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Friday, October 21, 2011

'Farsighted' by Emlyn Chand

Received from the Author

From the BLURB:

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.

Life has never been easy for Alex Kosmitoras. He is constantly bullied at school by a bonehead called Brady. He has no friends, and his family struggles financially, while suffocating him emotionally … but they worry for a good reason, because Alex is blind.

Born blind, Alex has never seen the world as others do. Instead his heightened senses allow him to smell, hear and feel the world around him … and occasionally, foresee the world too. Because Alex has another ‘gift’ – the power of second sight.

When a lovely new female Indian student called Simmi arrives at Alex’s school, life takes a dramatic turn for the better … until Alex’s foresight has him ‘seeing’ Simmi in danger.

With the help of his psychic next-door-neighbour, Alex is determined to turn his second sight into a force for good and save the girl he is kinda-maybe-definitely falling for.

‘Farsighted’ is the debut YA paranormal novel from Emlyn Chand.

Chand set a difficult task for herself when she decided to write a blind protagonist for her debut YA paranormal. It’s no mean feat, cutting readers off from one of their narrator’s most crucial sensory perceptions – but Chand, like Alex, compensates. There’s a fullness to the story, detailed in Alex’s other senses – his heightened smell, touch and hearing mean that for pages and pages you’ll forget that you’re reading the voice of a blind boy, who is skimming over the most encompassing perception – sight. I was really impressed at how Chand jumped over this difficult hurdle with her precise and flavourful descriptions of everything Alex smells, hears and touches. Not to mention what he foresees …

There are two types of visions. Those that will happen no matter what, and those that can be stopped. Now more than ever, I wish I could tell them apart.

Alex is a veritable Cassandra – able to see the future, but not necessarily alter it. I loved this very clever take on ‘second sight’ – a cruel gift when Alex is blind. Alex has never felt more impotent than when his foresight shows him his crush, Simmi, in danger. But he is determined to turn his ‘curse’ into a rescue mission, and do whatever it takes to save his girl.

One thing I really liked in ‘Farsighted’ was Chand’s descriptions and focus on bullying. Fair warning, you will want to box the bully, Brady, around the ears (regardless of ‘violence is not the answer’!). I kind of loved that Alex wasn’t written wrapped in cotton wool just because of his being blind. Brady doesn’t care or sympathize with Alex, he just attacks him. Bullying is a big issue in itself, but I really commend the way Chand dealt with it in Alex’s everyday life.

I really did enjoy this book … but more the second-half than the first. Chand takes a while to warm the story up – due partly to the fact that she’s battling the difficulties of writing in first-person from someone who does not have sight. It’s mostly a logistical problem, as Chand works around all that Alex can’t tell us, while also establishing this world and setting. But once the story puts the pedal-t0-the-metal, there are enough careening twists and turns to keep readers breathless and drooling for more.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for the thoughtful review. I loved your analysis of the style, plot, and characterization. I'm completely flattered and honored by the 4-star rating. Especially after reading your 1-star review for "Hush, Hush" on GoodReads! ;-) If it's not too much to ask (you've already done so much by reading and reviewing my little fledgling), would you mind cross-posting to Amazon? Thank you for making my day!



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