Netgalley approved me to review another book from their library, this one coming out in the next couple of months. Opinions are my own, of course. Reading this makes me want to go back and read some of Mlynowski’s adult novels, so those are now on my to-read list for the coming year. Original review and book information can be found at http://www.goodreads.com. Go sign up for an account.
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It’s been years since I’ve read a book by Mlynowski, so I was pleasantly surprised when Netgalley.com gave me the opportunity to read this one, especially because the premise sounded so interesting.
After a group of high school students gets a “bad” batch of flu vaccines, they find they can read minds. For some, this is a pretty good deal: they can ace tests, know what the guy they like is thinking, and get over their fears about what other people think about them. For others, it brings about more painful side affects, like having to hear the boy they like lust after another girl and knowing way too much about their parents. It’s also the catalyst that brings together a group of students who have a common bond and who have to navigate the ins and outs of suddenly having “super powers.”
The premise of this book is interesting. High school is a tough time anyway, and this story poses the question of whether telepathy would make it harder or easier to get through those years. Each character their own unique experience, and the author maintains the awkwardness and angst of high school while keeping with the stereotypes: the brain, the nerd, the jock, the perv, the popular girl, the shy girl, and so on.
I believe the book is supposed to be humorous, and there were parts that made me laugh. Overall, though, I thought it was a little bit creepy. The point of view starts as first person plural (we and us). Because the individual anecdotes switch to mostly third person, it’s a little unsettling when, in the middle of third person narrative, a line from the group pov reminds the readier of who is actually telling the story. And some of these lines sound a little evil.
For me, the creepiness works better anyway, since I find the concept of mind reading to be a little unsettling.
The writing was good and most of the characters were likable. It was fun to “see” what other people were thinking through the ears of the Espies (as the group eventually calls themselves). There were a few scenes that seemed to go on a little longer than needed (the lunchtime meetings). I’m also not entirely sure what the changing of their eye color had to do with anything other than a convenient way for people to tell they’d been dosed with the bad vaccine (unless this is the start of a series, in which case it makes for good set up for more intrigue in later novels).
This was an entertaining quick read that I think other readers, especially fans of YA Fiction, will enjoy.