Monday, December 19, 2011

Insight by Diana Greenwood

Edition: Hardcover, 244 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Release Date: April 2011
Genre: Historical fiction, 1930s, family drama
Overall Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads
Some secrets won't let you go. Elvira Witsil lives about as far away from civilization as you can get, in a remote corner of Wisconsin where nothing much ever happens. In a house crowded with her mother, her cantankerous grandmother, and her little sister, Jessie, Elvira feels forgotten and alone.Their house also contains numerous secrets, and Elvira's family holds their secrets closely. Secrets about the father that Jessie never knew, and that Elvira can't forget. Secrets about that day five years ago. And the one secret that Elvira can't quite understand: that Jessie sees things no one else can see.These secrets will lead Elvira and her family on a journey far away from home—on a journey toward redemption and healing—if she can just bring herself to believe.

I'll admit that Insight was a pretty odd story. I mean her sister knows when people are going to die. I was a bit worried it would turn into be some kind of "paranormal" thing but Elvira's sister's seeing abilities were treated as a gift.
I liked the atmosphere of the Great Depression. Of course there was nothing nice about a depression but it gave the characters personalities. Elvira's granny was moody because she was forced to "wear the pants" around the household at this hard time. Her daughter, Elvira's mother, was distant and rarely gives much thought how Elvira feels. Elvira is going through the transition between girl and woman, so it is a nice coming of age story as well.
When Elvira's mother sees a opportunity in Jessie's ability, the family goes a on a road trip that will change all their lives forever.

Although I can't say Insight was a complete favorite, I still thought it was a nice read. It was mostly the ending is what sold me. The book reminded me a lot of Kimberly Willis Holt's My Louisiana Sky–which is a favorite of mine. The spiritual message in Jessie's visions is what sets Insight apart from other books. The story is told from the unbeliever's view [Elvira], therefore it sets a unique perspective.
Insight will be a nice change of pace for readers. The background story was fairly well developed and even though I did become frustrated with how Elvira's mother was using Jessie's gift to her advantage, the ending made the entire story worth while. Good endings are hard to find these days. Ages 12+ 

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