frustrated at the lack of clarity. On the other hand, the storytelling and character development of Marlena, Finn, and even other characters like Angie, Mrs. Lewis, and Fatima was really well done. The ending seemed very lackluster to me. I loved the return to being Marlena the Saint, and how she is basically renouncing the life that she built with Finn, and that was very interesting. But it just felt kind of bored with itself. I wanted to see more of their time together after before Finn died, or at least more of her life after her died. It felt a little hollow. However, I liked this book a lot, and while I might not read it again, I was happy to have read it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Destiny Bridwell

    I received a copy of this book for a fair and honest reviews. I have read books like this before but not to this extent. I know that she feels like she has to live by a lot of rules and the one that seems to be the most challenging is the one to not fall in love. That is when she meets Finn and she knows that falling in love is against the rules, but who can deny the hear what it wants. There is so much going on in Marlena life and she does not even know about some it. She is healing people and I received a copy of this book for a fair and honest reviews. I have read books like this before but not to this extent. I know that she feels like she has to live by a lot of rules and the one that seems to be the most challenging is the one to not fall in love. That is when she meets Finn and she knows that falling in love is against the rules, but who can deny the hear what it wants. There is so much going on in Marlena life and she does not even know about some it. She is healing people and believing she is doing the right this, but her mother is charging people to be healed. There is so much going on and topics touched. I don't want to give away too much. I did enjoy reading this. Get it for yourselves. Happy reading. 

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for the E-arc copy of The Healer. I am not usually one for books in a religious subject matter, but I found this one really interesting. Donna Freitas is an excellent storyteller and The Healer is a showcase of her talent. Marlena, the main character, is a healer and can heal ailments, injuries, and etc. She is at an age where growing up means becoming her own person separate from her family. In meeting Finn, a romance pushes this forward. Her mother want Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for the E-arc copy of The Healer. I am not usually one for books in a religious subject matter, but I found this one really interesting. Donna Freitas is an excellent storyteller and The Healer is a showcase of her talent. Marlena, the main character, is a healer and can heal ailments, injuries, and etc. She is at an age where growing up means becoming her own person separate from her family. In meeting Finn, a romance pushes this forward. Her mother wants everything to be controlled and the same, but in life growing up is hard. Marlena is a great character and Donna Freitas has created a wonderful magical novel about the unexpected things in life.

  11. 5 out of 5

    FloeticFlo

    Thought provoking.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    this book was about faith and science and love mixed in. I love that she tried living life and found love. I also that faith and healing were brought up too. Overall I enjoyed this book very much.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lex

    ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. I can't. I just can't seem to finish this book. It's boring me so much it took this long for me to DNF this. So, yeah, I'm not rating this cause that seems unfair of me if I didn't even finish it.

  14. 5 out of 5

    emma

    Ever since she was young, Marlena has possessed a mysterious and miraculous gift- she can cure any illness, heal anyone. But her blessing is a curse and because of it, she’s told she can never live a normal life. But when she meets a scientist, and her cute assistant Finn, everything changes. Marlena begins to push the boundaries, carving out a life of her own. Donna Freitas’s latest novel will stay with you long after the book is closed. The Healer is a poingaint yet melancholy story of faith an Ever since she was young, Marlena has possessed a mysterious and miraculous gift- she can cure any illness, heal anyone. But her blessing is a curse and because of it, she’s told she can never live a normal life. But when she meets a scientist, and her cute assistant Finn, everything changes. Marlena begins to push the boundaries, carving out a life of her own. Donna Freitas’s latest novel will stay with you long after the book is closed. The Healer is a poingaint yet melancholy story of faith and science, of learning who you are and falling in love.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Berryman

  16. 5 out of 5

    Firefly

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lydia

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emma Meyer

    DNF @ 50%

  19. 4 out of 5

    Liz Overberg

  20. 4 out of 5

    Georgia Chambers

  21. 5 out of 5

    Krizelle (cakefacereader)

  22. 5 out of 5

    Emma

  23. 4 out of 5

    Ajita

  24. 5 out of 5

    May

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lindsay

  26. 4 out of 5

    Aria

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ines

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  30. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

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