Sarah's Stars

Carol Matas. The Freak Trilogy: Book 1: The Freak & Book 2: Visions
Key Porter $9.95  ISBN 978-1-55263-930-6 (The Freak )  /
978-1-55263-932-0 (Visions)  192 pg.

Reviewed by Meghan, Age 16

My room is full of flowers and teddy bears and cards. The nurses are pretty nice, when they have time to check on me. Mom grumbles constantly about cutbacks to health care and how there aren’t enough nurses and soon we’ll all be lying on the floor like in some Third World country. It is pretty bad. A couple of times my IV. goes dry because the nurses are too busy somewhere else to change it. . . I have a roommate, of course. There’s no such thing as a private room anymore, apparently. But whenever the roommate’s older brother comes to visit, something really weird happens. I keep seeing him limping and yet, when I look closer, he’s not limping. I think the fever did something to my brain. Finally, they say I can go home. I’m all packed up, and my roommate’s older brother limps in, his leg in a cast. He smiles at me sheepishly. “I broke it falling down the stairs, do you believe that?”

I say something appropriate and then my mom calls me, “Come on, Jade. Dad’s brought the car around. Let’s go home.” And then I realize that Mom is sort of covered in this really bright happy light, and I blink my eyes but it won’t go away. Well, I think, I did have a really high fever. It’s probably the result of that. It’s – and then suddenly, I remember what happened to me.

After recovering from a nearly fatal bout of meningitis fifteen-year-old Jade just wants her life to go back to normal. She’s already behind in school and missing her friends. But what she doesn’t know is that her brush with death has changed her life. It starts with hearing things, things people have thought but not said. And then Jade begins to see auras around people, auras that tell her how the person is feeling, what they’re worried about, if someone close to them is ill. As the very scientific Jade struggles to deal with her newfound powers, things suddenly take a drastic turn for the worse. A dangerous time is coming for non-Anglo-Saxons in Winnipeg and Jade is the only one who can sense it. But if she can’t learn how to control her powers, people are going to die. And if she can’t find someone who will believe her, how will she be able to stop what is coming?

Although a quick read, The Freak and Visions were both well written, entertaining and very interesting. Despite being a psychic, Jade is a very human character who teens will be able to identify with. The glimpses into Jade’s Jewish background and her boyfriend Jon’s Hindu family add an interesting theological aspect. Susie and Jade’s conversations about reality and psychic powers also make the story more interesting. While it is a good story, one that I enjoyed, I found that there wasn’t a lot of pizzazz. It was a good read, but one that I could have put down quite easily.

Carol Matas is perhaps best known, at least by students in Canada, as the author of Daniel’s Story, a novel about a young boy’s experiences during the Holocaust which is required reading for Grade eights. She’s written several other Holocaust based novels as well as over thirty books for children and young adults.

I would recommend The Freak and Visions for boys and girls, although I think it’s more of a girl’s book, for ages thirteen and older. It’s a good read and if you’re interested in physics and near death experiences I’d recommend it.

I’d give The Freak Trilogy three stars.


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