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The Journeys of John and Julia in Chapter…

The Journeys of John and Julia in Chapter One: Genesis

by Aurelia

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I think the teens at my library might enjoy this more than I did. Julia finally comes to a better understanding of her world. I was not clear what caused her to have the revelation. The two worlds were not clearly defined for me and I didn't really understand how they intersected. There were strong moral messages that the author was sharing, but I felt they were a little heavy handed. I hope that some of my issues will be addressed in sequels. Maybe we will learn who these all powerful beings are and what their purpose is in the world. I found the characters sympathetic. I really liked John. I'd like to see more of him. It was nice to see a sympathetic adult in a YA book. To see a parent's point of view is valuable. I wish the world had more parent/teen relationships like the one we see between John and his mother. ( )
  njcur | Feb 13, 2014 |
How would you feel if you have planned to go to cheerleading camp and your mother decides to take you to spend the entire summer with your grandmother way out in the middle of nowhere? Julia is a thirteen-year-old girl to whom this happens. Her dad has left to live with his girlfriend and start a new family on the east coast. Her mom Elizabeth needs to go to Japan for a year on business and plans to have Julia stay with her grandmother, Amelia Livingston, who lives on an estate known as Fragrant Meadows near the very rural community of Cedarwood Ridge where there isn’t a mall and even cell phone signals are quite spotty, for the whole year, although she hasn’t told her that yet. Julia is really bummed out.

Not far from Fragrant Meadows lives John Freeman, a rather geeky boy, six months younger than Julia, with whom she has been friends through the years during her summer visits to see her grandmother. John has also been good friends with Julia’s grandfather Sam, but Sam has recently passed away. However, John has had some strange experiences with voices and visions from Sam. John is really looking forward to seeing Julia again, but both of them have changed and she’s somewhat weirded out when John tells her his experiences, so she runs away to go visit her father. In addition to all this, there is a mysterious group of beings, known as The Twenty-Two, although there are actually 23 of them, who are trying to steer Julia and John in the right direction while their evil enemy, Mr. Niem Vidalgo Oten. and his agent Constellato are seeking to launch a communications satellite that will gain them control of the whole earth. In fact, Julia’s dad works for a company owned by Oten. Will Julia be able to overcome her anger? Will she get to her father, return to her grandmother, or what? And what will happen to John?

The Journeys of John and Julia is certainly a different kind of story. It contains several references to Eastern, New Age, and occultic concepts such as reincarnation, karma, ESP, psychics, altered states of mind, ghosts, astrology, and channeling, and even mentions global warming. Those who accept such ideas will probably like the book. Those who don’t believe in these things either might want to avoid it or can just read it as pure fantasy fiction. As to language, in addition to some common euphemisms, the words “God” and “Lord” are used as interjections, the “d” and “h” curse words are found, and there are some semi-vulgarisms, such as “sucks,” “crap,” kicking someone’s “a-dot-ss,” and a slang term for girls’ breasts. On one occasion, something is described by the initials “B. S.,” and on another what those initials stand for is fully spelled out. There are also references to girls’ menstruation and boys’ “conquests.” Thus, many parents would find it not appropriate for younger children. If they wish to wade through all that, along with a lot of descriptive asides and a few psychological discussions, which can be a little dense at times, some might find an interesting story which will continue in The Journeys of John and Julia, Chapter Two: Between Two Worlds. ( )
  Homeschoolbookreview | Aug 26, 2012 |
Reason for Reading: The premise piqued my interest.

I'm going into this review without a clue as to what my rating will be nor which way my review is going to lean. This is a tough review for me write. On the one hand, I really did not like this book and yet, I was completely hooked on the premise and couldn't stop reading! How does one really dislike yet enjoy a book at the same time? I'm not sure but it happened with me and "Genesis".

First off, two of the main characters, Julie and her mother Elizabeth, are both extremely unlikable characters. Julie is a teenaged brat who is so wrapped up in herself that she inhabits her own little world where she regularly verbally abuses her mother and friends alike. Her mother is no better as she permits this behaviour by walking on eggshells around her daughter giving her power over their mother/daughter relationship so that she, the parent, is a pathetic victim of bullying by her own 13yo daughter. While at the same time she seems to have the exact mother/daughter relationship with her own mother! I hated these two characters passionately and wanted to slap some sense into them almost every time they opened their mouths!

Fortunately before we meet these two we are introduced to the intriguing Twenty-two, the beings who exist in between time and space who can interact and have effect upon what happens on our world to help things along for the better. They recruit people to help out and especially now help is needed as a dark power is trying to take over the world through digital communications. This story line is unique and the dynamics between the group of beings is very engaging. On top of this when we meet John we finally are introduced to a likable main character. John is a science geek, has social anxieties, obsessions and has a rather typical Asperger's personality. Along with this he is just an all around nice, fun guy. The character of John carries the book as it would have quickly disintegrated without him.

So with John and the plot, there is something here that did capture my imagination and kept me reading. Julia's character does grow through the book and her rather unbelievable episode that causes a change of heart may possibly make her character more bearable in the second book of this series. I'd be willing to try the second book to see if it gets better from here.

One thing I must mention though that I am very upset with is the author's use of the word "retard" in conversation between two grown women. This is unacceptable. As a member of the mental health community, it is imperative that people be aware of the hurtfulness of this word. It has the same affect on a large portion of society as the n- word does on blacks, and the f- word on gays. I don't want the word , or the others, banned out of existence; they have their place within historical settings or when showing the ignorant hatred of the person speaking. But the use of "retard" has no place in the casual conversation of a supposedly intelligent adult business woman. ( )
  ElizaJane | Aug 7, 2012 |
Julia is a thirteen year old going through a tough time. Her parents are recently divorced, her mom works long hours and now her summer trip to cheer leading camp has been cancelled. She is to stay at her grandmothers house on the lake at Cedarwood Ridge for the summer instead. Added to that, Julia's grandpa has recently passed away and the family is struggling with this loss.

John Freeman is six months Julia's junior, with his being a native of Cedarwood Ridge, these two have spent plenty of summers by the lake together. Now that they are thirteen, each is wrestling with teenage hormones and is worried if things will be different.

John and Julia are like night and day. She likes to shop at the mall and made the cheer leading team. John is bookish and shy.
On top of all that, the world that John and Julia inhabit is full of magic and mystery.
A group of other worldly beings called "The Twenty-Two" are watching over John and Julia and they want to answer Julia's prayers for happiness in her life. These twenty-two can bend and shape people's realities.

This is a coming of age story as well and in a world where there is magic and fantasy, baddies exist as well. John and Julia's adventures grab the attention of the evil Niem Vidalgo Oten who wants world domination.

My Thoughts:
What a fun ride The Journeys of John and Julia was! I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.
I enjoy YA Fantasy but I don't make much time to read this genre, so it's refreshing to find one that I really enjoyed.

The storyline is very entertaining. The book starts off with the twenty-two having a conference in the middle of the woods. This cast of magical beings is discussing Julia's dilemma. This group reminded me a bit of the Order of the Phoenix, from the Harry Potter books. I like the idea of these beings keeping watch over those who need help.

I found the characters in the story to be nicely developed, and I really liked the relationship between John and his mom Sarah. She's a writer of children's books and it was sweet the way they spent their time together and had their chats.

Julia's mom Elizabeth is struggling with her divorce, with the passing of her dad and with the tension between she and her teenage daughter. I was surprised by her thoughts and as I read I found myself wanting to know if this single mom would be alright.

"Waking up was never pleasant for her, but with a busy schedule to keep, it was a lot easier to deny the tragedy of such a condition. As far as she could think back, the pressure of having to radiate confidence when all she felt was helplessness greeted her every morning, like a shadow standing at the side of her bed."
p.181, The Journeys of John and Julia

I think the way the adults are portrayed in this book drew me into the story even more. As I read mothers Elizabeth and Sarah's points of views, I could relate to some of what they were thinking. Especially Sarah in regards to her son growing up.

Julia is a favorite character as well. As much as she tries to put up a strong face, her heart is broken over her parents divorce. At one point she just wants to be allowed to have a good cry. She thinks her dad doesn't love her enough.
John is too cute with the way he thinks about life in general. He's more receptive to the idea of fairies, ghosts and psychic phenomena.

I was totally swept into this book and I found this a great start to a fun new series. I can't wait to read what comes next. I want to know more about baddie Niem Vidalgo Oten.
I recommend The Journeys of John and Julia to fans of fantasy and YA or to anyone looking to get swept up in a sweet story with bits of magic weaved in.

"Truly he thought of himself as the kind of kid fully able to handle the extraordinary. After all, he knew how the whole universe was nothing but patterns of vibration dancing in a constant state of quantum flux.
No, his honesty gene kicked in. He had read that in one of his books..."
p.105, The Journeys of John and Julia ( )
  bookworm_naida | Aug 2, 2012 |
Get ready for the adventure of your life. This masterful debut novel will have you turning pages long into the night and contemplating them well after the story ends. Or shall I say begins? For The Journeys of John and Julia: Genesis is but the first installment of what promises to be a brilliant series. The author weaves a shimmering tapestry with words, populates it with unforgettable characters, and ushers us into a world that is by turns magical, frightening, and ultimately empowering. ( )
  LaurieVieraRigler | Sep 13, 2011 |
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to all who are in pursuit of a better life – may happiness find you
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Book description
"Cool new series...Anyone who is a fan of Heroes will definitely enjoy Genesis."– Tim Kring, creator of the TV series Heroes and Touch
The Journeys of John and Julia begin. The Twenty-Two are watching. Reality is about to change. 
It all starts when Julia’s parents totally mess with her summer. First Julia’s dad takes off to start a whole new family. Then Julia’s mom yanks Julia from cheerleader camp to spend the summer with her grandmother in the land of no signal, no mall, no best friend Kellie. Julia’s only hope for human contact is geeky John Freeman, who is six months younger than she and about a million years behind her idea of cool. 
If only Julia knew that her mom plans to dump her at Grandma’s not just for the summer, but for a whole year. If only Julia knew that a collective of wondrous beings called The Twenty- Two are watching over her and trying to make contact. If only Julia knew that they could tell Julia every thought she never knew she had and bend her reality in any way they choose. And that she’d be with John Freeman when it happened. He’d think that was way cool. 
And that is just the beginning. For this seemingly mismatched pair have cracked open the door to another reality. And their enemy-to-be, the beyond evil Niem Vidalgo Oten, is about to enter the picture.
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