Unusual Confusion by Ada Almond

Unusual Confusion by Ada Almond
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Young Adult/Middle Grade, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (116 pages)
Age Recommendation: 12+
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

“I was an outsider all my life. The only people in this world that wanted me were my family. But I had a way of escaping that world. I had my own world.”
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Lexi Miller never had any friends. She was the type of girl who would always get bullied, sit in a corner by herself at break, never put her hand up in class. She kept quiet, to not make the situation worse. She was a freak, and with psychic powers too. At age 5 she discovered a weird secret about herself – she could teleport to her very own dimension, which she used as a coping mechanism. But as it usually happens in story beginnings like these, someone comes along and saves the lonely main character. The “hero” in this book is the new girl Melodine Saunders. Lexi is confused about her feelings, the butterflies in her stomach fluttering stronger every time the girls meet. Gradually, she starts working things out and everything is finally going as planned. Until one day, unusual things – more unusual than normal, that is – start happening. Lexi shrugs them off, but you can’t put things off forever…

Sometimes the quiet kids are the most interesting ones of them all.

Lexi was a well-developed and sympathetic character. One of the things I liked the most about her was how realistically her voice was written. She acted and sounded exactly like a young teen her age should act and sound. That isn’t an easy thing to accomplish by any means! Ms. Almond put a lot of effort into this subtle but important part of writing this genre, and her hard work was appreciated by this reader.

I would have preferred to see more time spent developing the sections of the plot that talked about Lexi’s ability to transport to her own dimension. It was nothing like what I expected it to be. As fascinated as I was by the explanation for how this worked and why it wasn’t part of the science fiction genre like I originally assumed, it sure would have been nice to have more information here.

The subplot of this story about bullying was handled sensitively. Some of the best scenes in it involved how the adults in Lexi’s life reacted to hearing about the way she was mistreated by certain classmates. Their responses were as compassionate as they were realistic. I also enjoyed reading about how Lexi herself coped with all of the teasing. That’s a difficult thing for any kid to go through, and her coping mechanisms were good ones.

Unusual Confusion should be read by any preteen or teen who feels lonely or misunderstood.

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