Don’t Even Think About It, by Sarah Mlynowski, Random House Children’s (2014), 9780385737388, $17.99
I was lucky enough to be chosen by Random House to review an advanced copy of this book, by Sarah Mlynowski, who I fondly remember from her Red Dress Ink chick lit days. I thoroughly enjoyed her book Milkrun, so I was excited to see that she was writing YA. The plot is certainly different: a group of New York teens, attending Bloomberg Public High school down in Tribeca, develop ESP after receiving a tainted batch of flu shot at school.
Ms. Mlynowski has her ensemble cast: Cooper and Mackenzie the young lovers, one of whom has a secret; Pi, the overachiver; Olivia, the shy girl; BJ, the pervert; Tess, the one with the unrequited love for her best friend – these personalities and more are all here, which gives a feeling of familiarity to those reading the book. You know these kids – we’ve been these kids, in many cases. The characters aren’t soul-searching, and don’t require that depth of character for this quick read. It’s a situational piece of fiction.
What interested me was not the superficial teens, because they mostly are – even “the brain”, Pi, who uses her powers to try and get ahead of the number one student in the school so she can get the vaunted Harvard acceptance letter – it was how they dealt, on their own levels, with their newfound abilities. They didn’t take to Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook to discuss it with the world. They kept it quiet. They didn’t want anyone to know, because they live in a day and age where they know they’d be poked and prodded like test animals, or even worse, have their ability – something to give them an edge, to make them special – taken away from them. At the same time, Mlynowski creates an interesting portrait of what these abilities do to their bearers. It’s not always predictable, and it was enjoyable to see things play out.
The book is suggested for 16 and over for some language and situations. For a quick, light read between tests and papers, Don’t Even Think About It will fit nicely in your backpack.