Skipping, for this week, the next letter in the alphabetical order of Wednesday’s word, I will introduce (some of) you to hyperopia. Do any of you, my Gentle Readers suffer from this condition? I do! A hint as to the definition: My arms aren’t long enough any more!
Hyperopia /ˌhī-pə-ˈrō-pē-ə/: a condition in which visual images come to a focus behind the retina of the eye and vision is better for distant than for near objects —called also farsightedness
Origin is from New Latin, and its first known use was in 1884. Before that time it was referred to as Elderopia or Minibracchiopia.
Today, I introduce you to a different farsightedness altogether. Not only a different adjectival form, but another definition altogether. Enter into the world of our young hero on the cusp of being 16 years old – Alex Kosmitoras. “Farsighted” is the début novel by Emlyn Chand, of “Novel Publicity” fame. The book is aimed at the Young Adult reader, but it will appeal to the older adult as well.
Before taking you on a journey through this book, I want to comment on something that has been on my mind a great deal lately about books for the “Young Adult.” Far too many such books do not live up to the genre. They are either “dumbed down” versions of adult fiction, on topics either well below or well above the age of the true “young adult.” They are tired, trite rewrites of “fantasy,” or they are peppered with far too many references to teen sex. I have no objections to YA novels that are works of well-wrought, unique fantasy, nor of those that include sexual relationships and experimenting by the young heroes and heroines, but I really object to it when it borders on being adult sex translated into infantile language. That sort of thing is pejorative and demeaning to the younger reader, and infuriating to older adults. While I recognize that the practice of “adult” sex is being taken on by younger and younger people, I am not sure that sort of behavior should be encouraged by writers in an effort to appear “with it,” and thereby giving young people the feeling that their own initially reticent feelings and anxieties about growing up are somehow dated, dumb, or prudish. So I will tell you that it is refreshing to read a YA novel that truly reflects where most young adults are now. “Farsighted” is intelligent and understanding of the inner conflicts that most young people experience. It is a breath of fresh air in the YA genre. Now, come along:
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You, Gentle Reader, are embarking on a journey, along with our hero Alex. Life for him as he knows it is quiet, boring, and predictable. It is also comforting and familiar. You will soon see that life for Alex is about to change.
On being introduced to Alex you learn that he is blind, and has been since birth. His mother contracted German Measles while she was pregnant with Alex, which resulted in the birth defect. Because of this, Alex’s parents – especially his mom – are very over-protective of Alex. His relationship with his Dad is tenuous at best, and the reasons for the lop-sided relationships are revealed as the book progresses. The Kosmitoras family lives in the small midwestern town of “Grandon.” His dad is unemployed, and discouraged about his dwindling prospects for further employment. His mom holds the family’s finances together – barely – by owning and operating a florist shop, “Sweet Blossoms,” in town. The “things” of the everyday life of the average teen are not part of Alex’s life.
Alex is a very bright young man, and he is willing and accustomed to making do. He has a “talking” computer for doing his school work, he is fluent with Braille, and he is well-able to navigate through his physical surroundings. He is not popular with his peers, and has never had any close relationships. He has also been the brunt of bullying from ignorant and/or unkind classmates. Things begin to change at the beginning of his sophomore year in high school. Alex makes a new friend, Simmi, a girl who has recently moved into town with her family from New Delhi, India. Alex and Simmi soon become fast friends. It is a relationship that our timid hero wants to be more than platonic.
You will soon learn that our hero traveler has begun to discover that he has untapped potential. He has gifts previously unknown to him that will complicate his life, and will spur him on to manhood. He must battle and overcome the fears that come along with being the possessor of psychic gifts – his “farsightedness” – and learn that these battles will ultimately strengthen him.
Alex finds another friend, Shapri. Shapri Teak has recently moved with her mother to town from New Orléans. Shapri is a no-nonsense sort of girl who demands respect, and calls life the way she sees it. Through her friendship with Simmi, she meets Alex. Shapri’s mom, “Miss Teak” ( 😆 ) has opened up a shop in town, next door to Alex’s mom’s, called “The All-Seeing Miss Teak,” a psychic shop. Alex and Simmi both develop ties with this shop and Miss teak, albeit, Alex does so reluctantly; however, he begins, with the aid of Miss Teak, the exploration and advancement of his gifts, as visions of a horrific future and life-and-death danger for his new friend Simmi, propel him to escalate his understanding of his newly discovered, and at times unwelcome gifts.
As the reader, you are hurtled along with Alex through the highs and lows of his life, many brought about by his frightening and ominous visions, and others that are part of being a young man struggling to grow up. All his struggles play a vital part in both Alex’s journey, and yours.
Alex desperately tries to uncover the meaning of his visions. He is plagued by a boy in his visions named “Dax,” who he comes to realize is the source of his visions and nightmares. With the help of his friend Simmi, who we learn is also psychically gifted, Alex continues to home in on the location of Dax. The book’s build to its climactic ending is filled with mystery and suspense. Why are Alex and his father at such odds? Why does Shapri behave the way she does? How can Alex spare his friend Simmi from learning of his visions? Can he save her and maintain his friendship? Will the romance he desires ever come to be?
Emlyn Chand has called upon her imaginative skills as a writer, and used her memories of her youth to craft a wonderful story, and it is but the first in a series that feature our hero Alex. (Emlyn is hard at work finishing up the second book in the series, “Open Heart.”) Ms. Chand herself is married to a man from New Delhi, India, so she had a great resource to use in developing the reader’s understanding of Simmi’s world and culture. In addition to weaving in aspects of Indian culture, Ms. Chand uses a clever device. Each chapter is introduced by way of a “rune,” which are a part of Alex’s journey. As the reader attempts to unlock the mystery of each rune, so does Alex use his growing knowledge of the mystery of runes as a step along his journey.
I do not wish to be a “spoiler” for this entertaining and “fast” read, so I will not divulge any of the exciting twists and turns that the author maps out for the reader. What I will tell you is that Emlyn Chand’s début novel for young adults, “Farsighted” is an exciting and valid addition to the YA genre. It is highly recommended for readers in that age group. The characters are people you want to know, and to continue to learn about. This book is also a fine read for adults, especially for those of us who might have forgotten what it’s like to be a teenager, who are interested in getting a glimpse into the thoughts, triumphs, and travails of the teen as s/he advances toward adulthood. I highly recommend that you hitch a ride with Alex.
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I wish you all happy reading and enough. . .
(I don’t know how current the contest and giveaways are – remember, my post was at the tail-end of the tour, and had to be delayed. In any event, there is plenty of useful information and some links where you can find out more about “Farsighted.”)
Blog Tour Notes
THE BOOK: Alex Kosmitoras may be blind, but he can still “see” things others can’t. When his unwanted visions of the future begin to suggest that the girl he likes could be in danger, he has no choice but to take on destiny and demand it reconsider. Get your copy today by visiting Amazon.com’s Kindle store or the eBook retailer of your choice. The paperback edition will be available on November 24 (for the author’s birthday).
THE CASH PRIZES: Guess what? You could win a $100 Amazon gift card as part of this special blog tour. That’s right! Just leave a comment below saying something about the post you just read, and you’ll be entered into the raffle. I could win $100 too! Please help by voting for my blog in the traffic-breaker poll. To cast your vote, visit the official Farsighted blog tour page and scroll all the way to the bottom. Thank you for your help with that.
THE GIVEAWAYS: Win 1 of 10 autographed copies of Farsighted before its paperback release by entering the giveaway on GoodReads. Perhaps you’d like an autographed postcard from the author; you can request one on her site.
THE AUTHOR: Emlyn Chand has always loved to hear and tell stories, having emerged from the womb with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). When she’s not writing, she runs a large book club in Ann Arbor and is the president of author PR firm, Novel Publicity. Emlyn loves to connect with readers and is available throughout the social media interweb. Visit www.emlynchand.com for more info. Don’t forget to say “hi” to her sun conure Ducky!
MORE FUN: There’s more fun below. Watch the live action Farsighted book trailer and take the quiz to find out which character is most like you!