CM . . .
. Volume XV Number 14. . . .March 6, 2009
Toronto, ON: Key Porter Books, 2008.
151 pp., pbk., $9.95.
Dating (Social customs)-Juvenile fiction.
Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.
Review by Linda Wood.
They're just feelings that I have to decipher like one of those codes in a James Bond movie.
We've done some studies that map the brains of psychics while they are 'tuned in' and we've discovered something very interesting. The brains of psychics change while 'tuned in.' But we didn't see more activity in the brain — we saw less.
- Dr. Black, The Institute of Anomalous Knowing, IAOK
Jade, the teen psychic is back for the third installment of Winnipeg award-winning author, Carol Matas' series, "The Freak." Jade is excited for her family trip to Palm Springs, CA, to begin. She is going to stay at the Cathedral Canyon Country Club in a condo near her Baba. This time she'll get a chance to test her unique psychic abilities in a lab-controlled series of experiments at "The Institute of Anomalous Knowing." IAOK, a division of the University of Palm Springs, is under the direct supervision of Dr. Black.
The dark clouds are hovering once again, and Jade thinks it has something to do with her boyfriend Jon's new pupil. Cindy Moss is a cute Grade 11 student, and Jade can't help but feel a twinge of jealousy, plus, her being in Palm Springs is so far away, and Jon's talking about attending some event with Cindy.
Within a few brief text messages, Jade's best friend Suzie notifies her that someone spilled Jade's secret and it's out on her Facebook wall. Who could have done such a thing? Jade's just coming to terms with her gifts herself! With everyone Jade knows from school being online, it couldn't be more of a disaster.
Thank goodness for Mitch. Eighteen-year-old Mitch, a university student and Jade's 'sender' is beginning to show a real interest in her. Jade can't help but feel flattered especially with Jon's recent interest in Cindy. She can read every card Mitch mentally sends her, but there's one image missing...one only she can see— "a small room with white walls" where all she can hear is screaming.
Why is her brother Marty avoiding her? What or who is causing all the accidents happening around her family? In one incident, Jade's father narrowly misses being struck by a flying brick. Out in the desert on a sightseeing trip, Jade saves herself from being knocked off a cliff by a hooded jogger. Good thing she can stay one step ahead — for now, thanks to her psychic abilities.
Jade can barely juggle her complex relationships, let alone dodge accidents and mop up her tarnished image online. All she ever wanted was to get more information from Dr. Black about how to handle her increasing gifts.
Matas' knowledge of Palm Springs is just as accurate as that of Winnipeg in the other two books in the series. She threads geography and well-known tourist attractions with familiar characters, a new story and the pace her readers have come to expect. Far is a compelling read with a satisfying conclusion.
Linda Wood is a journalist and tutor in Saskatoon, SK.
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