The Problem With Prophecies (The Celia Cleary Series #1)

The Problem With Prophecies (The Celia Cleary Series #1)
Publisher
Age Range
10+
Release Date
May 24, 2022
ISBN
978-1665903578
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Most people inherit eye colors or heirlooms, but for Celia Cleary, the gift of prophecy has been passed down in her family for generations. And on the 4,444th day of her life, Celia will have her first vision. But nothing could have prepared her for what she sees—the quiet boy down the street, Jeffrey Johnson, is about to die.

Determined to save him despite her grandmother’s warnings against it, Celia alters events to stop her vision from playing out. But for each prophecy she avoids, another one takes its place, putting Jeffrey in constant danger. Fate has made its choice, and it’s not giving up the hunt.

Focusing on homework or friends isn’t easy when you’re going head-to-head with death, and keeping Jeffrey Johnson alive is throwing Celia’s seventh grade year into chaos. It doesn’t help that she’s getting to know Jeffrey more and more with each new rescue attempt. It really doesn’t help when she realizes she kind of likes him.

Will Celia’s gifts be enough to thwart fate? Or are some things in life inevitable?

Editor review

1 review
The first rule is fate cannot be defeated.
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
What worked:
Celia comes from a lineage of seers and her first prophecy shows her the death of a classmate. She decides to save him but her grandmother says trying to stop fate is futile. Death will happen, and fate will always find a way to make it happen. This rule of prophecies establishes the book’s main conflict. Every time Celia saves Jeffrey, fate will present her with new visions of scenarios for his death. Is she prepared to become a lifelong guardian for a boy she barely knows?
The story explores the prophecy’s effect on Celia’s life, going beyond the magical implications. She doesn’t want it to seem like she’s stalking Jeffrey so she’s forced to find ways of saving him without his knowledge. That’s tricky, especially when she’s trying to keep her efforts secret from her mother and classmates. Celia’s obsession to save Jeffrey demands her full attention so other areas of her life suffer. In addition, her former best friend won’t speak to her since she blames Celia’s grandmother’s magic for her parents’ separation. Celia doesn’t know how to deal with the girl but there are moments of wistfulness from past memories.
The resolution of the problem will evoke different emotions from readers. There’s no apparent way to stop fate from taking Jeffrey’s life so Celia’s efforts seem futile. Jeffrey’s a really nice boy which makes his impending death even harder to accept. Celia discovers a page is missing from her seer handbook and she’s frustrated that it may provide clues about what she can do. She becomes better at understanding her abilities but there’s always an air of uncertainty with her visions. Several strange events later in the plot create new questions, and the emotional climax is a surprise if readers don’t recognize clues along the way.
What didn’t work as well:
The early plot has a similar feel to the movie “Groundhog Day” where the same events continually happen over and over. While Celia’s rescues differ in details, she saves Jeffrey’s life several times in a short span of time. Later, the rescues are less frequent and require more planning, so the story becomes more engaging and satisfying.
The Final Verdict:
The first rule is fate cannot be defeated. The early pages feel a little redundant due to frequent rescues, but the story quickly becomes faster-paced and interesting as Celia learns to use her powers. Her determination to save Jeffrey is the backdrop for a sweet story of friendship, and the surprising conclusion will conjure many emotions. I recommend readers give this book a shot.
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