Seeing the Sights

Magical realism for young adults isn’t exactly new – most fairytales could also be listed in that genre – and modern magical realism is the foundation of author Susanna Vance‘s Sights.

The strangely named ‘Baby Girl’ is born after eleven and a half months inside her Mama, and comes with teeth. Also, she’s delivered not by (who would have had something to say about that eleven month thing), but a veterinarian. He remarked that she had the same gestation as a walrus. If that’s not odd enough, then there’s Baby Girl’s gift – The Sight. Too bad it wasn’t too useful to tell her that her father would hate her so much that he’d try and kill her over, and over, and over again, the first time when she is only months old.

When Bettina, Baby Girl’s mother, finally wakes up and realizes that her daughter’s life has already hung by a (snapped) thread too many times, the two of them make a break for it, and share a lovely summer in a town hours and hours away from the broken down trailer and the angry man who had dominated their lives for so long. They set up as business partners – Bettina sews formals and Baby Girl does readings with the fittings. Things can’t go on entirely peacefully, though; eventually the past catches up with them, but ultimately, the situation is resolved through the strange and loving people they’ve linked hands with in their new community.

It’s a strange and fey little book, but a fun one. I came away with questions about character motivation, but overall, the magic isn’t pressed into service to fill in too many holes in the plot, and Baby Girl’s is an enjoyable narrative voice to fill an afternoon.

About the author

tanita s. davis is a writer and avid reader who prefers books to most things in the world, including people. That's ...pretty much it, she's very boring and she can't even tell jokes. She is, however, the author of eight books, including Serena Says, Partly Cloudy, and the Coretta Scott King honored Mare's War. Look for the new MG, Go Figure, Henri Weldon in 9/2022 from Katherine Tegen Books.

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