Secrets. Scandals. ESP. A terrific and sexy new novel about a group of Tribeca teens from Sarah Mlynowski that will immediately appeal to fans of realistic fiction as well as readers who enjoy a little magic.
This book had so much promise. I picked up this book not expecting anything remotely resembling fine literature, but rather something cheeky, hilarious, and probably a bit cheesy. Unfortunately it failed to deliver.
Juggling 20+ narrators, their thoughts, and the overheard thoughts of those around them is definitely tricky. People also think many inane and embarrassing things. While I give the author kudos for attempting to handle this, to pull it off the ESP needs to have more limits just for the consistency, scope, and flow of the story, OR needs to be significantly more detailed and involved which would easily bog down the story. Instead the story rotates through a range of characters of limited personality in a world where everyone thinks in focused complete sentences.
The premise is that a tainted batch of vaccine results in this group of kids developing telepathy, a process that changes how they interact with the world around them and largely serves to remove social nicety filters. It doesn't remove snap judgement or add to the ability to understand eachother's feelings though, just allows for better propagation of drama. The powers that be realize they messed up, offer the families probably less than any of the parent's individual annual salaries to take a cure and not talk about it to anyone (let's skip over the whole remarkable speed at which a cure was developed and the fact that the preference is to cover up rather than study actual cases of telepathy). Drama occurs, kid's decide if they want to stay "espies," and in the end everyone is just a-OK with what they decide.
This may be a bit of a nitpick but I have trouble with ESP that has no empathy component. I know it isn't required, but let's be honest, people don't necessarily always think in words, and definitely not always in complete sentences. A train of thought may involve single words, sounds, remembered scents, emotions, images, sensations, etc. Maybe I'm more picking up on this because in so many works of science fiction and fantasy emotions do come through at least in some level through ESP.
Over all my biggest issue with this book is it seems to assume the readers are idiots. I substitute teach elementary through high school, and while many of the classes may make me despair for the future of humanity, there are a lot of very bright kids. This book is targeted at teens but reads as if it's written for pre-teens. A book for 8-year-olds who want to read about the secret and scandalous life of the nearly 16.