Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Farsighted by Emlyn Chand

Alex Kosmitoras’s life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he's blind. Just when he thinks he'll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.

Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival—an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to “see” the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future.

Reviewer: Fashionta
Farsighted is the debut novel of this promising writer and I gushingly admit I loved the way the book played out. It’s an ethnic young adult read, part mystic, part paranormal. Emlyn Chand drops proverbial bread crumbs to follow and I felt much like Hansel and Gretl making their way into their own storyline. This technique can be done well as in the case of this author who makes the reveals tantalizing without giving too much away.

The story concerns young Alex who is blind and poor, an outcast with no friends. His home life is filled with friction as he hates how his dad behaves when his mom's not around to intercede. School has always been hard for him but this year there’s an extra sort of drama that leaves him baffled and fearful. He hearing things that aren't there—his dad’s voice at random moments along with disassociative odors he can’t place. Soon he finds he is hearing too the voice of a new girl in school, Simmi, who has recently arrived from India. Not knowing what to make of these strange visions, he keeps his newfound ability to himself.

Simmi becomes his real life friend and the disembodied pieces of dialog that he hears become more pronounced and scarier. However, Alex is strong and doesn’t let the occurrences faze him. Concern for his safety and clarity on what exactly is happening to him forces him to seek help from Miss Teak, a fortune teller, who also happens to be a classmate’s mother. As his visions grow in strength, another character pushes his way into them—Dax, who happens to have gifts like him.

Meanwhile, secrets are starting to be revealed and shared. Simmi and Miss Teal’s daughter, Sherri, both have unusual gifts and they form close bonds as friends. Sherri is able to see the dead and communicate with them. Simmi is a clairsentient, a psychic feeler who can manipulate the emotions of others. With such powerful allies, Alex is for the first time in a happy place but as his visions become darker, he remains tense and wary about Dax who is appearing in them more frequently and whose motivations remains unclear.

Alex’s dad gets him a job at Miss Teak’s and then drops the bombshell that he is leaving his family. Consumed with his loss and the continuing darkness that swirls around him, Alex alienates the girls, and learns his power can be heredity.

As things ramp up dangerously, Alex finally makes a decision to take on Dax with the help of both girls he asks the forgiveness of. He has been consumed with worry that the visions are tainting him and turning him into something black and evil. This in turn has forced him to alienate others until a discovery inside a suitcase belonging to his father yields contents that reveal the true nature of his psychic gifts. With the reappearance of his father further into the story, we get the back story of the boy's life. Alex is a psychic magnet drawing in others with their own gifts and he is an important piece in this paranormal game of chess.

I have to give this three and a half stars out of five. The concept is winning and I found the ethnic touches fascinating. India remains a mystery to most people outside it and the author did extensive research to get it right. Still, I’d have liked to have her spend more time detailing the Lorhi festival, the native religion and the strongly held beliefs in psychic mysticism in the country.

A glossary at the end of the book would have been terrific to expand on this knowledge as so many of the words used in this book did not have accompanying descriptions. The author intends to continue with a second book and I can’t wait for it to come out. This was a welcome change from many of the other paranormal books presently out there and presents a world not commonly explored in YA fiction.

Publisher: Blue Crown Press


Emlyn Chand said...

Wow, thank you so much for this fantastic review, Fashionta. I can tell you spent a lot of time on it, and I really appreciate that. Great suggestion about an accompanying glossary. This sounds like it would make a very good blog post. As for detailing Indian culture more... well, I think you'll be quite happy with Open Heart ;-)

Thanks again, and if you find a moment, would you mind cross-posting to Amazon and GoodReads? I'll send even more hearts, flowers, and gratitude your way!

Emlyn :-D

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