Melissa and Kasho: Camille Chance
Creating a safe haven for a young child is what parents are supposed to do but when you meet Melissa you will learn just the opposite in many respects. Parents that were dominating, abusive and controlling and demanded full compliance or the punishments were stiff. Imagine living in an enclosed space like a bank safe with a combination lock on the outside and you inside looking at the four steel walls with no way to escape. Each moment you are inside you realize that pieces of your heart, mind and soul are being chipped away until there’s nothing left but a shadow. Melissa’s parents send her to a boarding school hoping that she will be molded to become a high class young adult and marry the man of their personal choice. Perfection is the answer but Melissa as we get to know her has views of her own, hopes to fly free but until she sees this inside herself, the only ceiling she will see is the steel gray one in this safe. When will the top be lifted and the sunshine on her face? Terror engulfs her whenever she is with her parents mainly her father who claims that he owns her lock, stock and barrel until she’s 21. Seeing something that she wrote in English class he wants to see the final copy and if ever a parent could discourage someone from ever wanting to learn, he is the prime example.
Within this school she befriends Robin who seems to understand her and yet at times she scares her with her predictions and dreams. Then she sees a spirit named Kasho who engulfs her with love, courage giving her the chance to see her as she really is and not how others view her. Courage will she ever soar?
Friendships are precious within this book as we meet Daisy but first Kasho is inspirational, filled with understanding and allowing Melissa to explore her inner self and understand that she is more than what her parents have instilled in her heart and mind.
There are many who are bullied by others not just their parents and revert within themselves and hide under a dark shadow afraid to feel the warm sun fearing to be criticized even more. Kasho is a spirit that she was able to connect with and love when they were both just spirits from another world. His physical transformations from old to young hoping to connect with her more, shows the reader and Melissa how he wants to guide her, instill hope, love and understanding within herself for herself and not be judged by others. Music will fill her heart as she wants to create songs and Kasho will make sure she hears them within her heart even before it comes out in musical form. He is fun, she travels all over with him and he describes his life, his home and his world.
Daisy is a songwriter and they immediately bond but her parents resent this, her openness, her freedom to have some type of freewill and things take a different turn.
Relationships are varied and while Melissa is learning more about Kasho and going into his world she eventually returns to her classroom and reality sets in.
Her brother was her protector and her parents made sure his life ended on a harsh note. Imperfection is not allowed and his life had to be terminated as he was sickly and an embarrassment to them. So, why does Melissa blame herself?
Her life is programmed by her parent’s wishes and whims and yet through Kasho she might become a free person able to make her own choices, decisions and realize that she matters and not be controlled by others. He even encourages her to create songs, music and what we read that she creates allows readers to know at least for a short time she seems free.
Daisy is a strong character and has a great impact on Melissa from the moment they meet at the dress shop and their connection is strong. Kasho is always there guiding her and telling her how she is beginning to tune into his tribe, the fact that he is imprisoned and he can be free to guide her is inspirational.
Every step of the way Kasho guides Melissa but it’s up to her to create the world she wants to live in even though he’s there to energize her and give her the moral support she needs. The issues of bullying, self-esteem, self-worth, understanding, tolerance, domination, parental abuse, friendship, trust, love and hope all come through within this powerful story for all young adults and teens to read and understand the power of choice.
Things take on many different turns and Melissa has visions and reminds readers about what her father and mother want of her and that’s domination. Sending Christopher to blindside her and try and reel her in to marrying him creating some interesting yet disturbing scenes. As Robin and Christopher planned to take Melissa by surprise in many ways as truths come out and Melissa has to decide in which direction to take her life and where. Daisy plays an important role in her life but then Melissa discards her and they part for a long while. Kasho is there to guide her and bring her back into the fold and hopefully teach her that she’s free spirit and needs to get away from her parents and their wants but Melissa seems brainwashed at times and wants to gain their trust and love until a harsh truth is learned. Daisy shares her life and her family while Melissa explains what her parents want, expect and that she has no choice but to succumb to whatever they want but will she realize there are choices to be made and she has the power to change it all? Reflecting on her memories of Kim her brother and then we get to meet someone special at a dance that she finally realizes she might be able to break free from the hold that her parents placed on her through Christopher.
Daisy tries to explain to Melissa that unity, open communication and respect are important to all of us as a family. Her house is filled with love, music, art and chaos. Coming back at her with her father’s harsh words that there are too many books in the world and no daughter of mine is going to add to them. Each chapter is another journey in her life in this school and each one helps readers to understand and anticipate what is going to happen next to Melissa and will she finally break free? Daisy tries to mentor her in many ways and make her realize that she needs to live with joy, hope and out of her parent’s clutches. The scenes with Robin, Roland and the others are quite disturbing at times but the final dance and the love of the Contessa and Signorina Cecchi, Professor Burnelleschi are heartwarming and the final scenes will endear you to them and others as Melissa will either come of age and realize that she can control her own destiny in life as author Camille Chance brings us all into the mind, heart and final decision of one young girl who will either remain chained to her parents or finally like a newborn butterfly fly free. Will Kasho remain in her heart and her visions? Why would she think she would fail him? Kasho/Melissa each in their own galaxy and each in the heart and mind of each other forever. The ending will be a new beginning but where will it begin or be for Melissa? Read this heartfelt important coming of age novels for young girls to understand how to fight bullying, overcome their fears and understand that life is about making choices, dealing with obstacles and remembering you have your own identity and you are not anyone’s property.
Fran Lewis: just reviews/MJ magazine