Monday, February 24, 2014

Don't Even Think About It (Early Book Review)

Monday, February 24, 2014 10:04 AM with 14 comments

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Don't Even Think About It

Author: Sarah Mlynowski
Publisher: Random House
Number of Pages: 320
Release Date: March 11, 2014

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.


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MY THOUGHTS:

I've always been a huge fan of Sarah Mlynowski. Her Red Dress Inc (a now defunct chick-lit publishing company) books were some of my favorite fluffy reads in my 20s. If you like the chick-lit genre I definitely recommend you check out her backlist, especially Fishbowl, Monkey Business, and Me Vs. Me (just typing this is making me want to pick up some of her older stories--time for some rereading). She has now seemed to move away from the genre to concentrate solely on YA and MG books. Don't Even Think About It is her latest offering. 

Don't Even Think About It follows a group of New York City high school students who all share a homeroom. The school has organized flu shots into homerooms, and these students somehow get a batch that gives them mind-reading powers. Twenty-some students develop these powers, but, of course, the novel can only really focus on a handful of them. 

I'm going to address what will be the main complaint of this book up front. The story is told in first-person plural, meaning that the narrator(s) use the pronouns "us" and "we" to tell the story. I'll admit that this felt clunky for the first couple of chapters, but once the story got rolling, it didn't bother me in the least. Because these students are constantly--constantly--in each other's heads, it makes perfect sense that they would start thinking as a "we". I haven't read any reviews for this book, but I know that it is going to be a factor for some readers. 

Out of the students who develop the power, five really stand out as the "stars" of the story. The first two are Mackenzie and her boyfriend, Cooper. For weeks Mackenzie has been carrying around a secret: she cheated on Cooper with a boy in her building. She feels horribly guilty, but doesn't want to confess because she knows he will break up with her if he finds out. The other students, when they find out by listening in, can't help but feel like she would deserve getting the boot. Mackenzie's best friend, Tess, has also developed the gift. She can't wait to listen in on her best guy friend's thoughts to find out if he likes her as much as she likes him. I especially felt for Tess, who is obviously a bit overweight. Not only does she have to hear her own mother thinking to herself that her daughter shouldn't eat so much, but her best friend occasionally has really mean thoughts about how she looks, as well. Olivia is a shy girl who never voices her opinions and just goes along with the crowd. She is shocked to find out that a boy in her debate class has a crush on her and uses her new talent to her advantage while dating for the first time. Pi (named for her ability to recite pi to the whatever high number) asserts herself as the leader of the group. She doesn't want anybody to tell their parents or any authorities of their new powers. She is second in the class, but wants to be first to get into Harvard. She isn't about to let this power go to waste. 

Like any nerd worth her weight, I've long debated what super power I'd like to have if given the choice. Mind-reading is a hard one. If it's something that you could control, I think I'd want it, but, if like in this book, you were constantly bombarded by the thoughts of those around you, it would suck. The students could only turn it off by closing their eyes, and can only really hear those closest to them, but imagine having to hear all those mean little thoughts we all think sometimes. Imagine having to hear your parent's thoughts while they have sex (a particularly traumatizing event one of our students experiences)! Imagine having to hear somebody's OCD. It would all be too much.

Overall, I enjoyed Don't Even Think About It. I cared about the characters, although I certainly liked some more than others, and enjoyed the novelty of an otherwise fairly typical YA contemporary story. This isn't billed as a series, but I would definitely pick up a second book if it came out. If you enjoy fun, YA contemporary with a twist, I would recommend this one. If you can get past the first couple of clunky chapters, the first person plural definitely becomes more manageable. I thought it was pretty fun and will continue to pick up whatever Sarah Mlynowski puts out. 



14 comments:

  1. I haven't read many reviews on this one either, but I read one last week that said about the first person plural, which they found hard to get into. I tend to agree, because I would hate it, though I think I'd be able to if, like you said, it gets easier after the first couple of chapters. Hmm, it is hard to pick a superpower, though right now I wish I had a super reading power, because I seem to be reading really slow while my books short. :( Though mind reading would be fun, in certain aspects, but yeah, only if you could choose to turn it of/on. BUT SERIOSULY? A character hears their parents thoughts while having sex? Ouch. That's just- haha. I haven't read any Sarah Mlynowski before, but this one really does sound fun. :)

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    1. It really does get easier to read after the first couple of chapters. After that, I barely even noticed it. Super reading would be awesome. lol. I just get so distracted by other shit and don't get nearly as much reading done as I would like. Sarah M. is one of my favorites. I would definitely recommend looking her up. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. I really want to read this one - it sounds fun! I do wish the POV was different!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

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    1. It's hard at first, but I got used to it. I hope you like it if you do give it a try. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I have seen complaints about the first person plural perspective, but I won't let it deter me. I think this book will be really fun. I don't know why I haven't read it yet. Also, I'm with you, I'd only like the ability to read minds if I could control it. I don't want just anyone's errant thoughts in my head. Great review!

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    1. It really is pretty fun, and it's a quick read. Definitely give it a try. Mind-reading would be the WORST if you couldn't control it. Frankly, I don't think I'd want to know what most people are thinking. Thanks, Jen!

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  4. Ooh, that POV will definitely be a deal breaker for a lot of people, sadly. I think it would bother me until I got used to it unless it just really didn't work. I would actually dislike having the ability to read minds no matter what, aha!

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    1. It works, imo. Mind reading is definitely a hard one. I'd want it only if I could control it. In certain situations it could come in handy, but if I couldn't, than no way! Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. I'm glad that you liked this one so much more than I did. I thought that it had a lot of positive things, but I just couldn't get over the narrative and the fact that so many of the relationships were really unhealthy (imo). But I'm glad that there are fans out there and I have a feeling that a lot of teens will love this one to pieces as well. This was a great review from a totally different angle!

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    1. I checked out your review. I can see where you are coming from in your complaints, but, for the most part, I did enjoy this one. I feel like we differ quite a bit, but I still love you. :) Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. From the cover I would have no idea this had a paranormal element to it! I've only read one of her YA book and I found it to be ok, but this one sounds good. Like you, I like to be able to mind-read, if I could control it!

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    1. Right? It doesn't look like it would. It does really read more like contemporary, too--which I prefer, so I enjoyed it. Don't you love contemplating abilities--like it will ever happen. Lol. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. I don't think the first-person plural will bother me, and I love the premise of this novel. Sounds like a lot of characters to keep track of, though, but it sounds like you didn't have any trouble and they were fairly distinctive. I should be reading this one soon...glad you enjoyed it! ~Pam

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    1. I hope you enjoy it. Don't let the narration deter you; it really does get easier after just a couple of chapters. Thanks for stopping by!

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Hello, there! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I read each and every one and will do my best to respond--usually on your blog instead of on mine. I will, however, always answer direct questions. Due to serious time restraints, this blog is now an award free zone, but I appreciate the thought!