Sometimes Neville forgets to close his eyes...
Elementary student Neville Kenton is an artistic prodigy. Unfortunately, as his big sister says, he bleeds other people’s blood onto his canvases, feeling every emotion he draws, especially when he draws people. Teachers don’t understand him, nor do friends, so school, church, and even home can be difficult places for him to belong. He doesn’t understand why he processes the world differently from everyone he knows, and while his parents tell him his art is a gift, to him it feels more like a curse.
One girl at Nev’s church, Esmerelda Bello, is the only girl who understands him. Unfortunately, she has the strictest parents he’s ever met, and soon they decide their daughter doesn’t need a male friend who sees the world through different eyes. Before elementary school is over, Emmie’s parents separate them, isolating her and taking from him the friend he so desperately needs.
Events lead Emmie and Nev back together in high school, where they develop a friendship they must hide from Emmie’s parents. One of the few places she’s allowed to go is the local soup kitchen, so she takes solace there, and Neville follows. While he paints the building and she serves meals, they try to keep their friendship alive but hidden, inadvertently alienating and lying to everyone they care about. Emmie, especially, has to come to grips with the games she’s been playing with Neville’s heart when an emotional project takes him to the ground and he doesn’t trust her to help him. If she can’t reconnect with their friends and families and mostly the God they claim to love, both could lose something precious.
The Seventeen-Year Cicada is book five of Terry’s Garden series, stories about a love that touches generations and the garden where God heals broken hearts.