Seeing danger during dangerous episodes themselves.
Age: Young Adult
First Published: 20th November 2012
Date Reviewed: 11th December 2012
Kate suffers from asthma, yet whilst her attacks are frightening and sometimes life threatening they enable her to have visions of the past, present, and future. Despite these visions having proved true to life on certain critical occasions, her family still do not take her seriously, but when she begins to witness domestic violence in her sister’s marriage, and the death of her new friend’s depressed sibling, Kate finds she can no longer remain a passive spectator.
Parallel Visions is a short and easy read (in terms of the writing itself) that manages, partly because of those two aspects, to present and highlight vastly important issues with the aim of helping those who struggle in similar ways.
The words and plot are simple, and the novella is very much a YA book, with all the trappings of stories for that age group – love and school problems and the like. In fact if the subject was different it would be a bad thing, but because of the message it works extremely well. People need to read and be assisted by guidance they will understand and relate to and thus the book succeeds in its implied aim. However the book isn’t just for those who have issues in their life and the approach is such that it serves as an introduction, too.
Interesting is the way the paranormal aspect, of seeing oft-prophetic visions whilst suffering an asthma attack, is used. On the face of it, such an aspect is hideous, a girl only being able to see visions when in a critical state, but it could be said that, whether intentional or not, Kate’s suffering amplifies the suffering of those she sees. And the way Kate responds, in her chosen need to see the visions, demonstrates the way people put others before themselves despite danger. And at a basic level the way the necessary situation for the visions to happen echoes, to extent, such phenomenon as the recently dead coming back to life proclaiming to have seen Heaven – the way the miraculous attends sadness.
That Kate’s parents do not believe in her visions sounds unrealistic until you remember that most people tend to be suspicious of the paranormal. The reader may wonder why they didn’t believe her after she was right the first time, however, and how they weren’t receptive of the idea that Jenna was being beaten. This is an interesting, nay, important issue to consider, even if it is different than many statements for the visions, highlighting the worries that attend a situation that may or may not exist, and the underlying problems that appear to support suggestions, and perhaps also the extent to which people are afraid to cause a fuss. Rainfield does a brilliant job at reminding her readers that issues and people are rarely black and white, that things may not be what they seem. Yet she doesn’t simply demonise those in the wrong – in addition to explaining appearances she also takes a look into how people believe they are behaving as well as why they might become that way. And in the case of Gil’s sister she shows that a person can heal but unless they have the necessary support that healing may not last or be strong enough.
In a very short time Rainfield manages to offer a lot of support to those of an age group (in fact more than one group, really) that often does not get such support from elsewhere. The work of a writer of clear prose, bearer of a lot of love and understanding, and a good storyteller, Parallel Visions is far more than just a book you read and finish and with various lessons and messages to hear for different readers.
I received this book for review from the author.
January 9, 2013, 4:35 pm
I’m not a YA reader myself, so I probably won’t read this. But I love it when a self-published book gets 5 stars. Yay!
January 10, 2013, 12:35 pm
I have had my share of asthma attacks, but never accompanying visions! LOL But I like the premise!
January 16, 2013, 4:02 pm
Judith: I love it when I can give a self-pub 5 stars, it’s amazing, and is one more hit at that stereotype. Granted Rainfield has been traditionally published before, but still it counts.
Rhapsody: It is a good premise, and quite bold due to the attacks that are a part of many people’s lives, like as you say, your own.