Friday, April 09, 2010

Blundell Omnibus Offers Light, Medium-ish Entertainment

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

If you're one of those people who can't live without your Friday night Medium fix, check this out: Scholastic just published an omnibus by Jude Watson titled The Sight. The volume brings together Premonitions and Disappearance, the two novels in her series about teenage psychic Gracie Millard. Never heard of Jude Watson? Actually you have - it's a pen name used by Judy Blundell, author of the National Book Award winner What I Saw and How I Lied. While these earlier novels don't match the caliber of Blundell's newest, they're still fast-paced, entertaining reads.

In Premonitions, we meet the lonely, grief-stricken Gracie. After losing her mother to a tragic car accident, she's been sent to live with her aunt and cousin on tiny Beewick Island in Washington State. Although Aunt Shay's trying hard to console her niece, Gracie shies away from every kindness. She's heartbroken and not exactly thrilled about being the new girl in a podunk town where everyone's known everyone else since they were all in diapers. To make matters worse, she's still trying to understand the strange feelings she's been getting, the weird images and sensations that won't leave her head. Somehow, she smelled oranges right before a semi loaded with citrus plowed into her mother's car. Now, she's seeing visions of Emily Carbonel, her only friend on the island, being abducted. Is it some kind of sign, like the oranges? Should she tell people what she's seeing? The last thing Gracie needs is for everyone at her new school to know what a freak she is.

When Emily disappears for real, Gracie knows she has to come forward. The last time she ignored one of her premonitions, her mom died; Gracie's not about to be responsible for another tragedy. Detective Fusilli doesn't exactly believe in psychics, but he's not laughing her out of the precinct either. Even though she's not exactly authorized to investigate Emily's disappearance, Gracie decides to - quietly - follow the clues her mind is giving her. What she discovers shocks her. Something very, very strange is going on at the Seattle computer camp Emily was so eager to attend. The closer she gets to the truth, the more dangerous Gracie's sleuthing becomes. She might be able to save Emily, but who's going to save her?

After her experiences in the first book, Gracie's growing much more comfortable with her psychic abilities in Disappearance. She still can't understand everything she sees, but she's learning to trust what she sees in her visions. So, when she starts getting weird vibes about a recent murder victim, she knows she's on to something. Detective Fusilli warns her to quit Nancy Drew-ing around and focus on being a kid, but she can't. Something sinister's going down on Beewick Island. Even though her aunt is the most honest person Gracie knows, the mystery seems to revolve around Shay's early years in the area. Could her instincts be wrong this time, or is Aunt Shay hiding a terrible secret?

To complicate matters, Gracie's father suddenly shows up on the island. Can she trust the man who abandoned her when she was just a baby? Does she even want to? Besieged by conflicting brain flashes, Gracie doesn't know who's telling the truth and who's feeding her lines. Can she figure it all out before it's too late? Or is she destined to lose everyone she's ever loved?

While Premonitions and Disappearance aren't the most dynamic or original books ever written, they're decent mysteries. The former kept me guessing, while the latter was much more predictable. Both could use better character development, tighter writing, and twistier plotlines. Still, there are worse ways to wile away an afternoon. If you're looking for light, Medium-ish entertainment, you might find The Sight to be just the ticket.

(Readalikes: The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting)

Grade: C

If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG for violence and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love: I received this book from the generous folks at Scholastic. Thanks!

7 comments:

  1. Bouncing through on the Hop. Here's ME.

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  2. Will try,Thanks for the review!

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  3. i found you through the blog hop. i love that you also review historical fiction as well as other genres!

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  4. Thanks for hopping by my blog today! I love your site and am now following. Happy Friday!

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  5. Found you through the hop. I'm following!

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  6. This does sound like a good read. It's a shame the character development wasn't richer.

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  7. Greetings from the blog hop. Great blog!

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