Monday, March 10, 2014

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

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.

Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: March 11th 2014 by Random House Children's Books 
(info grabbed from GoodReads)

I was skeptical when I got this off of NetGalley.  It really isn't something I would pick up as the cover seemed kind of cheesey -- I'm really picky about cheese.  I need a good Muenster or a sharp cheddar rather than cheep, run-of-mill, oil-based crap.  But DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT turned out to be a creamy cranberry cheese ball: sweet and surprisingly delicious.

When I started reading, I was a bit duped (because I judged a book by its cover) and thought, "Oh, another story about three savvy New Yorker (young) ladies -- never seen that before."  But this book is not about three savvy New Yorker ladies -- it's about the greater part of a home room of savvy New Yorkers.  Boys and girls.  Twenty two of them.  Anyway, the first chapter pulled me in and erased my doubts that this was just another book by dropping that the story will be told by all the mind readers at the same time.  It's third person limited, but in a way I'd never imagined. 

With over twenty characters as just narrators, it does get a little chaotic trying to keep everyone straight, but not nearly as chaotic as it could be.  The story focuses in on about five characters, with the others remaining not more than side characters.  After the novelty of the storytelling wore off a bit, I did miss that you don't get as emotionally involved with any one character.  But the story still worked and was enjoyable regardless.  It made the book a lighter read, but fresh and interesting in ways I didn't expect.

DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT was unexpected in its originality.  It is an interesting and new way to tell a story, and I really recommend it to anyone craving some lighter reading.  Like the creamy cranberry cheese ball, DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT is like a tasty appetizer as opposed to a deeply satisfying main course.  You don’t get too emotionally involved in any one character; I didn’t feel changed by the end of the book.  And sometimes, one might need that: an enjoyable read that left me with a small smile at the bittersweet ending.

Final Thought: 28 out of 35 toadstools

This review is also posted on GoodReads

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