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Farsighted by Emlyn Chand

 

Farsighted
Emlyn Chand
Blue Crown Press
Date: October 20, 2011
224 pages
ISBN-10: 0983930805
ISBN-13: 978-0983930808
Lexile : 740L** based on the analysis of a short text sample

Book Overview:

Farsighted is the story of Alex, a sixteen-year-old sophomore whose blindness doesn’t keep him from seeing the future.  Alex is just discovering that he has a psychic “gift” or two, and he’s also attracting other people with psychic gifts.   Alex keeps having visions of disaster and death involving his new friend (and potential girlfriend), Simmi, and he wants more than anything to keep her safe.  This is Emlyn Chand’s debut novel; Farsighted  is the first in a series.

Positive Content:

Ms. Chand does an outstanding job of telling a convincing story from the point of view (no pun intended) of Alex, a blind, teenage boy.  Somehow, you don’t miss the usual descriptions of settings and people because you get to “see” places and characters in a new way through Alex’s first-person narrative.  Alex’s visions, told through his impressions and what he hears, are more visceral and frightening than if he could actually see what’s happening.

Characterization is another strong point in this book.  You will grow to understand and sympathize with the main characters even if you don’t like some of them in the beginning.  Ms. Chand reveals three-dimensional people with strengths and weaknesses; they possess both pleasant and unpleasant attributes and are very human in spite of their unusual talents.

Content to Consider: (Spoilers)

 

Violence: FREQUENT, SOMETIMES GRAPHIC

  • Alex and a bully at his school get into a fight before class.  Alex uses his cane as a weapon.
  • Alex “witnesses” deaths in vision after vision.  All of the deaths are nasty and violent.
  • A large animal dies a grisly death during the final conflict.
  • Alex and the villain have a brutal fight in which both sustain injuries.
  • Shapri punches the bully in the school hallway.

Crude, Vulgar, or Profane Language: OCCASIONAL

  • D— is used twice; Hell is also used twice.
  • God’s name is used multiple times.
  • Alex calls a woman a “whore” when he thinks she’s responsible for tearing his family apart.
  • There is plenty of verbal abuse from the school bully, and Shapri calls him a crude name.
  • The bully gives Alex credit for “bedding” a girl as a backhanded insult to the girl.

Sexual Content: MILD

  • Alex has a lively interest in Simmi, but their relationship doesn’t go beyond kisses and hand holding.
  • Alex believes that his father is having an affair.

Drug/Alcohol: OCCASIONAL

  • Alex’s visions don’t allow him to sleep.  His father gives him a sedative as a one-time-only solution, but Alex hunts out the bottle of pills, takes several tablets, and hides them for future use.  He continues to take the drug without his parents’ knowledge whenever he feels that he needs it.
  • Towards the end of the story, Alex finds that Monster (a highly caffeinated drink) is useful in attaining his trance state so that he can track and locate the villain.

Negative Content:

  • Alex believes his father thinks of his only son as a “loser”.  Dad doesn’t have much to say to Alex except when Mom is present; then, Dad puts on a show for his wife’s benefit.
  • Alex’s father leaves his wife and son without explanation for several months.  They are devastated.
  • The father/son relationship is loaded with conflict until Alex learns the truth about his dad; then, their relationship does a complete turnaround.
  • Alex has little control over his emotions, and sometimes, he loses his temper or acts out in a very unattractive way.

Spiritual Content:

  • Seers, psychics, necromancers, mediums – indeed, all things occult – are directly banned in both the Old and the New Testament of the Bible.  I mention this because the main characters of this series are involved in occult practices and seek to improve their powers.
  • Simmi explains that she was raised to believe in magic or, at least, in other-worldly things that can’t be explained by science, like telling the future.
  • Alex has flashes, like visions, of future events, and sometimes, he knows what other people are thinking.
  • Simmi gives Alex a kara, a bracelet with religious significance.
  • Simmi and her family invite Alex to Lohri, an Indian festival to celebrate the end of winter.
  • Alex’s parents have distanced themselves from their religions (Greek Orthodox and Baptist) and only attend church on Christmas and Easter.

My Personal Opinions:

I only had a few moments when I was jarred by the plot:

  1. I don’t know any girl who would forgive the way Alex treated Simmi as easily as she does in this story; it’s sweet, but I found her behavior hard to believe.
  2. Ditto for Alex’s mom and dad.  If I was wearing Mrs. Kosmitoras’s shoes, Mr. Kosmitoras would have been grilled over an open flame until “well done” before he could move back into the house.  His explanation was lame!
  3. The scene at the zoo was resolved too easily.  Where were the police and paramedics?  Perhaps this would have been more believable to me if the event had taken place in a smaller zoo in a smaller town instead of the Bronx Zoo in NYC.
I’m really being picky because overall, the plot had a smooth pace, and the book was hard to put down.  Farsighted is a strong beginning for a series.  I’m not psychic, but I predict great success for Emlyn Chand in paranormal, YA fiction.

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About the Author

Kathrese McKee started life as a Systems Engineer at EDS, spent time in real estate, taught middle grade Reading and ESL in Texas, and settled down to blog and write speculative fiction for Young Adults.

As a teacher, she fell in love with books written for Teens and Young Adults. Her favorite books are “coming of age” stories about young people on the difficult road of self-discovery.

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this. Your website provides a very much needed overview of YA books for concerned parents and mindful teens. I really appreciate your giving Farsighted a thorough look. I’ve been told that it is cleaner than much of the YA out there and that was part of my goal. I feel like YA has gotten too grown-up lately. The core audience is and always will be teens and some of the messages (like you need a man to complete you or nothing is more important than your boyfriend or all parents are stupid or mean) are just dreadful. I really liked seeing your analysis laid out. As the author, I personally find the most problematic element of the story to be the mild substance abuse. I had to think twice before putting it in there, but it really did go with the story, so I kept it.

    Thank you again. And I would love to hear how you first came across Farsighted! Actually, I’d love to share this on my site to help parents of prospective readers. Would this be something you’d be open to? I could couple it with a blogger interview to help bring attention to your fabulous website!

    Emlyn

    • Your book was refreshing in several ways: minimal language, respect for parents, a focus other than sex, and age-appropriate subject matter. Plus, an engaging, fast-moving, and original plot about mostly “ordinary” people. Clean fiction makes for great fiction; it’s harder to write, but lasts longer and has a larger potential audience. Many authors lose readers because of poor content choices like illegal drug use, underage alcohol abuse, foul language, mature sexual themes, graphic violence, and disrespect for the spiritual beliefs of others.

      I think that the hot YA market has been targeted by some authors whose works are more appropriate for the older adult market. But, if you write for YA, you should have the best interests of your teenage audience in mind. Thanks for making that your goal. I respect you for taking the more difficult path, and OF COURSE, you have my permission to share this site with your readers!

  2. You are so kind! I would love to interview you for my author site to help spread your mission. I posted about this on my Facebook author page and lots of people spoke up about loving what you’re doing. Could you shoot me an email?

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