The Grownup by Gillian Flynn

The Grownup CoverAfter reading plenty of negative reviews, I was expecting a bit of a let down with this novella, originally published in George R.R. Martin’s Rogues anthology in 2014. However, since I’ve devoured every other book by Gillian Flynn, I decided to read The Grownup as a standalone book anyway. I surprisingly and happily enjoyed this creepy little treat quite a bit.

As usual, Gillian Flynn creates an in-your-face, kickass female protagonist–this one reads auras and gives hand jobs for a living. I loved the up front way the narrator (her name is never given) discussed men and what they desire, while also being a little disturbed by it. Though that frankness IS what appeals to me in every Gillian Flynn novel. She gives just enough polish to allow for surprise at the dark and disgusting undertones. More

Farsighted by Emlyn Chand

Farsighted is the first novel in Emlyn Chand’s series, also entitled Farsighted. It is relatively short — it is a 260 page fantasy novel focusing on the psychic, paranormal, and just plain weird aspects of high school.

Farsighted (Farsighted, #1)

Alex Kosmitoras is blind. When he starts his sophomore year, he ends up in a fight with his personal jock-bully, Brady. Life gets even more difficult for him when he starts having visions, truly strange moments where his other senses pick up scents and sounds that don’t belong in his current real life.

Alex finally meets some friends at school who are no less weird than him. Simmi, a girl who smells of an almond bar, is a psychic by touch. Shapri, the daughter of the local mystic — who incidentally has a shop right next door to his mom’s flower shop — doesn’t believe in any of that “psychic mumbo-jumbo.” Unfortunately for her, she can speak to the dead, even though she denies that the people she speaks to are deceased. While Alex tries to live as normal a life as possible, his strange visions cause him to act out in school and be further ostracized by his other classmates.

Things get even more difficult when he starts seeing visions of a man, Dax, hurting or potentially killing Simmi. In order to save her in some distant possible future, Alex starts taking psychic lessons with Miss Teak, Shapri’s mother, who owns the psychic shop next door. The three friends embark on a journey to save Simmi’s life from the mysterious Dax.

I’ve never read a book with a blind narrator before, and the way Chand goes about it is brilliant. Although I was of the thought that it would be a huge negative to lose my eyesight, because Alex has lived with it his whole life, it doesn’t seem different or noticeable to him, and therefore also does not to the reader. The descriptions of the other senses are just as enticing as descriptions of sight can be, especially when it comes to Alex’s love interest.

The interactions between Alex, Simmi, and Shapri feel slightly awkward at some points. This early on in the series, I’m not sure if that’s because they’re awkward teens in high school, haven’t fully come to grips with their powers and what it means to each other, or if the dialogue is just awkward. Fortunately this wasn’t a big issue, because the book had a lot of action, which was written wonderfully. Seeing each character flesh out and start to master their abilities was fun and rewarding. However, some of Alex’s actions actually instilled fear in me for what he might do with his abilities. He ends up beating the hell out of a guy that he thinks deserves it, and it was a startling scene that made me realize he has a long way to go with learning control and responsibility for his power.

Although Farsighted felt brief, I believe it serves as a great introduction to the world of psychics that Emlyn Chand created. It has suspense, romance, and a little bit of high school drama. It is also worth noting that this is Chand’s first published novel — and a great breakout book it is. I can’t wait to see where she takes these characters and their powers. The adventure will continue in books two and three of the Farsighted series, Open Heart and Pitch.