Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Gasp by Lisa McMann

Gasp is an exciting conclusion to the Vision Series.

In Gasp, Jules Demarco and Sawyer Angotti have successfully navigated through two visions, saving people destined to die. Now they are desperate to learn who among the students they saved at the University of Chicago campus shooting is experiencing the next round of visions. A week after the shooting and Jules and her brother Trey, along with Sawyer meet up with Ben Galang to learn if he is the one having the visions. Ben is not however and they need to determine who is. With Ben's help, they put together a list of people to contact and Jules suggests that they have a support group meeting to see if they can glean who might be having the next vision.

The group of students gets together but no one claims to be having any problems. At this point Jules and Sawyer decide to visit Tori who was badly wounded and who is still in hospital. But when the arrive, Tori tells them she hasn't experienced anything weird.

The visions are temporarily forgotten when tragedy strikes Jules family and their restaurant and home above burn to the ground. It turns out that the fire was the result of a worn electrical cord that ignited all the books and papers that Jule's father has been hoarding over the years. Now homeless, Jules and her family move in temporarily with her Aunt Mary and Uncle Tito.

A breakthrough comes in the visions when Tori Hayes texts Jules telling her she wants to talk about the visions but when Jules and Sawyer show up at the hospital, Tori is reluctant to talk about them in front of her mother. Jules eventually manages to have Tori reveal that she has been having scary visions involving a house, ambulance and plenty of bodies. However, any further information is not forthcoming from Tori except taht the incident is on Loomis Street. Eventually the incident does happen and this upsets Jules and Sawyer.

They decide to visit Tori once again in the hospital to show her what happened  and to impress upon her the gravity of trying to determine what is happening and where it is happening in the visions. At first everyone believes that the visions for Tori have ended but several days later a new, more sinister vision begins. Now both Tori and her mother seek the help of Jules and her friends. But can they save a large number of people this time around?

There are plenty of family details at the beginning of the novel, and while not necessary to the plot, they help to develop the characters and their relationship to one another. Jules sister, Rowan is more involved in the storyline and we learn more about Jules father, who manages to redeem himself admirably, fighting to overcome his hoarding addiction. There's an entire chapter devoted to a steamy makeout scene involving Jules and Sawyer, which was out of place in the storyline and felt somewhat gratuitous in its inclusion. All of this means that it takes a few chapters to get fully into the visions part of the storyline, but once it does, events move quickly. McMann has the perfect vehicle for creating and maintaining suspense because details of the upcoming tragedy can only be obtained gradually from the person having the visions. The time constraint and the lack of details help develop reader suspense.

As with the first novel, events in Gasp are narrated by Jules, whose witty, intelligent voice feels more natural than Sawyer's was in the second novel, especially when relating information about the visions.

As with the first two novels, a hint of the vision is given in the iris of the eye on the front cover. McMann also reveals where Jules might have gotten her vision from and where it definitely did not come from. Overall, this was an original story that was concluded in the only way possible with an exciting and satisfying resolution that is somewhat open-ended.

Book Details:
Gasp by Lisa McMann
Toronto: SimonPulse    2014
273 pp.

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