Seeing Red (2009), by Anne Louise MacDonald

This review was first published in Resource Links Magazine, “Canada’s national journal devoted to the review and evaluation of Canadian English and French resources for children and young adults.” It appears in volume 14.4.

Seeing Red

Seeing Red incorporates the paranormal into the everyday lives of the protagonist, Frankie and his “not friend” Maura-Lee.  Frankie considers himself incurably normal, but begins to suspect his dreams predict future events; Maura-Lee is accused of being able to read peoples’ minds… The reader discovers the truth long before Frankie believes it, which might be considered a short-coming in the text were it not for MacDonald’s well-developed characterization of Frankie.  Frankie’s completely comprehensible fourteen-year-old-boy insecurities prevent him from easily believing the truth—about either his paranormal or his normal abilities.  The plot elements reveal Frankie’s admirable characteristics as it moves us through the challenges he overcomes.  He learns to ride horses, despite his horror of them, in order to support his autistic charge, Joey; he struggles—emotionally and logistically—to save a wounded petrel; ultimately he comes to understand the true value of others, as well as himself.  Young readers will be able to see themselves in Frankie, and hopefully learn to value their own inner powers, which so often teens are unable to either perceive or believe.

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