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October 16, 2011

Review: Farsighted by Emlyn Chand

Alex Kosmitoras’s life has never been easy. The only other student who will talk to him is the school bully, his parents are dead-broke and insanely overprotective, and to complicate matters even more, he's blind. Just when he thinks he'll never have a shot at a normal life, a new girl from India moves into town. Simmi is smart, nice, and actually wants to be friends with Alex. Plus she smells like an Almond Joy bar. Yes, sophomore year might not be so bad after all.

Unfortunately, Alex is in store for another new arrival—an unexpected and often embarrassing ability to “see” the future. Try as he may, Alex is unable to ignore his visions, especially when they begin to suggest that Simmi is in danger. With the help of the mysterious psychic next door and new friends who come bearing gifts of their own, Alex must embark on a journey to change his future.

In this enthralling debut novel, Emlyn Chand creates a world in which friendship, perseverance, and a handful of psychic powers come together to fight against what appears to be the inevitable and all-too dangerous future. This is a book you won’t want to put down—even after you finish it! 
When I first heard about Farsighted from a fellow blogger, I was fairly intrigued. After checking out the summary, however, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. Not only did the basic plotline stand out to me, but there was also a female Indian main character mentioned. (Don't get me wrong--I love reading about any and all characters, regardless of background and whatnot. There's just something particularly special in regard to reading about your own culture.) I contacted the author, and to my delight, she graciously allowed me to review an e-ARC of the novel.

Alex Kosmitoras is not the average protagonist--he's been blind since birth. Because of this, Alex's life has never been quite the same as his classmates. However, when Simran Kaur Shergill moves to town from India, Alex believes he may just have a shot at making a friend or even something more. Simran, Simmi for short, initially appears to be a simply sweet, smart girl. As Alex gets to know Simmi, he realizes that the two of them have been gifted, and thus are more closely connected than he could have ever imagined.

There were quite a few things that stood out to me in Farsighted. For one, the fact that Alex is a male narrator--I don't see much of that in YA. Second, the subtle but very smooth blending of cultures. I was pretty awestruck by how accurate the information was, so when I discovered that Emlyn Chand is married to an Indian, I wasn't the least bit surprised. Finally, I thought the idea for a vision-impaired character to possess a type of "second sight" was rather original and interesting.

In terms of characters, I loved all of them. Each had a certain trait that really made him or her unique--Alex's incredible strength, Simmi's polite nature, Shapri's no-nonsense attitude, and Dax's enigmatic aura. The only issue I had was that the intense build-up to the climax resulted in a very short and almost unsatisfying amount of action before a resolution of sorts appeared.

Overall, I really enjoyed Farsighted and I'm so glad I decided to look into it. I'm curious to see if there will be a sequel or any sort of companion novel, because I felt like there was room for more after the ending. If you're looking for something fresh in YA, this book is definitely a good choice!

Rating: 4/5 stars

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