June 17, 2013

Parallel Visions: A Teen Psychic Novel, Book 1

by Cheryl Rainfield
Rain and Sun Press
ASIN: B00A8763K6
146 pp.
Ages 13+
2012

Having your breath taken away by something incredibly beautiful or by love seems so serene and captivating. But when Kate, 16, loses her breath regularly because of her severe asthma, it is a life-threatening, fear-inducing situation.  She knows she could die when her body reacts to cigarette smoke, pollution, perfumes, aerosols, hair products and such, but she is especially disturbed by the visions she has when she has a severe episode.  Worse yet is that no one seems to believe her about what she sees in her visions, usually horrific events that was destined to happen.  Sharing those visions just brings confusion, suspicion, interrogations. and overwhelming despair for what she cannot change.  Her parents try to be supportive but they're obviously pulling back from believing her.  Her older sister Jenna, married right out of high school, may be close to Kate but she too doesn't accept Kate's visions as reality. 

This is especially problematic when Kate has a vision of Jenna's husband, Mason, beating her up.  More surprising is that during that same asthmatic attack, Kate also has a vision of a girl attempting suicide. Although she doesn't know the girl exactly, Kate knows she is connected to Gil, the boy to whom she was speaking when the attack came on. Kate's biggest fear at this point is wondering how she can help save both of them when she has already failed to save a single person.

Fortunately, Gil believes her when she tells him about her vision, as his Nana is a medium.  He confirms that his older sister, Inez, has been having a hard time with their mom leaving last year but Kate also knows the girl has been harassed by other students for acknowledging her homosexuality.  He goes home to check on Inez and later confirms with Kate that Inez had been contemplating taking an overdose but was now talking to him and their Nana, and hoping to meet Kate.

Things don't go so well for Kate at her sister's apartment. Jenna, who still feels animosity towards her sister for getting the greater share of her parents' attention and preventing her from enjoying many teenage-girl accoutrements (e.g., makeup, perfumes, etc.), denies that Mason has ever hit her.  But, when Kate spies a framed photograph, minus the glass, that she had seen get broken during Mason's beating of Jenna, Kate is convinced that Jenna is lying.  Sadly, their parents don't believe Kate either.

With the number of severe asthma attacks escalating, perhaps due to her own desire for clarifying visions, Kate continues to have horrifying images of Mason trying to discredit Kate by talking to a doctor, of Mason murdering Jenna and of Mason spying on his wife through her cell phone.  Gil, her only support, insists Kate let him accompany her or she text him as needed and introduces her to his Nana and sister, who confirm that her visions are real and offer their love and support.

Author Cheryl Rainfield is no stranger to trauma, identifying herself as a survivor of horrifying abuse.  But the focus for her characters is not on the trauma but on the survival -- to retain a sense of self while finding the physical and emotional strength and courage to endure and recover.  Regardless of her sister's denials, Mason's arrogance and aggression, her parents' lack of support, and her debilitating asthma, Kate perseveres, even knowing that her physical and emotional struggles could lead to her own death.  Ensuring the survival of another is what drives her, and ultimately she must find the means to do the same for herself.  And even though there will never be a fairy tale ending when the likes of abusers such as Mason are present, Parallel Visions' resolution is satisfying, hopeful and encouraging that the abuse is not the whole story.  

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Special Announcement!
Check back tomorrow as I'll be revealing the new cover of Cheryl Rainfield's upcoming release, STAINED.  To celebrate, she'll be giving away tomorrow only Parallel Visions as a free Kindle ebook on Amazon.

1 comment:

Cheryl said...

Thank you so much for your lovely review of Parallel Visions, Helen! It felt good to read. (smiling) And thank you, too, for taking part in the STAINED cover reveal tomorrow! You're fantastic. :)