Tuesday, May 31, 2022

The Problem with Prophecies

Reintgen, Scott. The Problem with Prophecies
May 24th 2022 by Aladdin 
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Celia Cleary comes from a long line of seers, and when her 4,444 day of existence rolls around, she's a little disappointed that her mother has to work, even though her mother doesn't have any powers. She's content to spend the day with Grammy, who uses her powers to advise people who seek her advice, even though this doesn't always end well. Celia has a vision, but it's a troubling one; she sees classmate Jeffrey Johnson killed in an auto accident. Even though Grammy tells her she can't change the future, she heads out to the scene of the crash and manages to save him. This isn't enough, since fate will win, and she must save him again and again. She gets to know him a bit, since she is essentially stalking him, and saves him from falling from the bleachers and also from another car. She doesn't get a vision every day, and a week might go by when she doesn't have to risk life and limb to save Jeffrey. He's a great kid, and seems interested in her, which makes the situation even more stressful. It's hard to concentrate on her homework, so her grades suffer, which makes her mother crack down on her. This, in turn, makes it hard to get out of the house to save Jeffrey! Luckily, a friend's sister operates a sort of teen taxi, and is available to take Celia when she really needs a ride. When Celia sees a vision at the waterpark that the seventh grade is going to visit, she knows that she has to save Jeffrey yet again. What is the price of trying to thwart fate?
Strengths: This has a bit of a twist at the end that I should have seen coming but didn't, so I don't want to ruin it! The acquisition of a magical power is well portrayed, and it's great that Grammy is around to help Celia process. There is a brief appearance by cousins who have slightly different powers that was helpful in understanding the family traits. The balance that Celia has to find between school work, friends, having a crush, and saving someone's life was something that will resonate with overscheduled readers, even if they don't have to worry about life and death circumstances. The teen taxi was a great way to enable Celia to get around without relying on her mother or grandmother. Young readers will enjoy the romance and find the ending satisfying. 
Weaknesses: I'm old and jaded, so I wouldn't have tried to save Jeffrey. People die every day. The cover could have been better-- Celia is in 7th grade, so if this had been given a more YA cover, it would appeal to some older readers as well. 
What I really think: This was a well-paced, engaging story with likeable characters and a good use of a magic power, so I will definitely purchase this for my fans of magical realism. It reminded me vaguely of Harrington's Clarity, but only because of the family connections. It's more like Meriano's Love Sugar Magic or Harrison's A Pinch of Magic, but definitely felt like a unique story.

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