Sunday, August 4, 2013

Kasie West, Pivot Point

Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)84. I really enjoyed Kasie West's debut novel, Pivot Point. There's a lot to love about it, starting with the engaging premise: Addison Coleman lives in a top-secret community in the contemporary US that's a haven for people with advanced mind abilities: telepathy, persuasion (her mom's ability), the ability to detect any lie (her dad's), and many more. Addie herself has something much rarer: she's a Clairvoyant (technically: Divergent) who, when faced with a decision in her life, can "search" along two alternate pathways. Her Searches feel so real to her that it's as if she's lived these alternative lives, which can be awkward, for example, when Addie's pressed to give a reason why she said no to a guy who just wanted to ask her out. But for the most part, her searches have been over minor decisions: go out with this guy? Study this subject?

Until she comes home to find her parents are divorcing, and she has to choose. Normally, this might be hard, but not impossible. But Addie's dad is leaving the compound--if Addie chooses to go with him, she has to choose to masquerade as Normal and leave all her high-tech gadgets behind her.

The book follows Addie on two alternating paths (alternating chapter by chapter): one is her real life, the other is a Search--but you don't find out which is which until the very end. It's to West's credit that she keeps both story lines compelling and engaging, and it's easy to see the overlaps between the two alternating realities. And while romance features prominently in both lines (different boys, of course), romance isn't the only--or even the main--plot point for the books.

One of the things that made the story work for me was how much I liked the characters, especially Addie. Unlike so many heroines in paranormal romances (and elsewhere) these days, Addie wasn't extreme: she wasn't particularly brave, or kick-ass, or confrontational, or rule-breaking . . . she was just Addie. I think that made her more relatable for me.

The story isn't particularly deep: but it's fun, fast, interesting, and--maybe more importantly--doesn't feel like a lot of other books out there. Highly recommended for YA fans.

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