Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski (May 2014, Hachette Children’s Books) received from NetGalley (cheers!)
“This is the story of how we became freaks. It’s how a group of I’s became a we.
When Class 10B got their flu shots, they expected some side effects. Maybe a sore arm. Maybe a headache. They definitely didn’t expect to get telepathy. But suddenly they could hear what everyone was thinking. Their friends. Their teachers. Their parents. Now they all know that Tess has a crush on her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper. Some of them will thrive. Some of them will break. None of them will ever be the same.”
Such a cool concept! I was really eager to get stuck into this one. I mean, imagine all the potential chaos! And I’ve always loved those books/films with an element of mind reading in them (the pinnacle being ‘What Women Want’ – GREAT film).
Unfortunately, this book didn’t quote delver what I was expecting. Ultimately I felt too old for it, I think. And that takes some doing when I habitually read YA and teen fiction like I’m still a happy inbetweenager.
So, what did I like?
- Concept – This has a great concept. I was willing to go along with it- dodgy flu jabs + mean teens = fun. For sure. And I was really interested to see how it would play out, and how it might be explained etc.
- Tess – I felt like I was wading through a miasma of characters and perspectives, but wading out of the way, I really liked Tess. She felt the most well-rounded of the group.
What didn’t work for me?
- Bombardment! – From the off I felt like I was being pelted with different characters and habits and attributes- I had a real job separating them. Just one big blobby blur of teens. I also felt like some of the characters were more like a pastiche to every teen movie ever made. The jock, the mean girl, the dork, the pervy kid.. you know, those types that we know are there in fiction and film, but we kinda try to move away from now because it’s done to death. I think my main issue was that I wasn’t given enough time to properly digest each character. I need that time to process, and to care.
- Plot? – Is there one, really? Except for getting a boyfriend? I mean, don’t get me wrong. I love a good romance as part of a story, but there wasn’t much else to go on here- these kids can read minds! Let’s go full-on SF or something. Let’s go government conspiracy. THEY’RE PUTTING IT IN THE WATER! …Or we can just have a super sweet 16 party. I just wanted more. More questioning, more ‘what has happened to us?’ , a little more panic about the situation.. or something.
It was a light read, and I think it’s a fun piece of true teen literature. It plays up to that ‘what if we could read each others thoughts’ scenario perfectly- and that becomes both its strength and its weakness.
A fun read. But it lacked muchness. I don’t hate it. But I don’t particularly love it either. I felt the concept could have been better explored or handled, and although it was entertaining, it doesn’t really compare to some of the YA/teen reads I’ve had the pleasure of lately. I’m giving it 2.5 stars– I feel so middle-of-the-road about it :s