Friday, August 17, 2012

Review: Open Heart by Emlyn Chand

Synopsis:  Simmi Shergill's life is a mess. Her powers of psychic feeling are on the fritz, and Grandon Township's sudden population boom has brought quite a few unsavory characters to town. She also looks like an over-blown balloon in her size 14 pants, but not even starving herself seems to be working as a diet plan. Well, at least her boyfriend, Alex, loves her so much he'd do anything for her. Last summer he even risked his life to protect her from the mysterious boy everyone was convinced wanted to kill her.

The problem is, she's not so sure she feels the same way. Is Alex really the man of her dreams? And why can't she stop fixating on her would-be killer, Dax? Whenever he's around, part of her wants to run screaming in the other direction while the other part longs to run into his embrace, no matter who she’d hurt or what she’d risk.

Simmi's loyalty is on the line. Who will she choose—the blind seer who loves her, or the charming telekinetic with "bad idea" written all over him? Emotions run high as the tension mounts in book two of theFarsighted series.

Review:  Emlyn Chand has created a winning series with the Farsighted books.  In Open Heart Simmi, Alex and Shapri's story continues.  Unlike Farsighted, which was told from Alex's point of view, in this book we get Simmi's perspective.   Farsighted was interesting because Alex is blind - so the way the experiences and describes things is very different than the way other characters that can see describe things.  For instance, the way that people look isn't really important to Alex.  In fact, I had no idea that Simmi was a size 14 until reading this book, and I had no idea that Shapri was African American either.  Alex just doesn't put focus on these things.  I think it's cool that Emlyn Chand chose to write about these different ethnicities (with accuracy) rather than making everyone the same.

I've found, that often times second books in a series aren't as good as the first book in a lot of cases.  Not so with Open Heart.  Emlyn Chand carries the excellence of Farsighted into this second book.  Emlyn is an excellent writer.  The conversations between Simmi, Shapri and Alex as well as their interactions with adults are realistic - as in how a normal teenager would act.  Simmi is experiencing some very real teenager girl issues.  She is struggling with self-esteem issues.  Simmi is a size 14 and has ugly thoughts about her size and appearance.  These are things that many teenage girls and adult women experience.  I myself have had ugly thoughts about my weight and size.  Simmi doesn't realize how beautiful that she is and what a great person that she is.

Combined with her self-esteem issues, Alex's clingyness, and the fear of her impending death, Simmi is a mess.  Will Simmi finally realize that she is beautiful regardless of her dress size?  Will Alex ease up and give Simmi some space?  Will Alex be able to protect Simmi from a horrible death at Dax's hand?  I don't want to give away too much with the plot.  It's hard to give anything away without giving a lot away.  All I know is that I'm anxiously awaiting the next book in the series which is told from Shapri's perspective.

About the Author:  From an early age, Emlyn Chand has counted books among her best friends. She loves to hear and tell stories and emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). Her affinity for the written word extends to absolutely every area of her life:  she has published three novels and three children’s books with plans for many more of each, leads a classics book group with almost five-hundred members, and, of course, runs the whole shebang at Novel Publicity.

The book that changed Emlyn’s life is Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson. It opened her eyes to the world that could exist if only she was willing to create it—a lesson she has never forgotten. While she enjoys all types of novels, her greatest loves are literary fiction and YA. She’s best known for herFarsighted series and is developing a slow but steady following for the Bird Brain Books. She’s eager to see how her women’s fiction novel, Torn Together, will be received by the reading masses.

1 comment:

Emlyn Chand said...

Wow, Jennifer, what an amazing review! I'm so honored. I'm glad you connected with Simmi and understood her struggles. Even at 27, I still have to fight the low self-esteem brought on by my weight. I chose to write about Simmi's eating disorder to shine a light on that not all teenage girls are brave, beautiful, and perfect--like they so often are in YA novels.

I love your review and am off to share. Might you be willing to cross-post to Amazon and GoodReads? By the way, there is huge Farsighted Series news coming on September 1. Yahoo!

Emlyn :-D

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