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The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick

The Foreshadowing (2005)

by Marcus Sedgwick

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3361632,756 (3.63)18



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During World War I, Alexandra is working in a hospital healing injured soldiers discovers she has a dark gift. She can see the deaths of the people around her. It was something she experienced a time or two in the past, but now she is surrounded by death, and she can no longer ignore the truth.

This was a surprising one for me. I admit I really only read it because I was looking for something quick and easy to read, and this YA book with big text and short chapters fit the bill. It captured my attention quick and didn't let go until the last page. The funny thing is, I'm having a difficult time explaining why. It gives a bit of historical detail but that isn't the focus, and there is a paranormal edge with Alexandra's gift/curse but it doesn't even really delve into magical realism or paranormal-anything. There is some family drama but it's understated, to say the least. The whole book seems fuzzy in retrospect, you could say it is as ephemeral as Alexandra's visions. Nevertheless, the plot had me hooked throughout, and it was a very satisfying read. ( )
1 vote Ape | Jan 15, 2015 |
Good YA read about WWI ( )
  pjhess | Nov 20, 2013 |
This was the amazing story of a young girl racing against the clock to save her brother, and, in that process, piece her broken family back together again.

That’s my summary, and, as far as summaries go, I will admit that this is pathetic. But you’re not reading my review to read the summary of the story – doubtless, you will see dozens of other summaries should you continue to read on, or you could just read the official summary at the top and be done with it. You’re reading my review now to see what I thought of the story, how I felt when I was reading, and how I felt after I read it.

First off, this was one bloody good book. It depicts the life of a girl in WW1, but doesn’t go overboard with the details about the war. I have read other, similar books (which shall not be named) that are basically non-fiction, for all you read about the actual characters. This book, however, gives you details of WW1, yes, but does so in a way that it feels natural (- like, for those who have read it, [b:Between Shades of Grey]). You never once encounter boring old statistics like how many men died, or the amount of war won or anything like that, but instead read of how people had to create their own weapons, how they had ambulance trains with nurses aboard to tend the sick whilst their wounds were not yet infected.

Secondly, I loved his writing style. I loved how none of his chapters were more than two or three pages long, how some were blank, and how some had only two or three sentences. Alexandra’s character is developed really well, and the link with Cassandra was pure genius. His book was targeted for teens, and I’m sure anyone who’d read it that was a teen would agree with me when I say that I was right there beside her when she was being dealt the injustices by her father. Another thing that really hit home was how nobody believed Alexandra when she said that she could prophet people’s deaths. Everyone knows how it feels to be disbelieved in even when you know with absolute certainty that you are correct – especially when it has already been proven that you are accurate – it is the most frustrating feeling in the world.

Lastly, the climax was brilliant. The plot twist - that Alexandra shot him was so unexpected I knew myself to be gaping at the book. I thought that it would perhaps have been better if Jack had not told Alexandra that almost none survived, because although it would have made her feel guilty, it would have reinforced that point that we could not change the future – after all, Alexandra tried and ended up doing exactly what her dreams foretold. ( )
  Joyce.Leung | May 24, 2013 |
Sasha is a 17 year old English girl. She was well brought up in a good family. He father is a doctor. Her eldest brother,Edgar, has gone off to fight in the war. That war is World War I. Her second eldest brother wants to be a doctor, too. To her father disapproves the fact that he doesn't want to go to war. Sasha Wants to be a nurse and help people, but her father also disapproves of that. He says that girls like her shouldn't do somthing such as that. The sights are, too grusome. Thomas, the brother that wants to be a doctor, has been white feathered several time.When a man recives a white feather from a girl, is means they think he is a coward for not going to war. Sasha sounds like a normal girl of the early 1900s, but she is not, she sees things. She has visions of people's deaths. If she touchs them or touchs an object that they touched she can sense if they are already dead or if they will die soon. During Christmas, she and her family recive a card from Edgar saying that things are good and for them to have a merry christmas. Sasha's father won't let her or anyone else touch the card. So late one night she goes down and gets the card. She has to know if Edgar is still alive. When she touchs it, she is devistated, he is dead. She doesn't tell her family, they already think she is crazy enough. When the news reaches them Thomas decides to go to war. Their father finds a safe group for him to join after telling them that he was not going to be a doctor during the war, But Thomas refuses and says why should I be any safer than the rest of the men on the frontline. After he leaves, Sasha has a terrible dream where she sees thomas getting shot. She senses that it hasn't happened yet, but will happen soon. So she steals someone else's papers that gave premission to work at a hospital, nursing soldiers back to health in order to find her brother before her gets killed,too. In the hospital she hears of a man who is like her. He knows when people die,but he finds out just by looking at them. She talks to him and begs him to help her. He reluctantly says yes. So they start their search. To stay on the safe side, they found a uniform of a soldier who died and she put it on and they hacked her hair off. So they followed the devision Thomas was in. The men in his devision travelled on foot while Sasha and the doctor travelled by motorcycle. They quickly caught up to find out that they weren't there and went were they told them they had gone. They finally caught up and Sasha spotted Thomas. She called him and they ran to each other and hugged. He asked why she had come. She said that she came because she knew he was going to die soon, but he didn't believe her. He left. She asked the doctor to go after him he did and they both returned, but before the doctor left he gave her a gun and told her to protect herself. When they returned Sasha and thomas talked. He told her the real reason why he chose not to go into the safer group. He said it was because after Edgar died, he lost all desire to live and it was the quickest way to be killed. The only way her would come home was if he was injured bad enough that that they wouldn't let him go on any longer. So gun still in her hand as he turned and left, she raised the gun She aimed the gun at his leg, but the force of the recoil makes the bullet hit him in the chest, luckily missing him heart and lungs. So he lives.
Yes I liked the book. I liked it because it had a lot of suprising events in it. It was also mysterious. The thing that caught my eye was the fact that Sasha could see people's deaths. I gave it the rating i did becuase it didn't have a lot of thing that i look for in book. I also gave it the rating I did becuase it was good. It was interesting and mysterious and for that it was good. It was also well writen and It gave lots of facts. I was learning without realizing that I was learning. ( )
  monica.mott2191 | Mar 28, 2012 |
The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick is a unique blend of historical fiction and the supernatural side of sci-fi. Sedgwick uses World War I as the backdrop for his tale set in England and France. Through a series of collected thoughts, the reader follows Alexandra Fox as she reluctantly uses her ability to peek into the future and see death to prevent her brother Tom from being killed on the French Front.
Alexandra first experienced this curse when she was five and had a vision of her friend Cassandra’s impending death. This vision changed the way Alexandra’s family related to her and became a barrier between her and them.
At the outbreak of World War I, sixteen-year-old Alexandra wants to train as a nurse, but her father and oldest brother, Edgar, believe she is weak and incapable. They are both suspicious and hostile toward her ability to see the deaths of those around her.
Edgar soon joins the fight in France as an officer. Before long Tom, Alexandra’s other brother, enlists in the army as a private and follows Edgar across the Channel.
Alexandra struggles with accepting her visions and constantly suppresses them so that she can be seen as normal. Father reluctantly agrees to allow Alexandra to train as a nurse, all the while expecting her to fail. Meanwhile, Alexandra has been reading a collection of Greek myths and sees the parallel between her life and that of Cassandra in The Illiad.
Alexandra sees Tom’s death on the battlefield and runs away to France, in an attempt to take control of her visions and stop Tom’s death. Alexandra, who is travelling as a nurse, is assigned to a treatment station for injured soldiers where she is constantly barraged by death and the horrors of war. She soon meets Hoodoo Jack, a young soldier whose shares her ability to accurately foretell death. He uses his role as a battlefield messenger to help Alexandra find Tom’s division on the Front. Jack and Alexandra must race against time to get to Tom before her vision comes true.
The class structure and accepted system of proper behavior for young women that existed in World War I England make it an intriguing setting for the classic teenage themes of:
• Rejection based on things beyond our control
• Struggles with self-image
• Gaining acceptance by denying parts of yourself
• Trying to bear the responsibility for fixing a poor family life
• Strong desire to positively impact the lives of those around you
Running throughout The Foreshadowing is also the idea that war and death have no purpose. The causes of World War I or motivations for a soldier to fight (apart from a desire for excitement and adventure) are never addressed.
The plot of The Foreshadowing also contains a few inconsistencies in logic. For example, while Alexandra has visions of the deaths of the soldiers she is treating at the camp, she is expressing frustration about not knowing who to help first because she doesn’t know who will survive. Logically, if she has seen an imminent death, she knows that soldier is beyond her help.
Overall, The Foreshadowing is a fast-paced book that is difficult to put down. Sedgwick makes use of a unique style, counting down chapters backwards that culminate in Alexandra’s realization and acceptance of herself as a whole person.
I would recommend this book as a solid vehicle for introducing young teens to historical fiction, especially those who already enjoy modern gothic fiction.
1 vote miriamkb | Jan 21, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 055348785X, Mass Market Paperback)

It is 1915 and the First World War has only just begun.

17 year old Sasha is a well-to-do, sheltered-English girl. Just as her brother Thomas longs to be a doctor, she wants to nurse, yet girls of her class don't do that kind of work. But as the war begins and the hospitals fill with young soldiers, she gets a chance to help. But working in the hospital confirms what Sasha has suspected--she can see when someone is going to die. Her premonitions show her the brutal horrors on the battlefields of the Somme, and the faces of the soldiers who will die. And one of them is her brother Thomas.

Pretending to be a real nurse, Sasha goes behind the front lines searching for Thomas, risking her own life as she races to find him, and somehow prevent his death.

From the Hardcover edition.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:28 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Sasha Fox has the gift of being able to see the future, but as World War I approaches she is unsure how she can use her power to save her brothers and change their destiny.

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