(The Forbidden Minds trilogy, Book 1)
Fiction, YA Sci-Fi
DESCRIPTION: 17-year-old Sam never had a normal life, but then she's never been a normal girl. Like all the kids at her secluded school, known by the students as "Rent-A-Kid," she has paranormal abilities - in her case, telepathy. Clients pay big money to borrow teens like her for special projects, but it's not like she isn't being paid for her services. Over the years, she's built up quite a bank account. Now on the edge of 18, she's been assured acceptance into a New York college, where she'll go on to build a normal life among normal people with her earnings. That's what happens to everyone at Rent-A-Kid when they graduate. Or so Sam always thought...
She first saw the strange boy at the campus health clinic, strapped to a gurney with a bloody head wound. He cried out to her for help with his eye and his mind. Nobody
wants to talk about him, and this close to graduation Sam doesn't want to rock any boats, but she can't get him out of her mind... literally. Because of him, she starts to question everything she knows about her life, her talent... and what's really going to happen when she turns 18.
REVIEW: This grabbed me with a fast start, quickly sketching in Sam's life and her world, and establishing the vaguely questionable staff of "Rent-a-Kid." When she learns that she's been involuntarily enrolled in a breeding program, the tale threatens to wobble, but instead of degenerating into pro-life simpering Sam uses it as fuel to stoke her own determination to free herself, her mystery man, and her friends. Unfortunately, it unravels at the end, as the previously strong heroine collapses into a useless, weeping wreck. I'd hoped for a little more paranoia, more of a sense that even among her friends there might be spies and traitors willing to sell her out for her growing doubts, but the friend-versus-foe count breaks down pretty much as it appears, even without telepathy. While I've definitely read worse, it failed to engage my interest sufficiently for me to follow the rest of the trilogy.