Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski
(Available March 11 2014)
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.
Everyone's wondered what it would be like if they suddenly developed ESP. We've all thought about what we'd use it for, and most people would probably just snoop on their friends and family. In Don't Even Think About It, twenty-two New York highschoolers get that chance.
Don't Even Think About It has the all the makings of a great YA: a healthy dose of humor, strong characters, and a little bit of drama. All of the characters were engaging and had their own personalities, and they played off each other well. Their personal struggles kept me just as interested in the plot as the ESP element did. Plus, the romance in the book was fairly well done and wasn't forced, nor were any of the other relationships.
I liked that Mlynowski's characters weren't very stereotypical, and that their ESP powers were original. The side effects of the powers, their limits, and their capabilities went beyond the cut-and-dry definition of ESP. I'm not inclined to believe there's any scientifically realistic way to get ESP, but the book's explanation with the flu shots was thought out and at least didn't involve gamma rays.
If it hadn't been for the drama in each character's personal life, the plot would probably have been a little boring. As it was, the book was somewhat anticlimactic. Little hints about danger and new abilities to come were dropped throughout the book, but they never really came to fruition. It felt like a tease, but if that means there's a sequel on the horizon, I would be very tempted to read it.
Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) by Sarah Mlynowski
If given the opportunity, what sixteen-year-old wouldn’t jump at the chance to move in with a friend and live parent-free? Although maybe “opportunity” isn’t the right word, since April had to tell her dad a tiny little untruth to make it happen (see #1: “Lied to Our Parents”). But she and her housemate Vi are totally responsible and able to take care of themselves. How they ended up “Skipping School” (#3), “Buying a Hot Tub” (#4) and, um, “Harboring a Fugitive” (#7) is a mystery to them. To get through the year, April will have to juggle a love triangle, learn to do her own laundry, and accept that her carefully constructed world might just be falling apart…one thing-she-shouldn’t-have-done at a time.
Sarah Mlynowski’s book isn’t awful - but by no means is it one of my favorites. I found April’s story to be a little bit unrealistic. Especially for realistic fiction. Her living arrangement would never happen in real life (and if it did, I’m glad I don’t have those parents). April herself isn’t very relatable. She’s aa mishmash of teenage sterotypes - having wild parties, being super hot, having tons of friends, and a fixation on losing her virginity.
However, despite these small flaws, Ten Things isn’t a half bad story. There are funny bits, and sad bits, and Mlynowski is a good writer. The character Dean makes a great addition to the story, plus the “tiny little untruth” April and Vi have to maintain.
If you’re looking for an easy read in-between bigger ones, Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn’t Have) is the way to go.
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