Parallel Visions was available for only 99¢ on a website for ebooks, which seems rather odd, as many cheap or free ebooks are, to be candid, complete trash. I found Cheryl Rainfield’s Hunted to be a gripping story of trial and compassion, so I was interested in what I might find from a cheap ebook by the same author. While Parallel Visions is shorter, at 96 pages, it is equally imbued with a sense of the power of human connection, of how love and compassion ground us within our realities, no matter how alternative those realities may seem.
In Parallel Visions, the protagonist, Kate, is asthmatic; not only that, but every time she has an asthma attack, she sees visions. These visions sometimes reveal the past, sometimes the present, and sometimes the future. It is the future visions that disturb Kate most, because whenever she tries to prevent injury to someone else, she is scoffed at, disbelieved, or worse, ultimately blamed when the horrible predictions in her vision comes true. Kate hates being “the sick kid” at school, and pushes herself harder than she should. When she is helped in an attack by the boy she likes from afar—Gil—she has a vision of both her sister and his: both in future trouble, both safe at the moment. Unlike others, Gil believes her. Together, Gil and Kate work to save their sisters, and in so doing build a relationship founded on trust (with, of course, the requisite amount of teenage romance). Kate ultimately brings on an asthma attack to learn more about what will happen to their sisters, and readers are asked to consider the cost of helping others: at what point is it more important to look after yourself? Is it worth risking your own life, knowingly, to save another’s? While Kate ultimately answers this question unequivocally, the narrative leaves room for consideration by the reader. Kate’s relationship with her family, and with Gil and his, teach her the value of her own life as part of an organic whole that is not only family, but community, and the greater world.