Thursday, December 13, 2012

Cheryl Rainfield - PARALLEL VISIONS - A Review of a Teen Psychic Novel 1

TITLE: Parallel Visions

AUTHOR: Cheryl Rainfield

RELEASE DATE: November 20, 2012

FORMAT/PAGE COUNT: Kindle/146 pages

PUBLISHER: Rain & Sun Press



Visions can kill you. Would you risk your life to save someone else's?

Kate sees psychic visions of the future and the past—but only when she's having an asthma attack. When she "sees" her sister being beaten, she needs more visions to try to save her, along with a suicidal classmate—but triggering her asthma could kill her. Parallel Visions is the story of one brave, caring girl whose unusual gifts put her own life in danger. (From GOODREADS)


Parallel Visions was one of those books I just wanted to devour in one sitting. It grabbed this reader from the first sentence! 'My chest hurts like my ribs are scraping my flesh with every breath, and I can already hear the wheeze.' Kate, the narrator of the story, has chronic asthma. Growing up with a brother who suffered asthma, that opening sentence practically made me hold my breath so I could listen for Kate's. What Rainfield did with the already present drama surrounding bad asthma attacks is pump up the severity of the action by adding foretelling visions to the character's attack experience. And she did it well!

A short read, Parallel Visions more than makes up for its size with its action packed goodness. The way Rainfield began the story with the immediate action of an asthma attack was a brilliant way to get the reader to become invested in the narrator. And the narrator's fears for what she 'sees' happening to the characters around her causes the reader to become invested with them as well. Kate sees a bleak future during her opening asthma attack...a future where death and mayhem occur. With her visions, Kate introduces us to a teen who is struggling with the destruction of her life at the hands of merciless and violent bullies. The visions also show us Kate's own sister, whose life is spiraling out of control at the hands of an abusive husband. The tone of the novel is set with the visions Kate experiences in this opening asthma attack. And the pace is put into full throttle as we move forward in a race against the possibly inevitable future Kate's visions have given her. But wait...this attack also introduces the reader to a possible hero (and love interest) in Kate's classmate, Gil. Gil is not only her classmate, but the brother of the teen Kate sees suffering at the hands of bullies. This draws Kate and Gil together, as they team up to figure out a way to save the day.

Rainfield is an excellent storyteller, and conscientious of the struggles facing today's teen community. Her books always deal with these hot-button topics in such an amazing way...a way that is neither preachy nor condescending. She makes her stories and characters approachable and real. She takes these issues and weaves wonderful stories around them. Readers can see her passion for justice and equality in every word...and they get a wonderful fast-paced ride of excitement thrown into the deal. Parallel Visions is no exception. This story deals with bullies, homophobia, abuse, rape, individuality and the struggles of being different. But beyond the task of tackling these tough issues, Rainfield delivers an exciting read. One you will remember for a long time. This is a story with bite. Just don't be surprised if you feel yourself gasping for breath along the way. Rainfield writes asthma like one who has experienced it in one way or another. Being someone who grew up around it, I constantly found myself panicked in the face of Kate's attacks. The writing is true and urgent.




Thursday, December 6, 2012

Matthew Quick - The Silver Linings Playbook - Review

TITLE: The Silver Linings Playbook

AUTHOR: Matthew Quick

RELEASE DATE: Originally released in September, 2008. 




Meet Pat Peoples. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure him a happy ending—the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental health facility.) The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being haunted by Kenny G! ~ from GOODREADS

This was a re-read.



I recently re-read The Silver Linings Playbook in an effort to re-familiarize myself with the story prior to seeing the movie. I loved this story. I’m always looking for quirky characters and Quick does an excellent job in creating them for this story of broken couples and broken people.

This is the story of Patrick’s decline. It is also a reluctant love story. Patrick’s friends and family want him to get better. After losing so many years to ‘the bad place’, all Patrick wants to do is get back with his wife Nikki. He wants the ‘apart time’ to be over so that the two of them can return to their normal life. What Patrick doesn’t realize is that he’s been locked away from the real world for a lot longer than he thinks. Life has moved on without him.

Enter Tiffany…another broken character. Tiffany and Patrick are set up on a date by family and friends. So begins the reluctant love story. This story is an exquisite look at how people can program themselves to think they’ll make it…that things don’t change if they don’t want them to. It’s a beautiful story of brokenness. The reader will love following Patrick along on his somewhat confusing journey from being lost to being on the mend. And Quick has given us some great characters to meet along the way. Not the least of whom, is Cliff Patel…Patrick’s new therapist, who eloquently crosses the line from therapist to friend simply by standing. The two share a love for a football team…and become regular tailgate party friends. Quick crossed this doctor/patient friend line effortlessly…I didn’t question the validity of this happening even once. And yet, it is something one couldn’t imagine happening in real life.

The relationship/non-relationship between Patrick and Tiffany is so brilliant. These are na├»ve people who have had some hard knocks. Their families don’t understand them. Their friends no longer get them. They are both navigating minefields…and neither have overly supportive people on their side. It seems the world can put up with broken for only so long before it gets frustrated by it. Quick is a master at painting the way relationships crumble under the stress of mental illness. But he is also a master at making the reader suspect that the crumbling will stop and the walls will be shored up. But nothing is certain in a Matthew Quick story.

I loved this story! I’m sure that if you pick it up, you’ll find yourself immediately immersed in its pages. I was rooting for Patrick all the way…and wildly frustrated with him for continuing to wait for ‘apart time’ to be over between him and his wife, Nikki. Quick is a master at bringing out a reader’s emotions…and having them want to read on to see the cracks filled and the dents pounded out. If you do snag this novel, and like it, don’t forget to check one of Quick’s YA offerings, Boy21. It’s another unique story, well told. These two books have made me a staunch Matthew Quick fan.

Now if I can just get to the movie on a day that it's NOT sold out!

SIZE: 5 -- I suggest you try this book on for size!