Monday, March 17, 2014

Review - Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski

Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Release Date: March 11, 2014
Pages: 336
Goodreads Rating: 3.57 Stars
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
My Content Rating: YA (Talk of sex, but none is shown)

Summary from Goodreads: Contemporary teen fiction with romance, secrets, scandals, and ESP from the author of Ten Things We Did (And Probably Shouldn't Have).

We weren't always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn't expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we've kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what's coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same.
So stop obsessing about your ex. We're always listening.

Don't Even Think About It was a light, fun read.  In this story, an entire high school homeroom develops mind-reading abilities.  Sounds cool, right?  Or maybe not.  

The book is narrated in an interesting style - by the group (using "we").  Because they can all read each other's minds, the group kind of thinks and responds as a unit.  This took a little getting used to, but I thought it was a clever way to handle the narration.

The negatives:
  • Typical teen angst.  Now, this book isn't particularly edgy and it doesn't have a lot of paranormal suspense.  The kids don't need to run from the government or save humanity or anything like that - it's not that type of book.  Instead, it's a lighthearted look at typical high school drama with ESP thrown in to make it all a bit messier.  You shouldn't go into this book looking for anything profound.  Still, I think it hits the spot for the YA audience it's aimed at.
  • Mackenzie.  I had a hard time with the character of Mackenzie.  I didn't know whether I should dislike her (as it sometimes seemed the group narrator did) or feel sorry for her.  In the end, she managed a bit of self-discovery, but we didn't get to see her put her new self-awareness into practice at all, which I thought was a bit of a shame.  I had to kind of make up my own ending for Mackenzie and hope that she did some growing after the book was over.
What I loved:
  • The ESP.  Okay, so I kind of love that the author took this idea of ESP, which is kind of cool on the one hand, and showed how it would also really mess you up.  I mean, do we always want to know what people are thinking - especially when they're thinking about us.  In some cases, it was really helpful, like in the case of Olivia.  She had a lot of self-confidence issues and it actually really helped her to know that her classmates were not focused on her nearly as much as she thought they were - plus she got to hear the thoughts of a boy who liked her - definitely a confidence booster.  Then there was Mackenzie, who didn't want her boyfriend to know that she had cheated on him.  Kind of inconvenient when your whole class can hear your every thought.  I liked how this book explored both sides of the ESP coin - sure it's cool to know what people are thinking, but it can also be kind of tough when they all know what you're thinking too!  Plus, there are times when you really don't want to know what everyone else is thinking.  Some things are better left unsaid!
  • Olivia's transformation.  I already mentioned that the ability to read minds really helped Olivia.  I appreciated her transformation from an overly shy wallflower to a girl who wasn't afraid to speak her mind.  I thought that her foray into romance was fun and interesting - especially when things don't go the way she expects (same goes for Tess, actually).  
So, while this book isn't going to change your life, it will definitely entertain you.  I give it 3.5/5 stars.

***Disclosure: This book was provided to me by NetGalley and Delacorte Press in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given. All opinions are my own***

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