Miranda's life is a mess, so she enjoys the attention she receives because of her new psychic abilities--until her sister's shady ex-boyfriend thinks her powers could be useful.
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Miranda, 11, apparently has an unusual gift: when she stares at a photo or an old memento, she receives data about the scene or the object's earlier owner. Convinced that she's discovering what she couldn't know otherwise, Great-uncle Bernie introduces her to a group of psychics, hoping for commercial success. Meanwhile, feckless older sister Yvette's charismatic but unsavory former boyfriend Dave (father of the baby Yvette has dumped on her grandmother) coaxes Miranda to reveal where his partner in crime is hiding; but bribes quickly turn to threats as Dave kidnaps her and little brother Jimmy. This harrowing experience forces Miranda to confront the truth: her real gift is an extraordinary memory that has allowed her to reproduce the contents of an old Australian history, plus details others would have forgotten, to aid her deception; and, in trying to weather her parents' death in an auto accident and her family's troubled realignment, she has deceived herself most of all. Klein, an Australian whose novels are often notable for incisive realistic portrayals and original plots, draws these characters with her usual humor and insight, from Jimmy--much more competent than he seems to his protective sister (it's he who frees the two of them from Dave)--to Grandma, patiently making ends meet to raise two more generations. In her taut third-person narrative, the author cleaves so closely to Miranda's point of view that the girl's real troubles, and the key to their alleviation, are only hinted at until the riveting conclusion. (Fiction. 12+) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From School Library Journal:
Grade 5-8-Miranda Palgrave's parents were killed in an accident several years ago, and she has yet to come to terms with her feelings of abandonment and grief. In the meantime, while her grandmother works hard to make ends meet, the girl does the household chores and watches her little brother. Her irresponsible older sister has dropped off her baby while attempting to find work on the other side of town and dodges confrontations with her ex-boyfriend, ex-con Dave. As Miranda's grades steadily drop and classmates actively avoid her, she seeks comfort in her imagination. Suddenly she begins to see images from the past. Uncle Bernie, along with members from a local clairvoyants' group, is convinced that she has special psychic abilities. Finally, Miranda gets the attention she so desperately craves and plans to earn enough money from her talents to help out her grandmother. Dave, however, hears about her powers, and the trouble really begins. Suspense, drama, and snappy dialogue are skillfully interwoven into the well-paced plot. Unfortunately, it is often difficult to sympathize with Miranda's plight. In Hating Alison Ashley (Puffin, 1985; o.p.), Klein created a likable yet wonderfully disagreeable character. Miranda's constant complaining and contrariness are distracting and unnecessary. Fans of this popular Australian author's previous titles should still enjoy Seeing Things; while flawed, it is a readable and entertaining offering.
Melissa Yurechko, Ferguson Library, Stamford, CT
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Book Description Viking Juvenile, 1994. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0670852821