|Open Heart by Emlyn Chand|
(Farsighted - Book #2)
May 24, 2012
Blue Crown Press
Source: Review copy (for honest review)
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 helping.My Review:
At least she has Alex, the boyfriend who 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.
Just one problem: she's not so sure she feels the same way. Is Alex really the man of her dreams? Why can't she stop fixating on her would-be killer, Dax? Part of her wants to run screaming in the other direction whenever Dax is around, while the other part longs to run into his embrace, no matter whom she'd hurt or what she'd risk.
Simmi's loyalty is on the line. Whom will she choose—the blind seer who loves her, or the charming telekinetic with "bad idea" written all over him? Emotions run high in the tension-packed book two of the Farsighted series.
My review of Farsighted, Book #1, can be found by clicking here.
Open Heart picks up where Farsighted left off, a few months later. Alex and Simmi are still dating, and are getting ready to start the next school year. Dax has been living with Alex and his family. Alex, despite most everyone's acceptance of Dax and Alex's father's reassurances that Dax is being honest, still doesn't like or trust him and has been keeping Simmi away from him. Whereas Farsighted was from Alex's POV, Open Heart is from Simmi's. I like that the author decided to change the POV for each of the books in this series. This really gives us great insight into each character that we would not have gotten if the books remained solely from Alex's POV.
Open Heart is really Simmi's journey of understanding herself, or at least trying to. Despite being loved by Alex, having a best friend in Shapri, being safe from the doom she feared in Farsighted, and the opportunity to enhance her "gift," Simmi really struggles throughout the entire book. This struggle centers initially around her poor body image and control issues, developing into an eating disorder. It is a bit difficult to say where these struggles actually began. Was it when her life was in jeopardy? Or was it before that, when she started dating Alex and "stole" him from Shapri? Regardless, Ms. Chand does a great job showing Simmi's internal struggles, her insecurities, her fears, her doubts, and going so far as to show her justifications and excuses when the choices she makes not only affect her, but those around her. She shows us the depth of Simmi's disorder. Her issues get out of control, while she is trying to keep control of herself. But an eating disorder isn't her only issue. She's looking at Dax, and he's looking back. Her choices begin to not only affect her, but those around her, some in haunting, irreparable ways.
I continue to appreciate that Ms. Chand has written a series that brings together characters of multiple ethnicities, and even disabilities. These are not cookie-cutter characters and she does not baby them. They are imperfect people and make good, as well as poor, choices. They may be "gifted" but that does not mean they necessarily have the wisdom, nor the maturity, to handle their lives. These are still teenagers, and Ms. Chand writes their flaws, as well as their humanity, well.
With that said, I will also say that I still waiver in my feelings toward some of these characters. I had mixed feelings with Alex throughout Farsighted (though I've developed a fondness for him in this book), and I have mixed feelings with Simmi in Open Heart. Although, honestly, even by the end of the novel, and in spite of her struggles, I can't say that I like Simmi all that much yet. I empathize with her certainly. I remember having body image issues and insecurities. But her actions as the book progressed and the choices that she made that affected others were really what bothered me. She tried to justify herself, and waivered in her feelings toward Alex, but I really felt like she was dishonest and was using him and I could not get behind her actions. I also continue to question her motives by the end and look forward to seeing what she does in the next book, especially with her "gift" and her relationship. Dax made poor choices as well, and I didn't appreciate all his actions, though it appears he attempted to make better decisions than Simmi, which I could appreciate.
While I liked this book, there were, however, a few things missing for me: 1) Simmi's lack of personality - While we had a lot of her internal dialogue and could understand what she was going through, I didn't see much of her dialogue between other characters that would have built the depth of those relationships, and especially any potential love interest. While I can understand her physical beauty and musical talent, I would have liked more actual verbal interaction to justify some of the things going on later in the book. I had a hard time seeing the appeal of her personality; 2) The ending felt a bit rushed and I was disappointed that the characters did not have a big enough reaction over the very sad outcome; 3) Lack of consequences to Simmi's choices (outside of one major outcome), though I don't know if that's because of her "gift" or because the consequences just weren't severe enough for my liking. I would have thought her friendships would have been affected more.
Bottomline: I really like the direction of this series. I love seeing the diversity of these characters. They feel real and flawed, having these "gifts" without the maturity to always be able to handle them right, yet also dealing with normal teenage issues. Ms. Chand creates a great voice for her characters and takes the reader on a unique journey, not only with the character development, but with the intense supernatural situations around them. I look forward to continuing this series. I'm particularly looking forward to Shapri's book, PITCH, which is next, because she's my favorite character so far.
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