Saturday, April 7, 2018

Don't Even Think About It (Sarah Mlynowski)

Don't Even Think About It
The Don't Even Think About It series, Book 1
Sarah Mlynowski
Fiction, YA Humor/Romance/Sci-Fi
**** (Good)

DESCRIPTION: They used to be ordinary sophomores in New York City, sharing nothing but homeroom 10B at Bloomberg High School in Tribeca. Many didn't even talk to each other - save Cooper, who couldn't seem to shut up. But after they got their flu vaccines, everything changed...
Now they all know what Mackenzie did during summer break with the hot senior boy in her apartment building, despite being Cooper's girlfriend. Now they know how Olivia's taking after her hypochondriac mother even though she hates it, and how Tess obsesses about weight. Now they know Sadie was the first in the class to lose her virginity, though she wishes her boyfriend would use a breath mint once in a while.
Somehow, the injections gave them telepathic powers. And life - plus Mackenzie's upcoming Sweet Sixteen bash - is going to get a lot more interesting... and a lot more dangerous.

REVIEW: It looked like a lightweight little young adult tale, some high school angst and humor with a sci-fi twist, and I was looking for a quick read. While it did read fast, it turned out to have a lot more heft to it. It's also the first tale I can recall reading written in first person plural; thanks to telepathy, the viewpoint often bleeds between characters, yet with more intimacy than generalized omniscient narration, the whole becoming more than the sum of its parts. This made for a more interesting read than I'd anticipated, in a good way. The students find their ordinary lives turned upside-down now that nobody - not their teachers, not their families, not their classmates or even strangers on the street - can keep secrets from them. Reactions range from panic to despair to utter elation, often mingled together as drawbacks and opportunities related to ESP present themselves. There's some teen angst, and hookups and breakups (not always obvious choices), but with the added telepathy element none of it came across as cheesy or contrived; these are well-rounded characters, not gum-popping demographic cardboard cutouts. The ending felt a little rushed, but since there's a sequel I'm giving it the benefit of any doubt. I'll have to track down more works from this author, I expect; anyone who can pull off first person plural is someone I want to read more of. (I also found it a far more interesting tale of involuntary telepathy than Connie Willis's Crosstalk, for all that the latter tale and author are so celebrated; every single sophomore had a more mature reaction to their power than Willis's heroine...)

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