My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Fans of the paranormal and Ghost Whisperer will fall in love with Kimberly Readnour's, Visions.
Part contemporary crime and ghost story, Visions benefits most from the perspective of its troubled, often insecure heroine, Heather. Unlike the recent alpha females populating most YA novels, Heather acts like a teenager. Her relationship with her single mother is loving but strained at best because of her abilities. She struggles with her identity and the boy next door is not only gorgeous but actually seems interested in her. Her constant struggle to quit smoking because of aforementioned abilities give her an often entertaining inner dialogue. In a true coming-of-age fashion, Heather begins her journey viewing her abilities like a curse. Through the growing love of Barry and his friends, she begins to believe her curse is a gift. As she comes into her own, Heather shows her true grit as she embraces her abilities and uses them selflessly to help others. She is a refreshingly real heroine, who is equal parts frustrating as she is someone you can identify with and ultimately root for.
Other strengths in this novel I felt rested in the relationship between Heather and her mother. It was often strained but very believable as both struggle to learn how to communicate and love one another at the same time. Another strength was the consistently spooky and moody atmosphere Readnour wove throughout Heather's journey. You will want to turn the page in a need to find out what comes next, while dreading it in the best of ways.
There are few weaknesses to this story, more based on my opinion than reflecting the writer's obvious strength. But one that continues to bother me is Barry. He is so clean-cut, and so nice in a story of imperfect, sometimes gritty characters, he makes me not want to trust him. I wasn't surprised Heather was constantly rendered ridiculous around him, because who hasn't drooled when the school hottie actually takes the time of day to speak to you? Yet she is also so trusting of Barry, like most first-loves, I was convinced most of the novel he was the killer. So it's almost a let-down when you learn he really is just a pretty, perfect face. His greatest strength as a character is his loyalty to his friends and the way he chooses to love Heather in spite of her gift.
Also, I felt a lot of Barry and Heather's dialogue to sound almost formal at times, and not what I would expect to hear from a pair of seventeen year-old's. True, Heather has been much isolated and isn't your typical teen, no matter how much she wants to be, but the author only hints at Barry's past. I have a feeling his character and back story will be expanded greatly in the sequel.
However, I loved how Heather handled her relationship with Barry at the end, again showing her inner strength as a character.
Filled with more than a few thrills and chills, Visions is a unique take on the paranormal young adult genre and much needed break from fangs and full moons.
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