This whole thing makes no sense. I miss SARS.
It was good while it lasted. All two chapters of this.
In some ways, this reminded me of reading Francine Pascal’s Sweet Valley books. In that series, each book focuses on Jessica, Elizabeth and the Sweet Valley crew getting into the shenanigan of the week: community play, the Unicorn Club going to Hawaii, Lizzie’s first kiss etc. In Don’t Even Think About It Bloomberg High School’s homeroom class of 10B collectively develop telepathic abilities after getting their flu shots. They can hear each other’s thoughts and the thoughts of those who haven’t been vaccinated.
I don’t know what everyone will expect from that premise, but I think I was sold on the sci-fi/paranormal potential of a group of high school kids with their freak abilities discovering something sinister and going against it.
Instead, this featured the repercussions of their collective telepathy in the lives of a handful of them: the shy hypochondriac who has to deliver a speech on Lyme Disease, the Queen Bee who cheated on her boyfriend, the girl with weight problems in love with her best friend and the class’ neurotic, know-it-all class number 2 who wants to be number 1.
This was unusually told from the perspective of the homeroom class as a single entity narrator much like a greek chorus occasionally dishing some snarky peanut gallery observations. And it was funny, I suppose, for a stretch as they realize what has happened. There were a lot of hilarious one-liners courtesy of the fifteen-year old brain picking on another fifteen-year old’s brain and embarrassing situations with the parents and their thin-walled bedrooms… but it just went on and on and on. It felt like the creativity peaked early on then stopped to wallow aimlessly in all that juvenile humour. It was all a one-note fail once everybody became “Espies”, alternating between unimpressive teen drama and unimaginative dilemmas.
It was bad enough when this flat out shifted from funny to annoying but the characters’ personality just made this barely tolerable. Mackenzie (the Queen Bee) cheats on her boyfriend, Cooper and gets vilified by the rest of the class for it when my question is why is she even with the guy in the first place?
Cooper cupped his ear with his open hand. “What’s up, 10B, can I get a boo-ya?”
“Boo-ya,” called out Nick Gaw from the side of the room. Nick was one of Copper’s good friends.
Cooper sighed with exaggerated disappointment. “That was lame, people. Lame. Lame-o. The Yankees won last night! I said give me a boo-ya!”
I have to like THAT guy? Pro-tip: should anybody meet me in real life, I am totally judging you if you say “boo-ya” to my face and smacking you should you expect me to respond in kind.
There’s shy, hypochondriac Olivia who finally bags a guy to date her…. by using her abilities on him to like her. And of course Tess, mind slut-shaming Sadie just because her best friend Teddy likes her more.
I mean, give me something to work with here.
The telepathy business will keep some interested enough (as I was) to finish this… I kinda wish I wasn’t. The semantics is just begging to be mocked but I’m going to leave that to someone else with enough fucks to give about this book to waste neurons on. The mystery about their uncanny abilities get picked up again as if an afterthought and resolved in a completely ridiculous manner. Just know it wasn’t worth sticking around for.
The good news is that this was pretty short and it did manage to deliver the unimpressive story quite clearly giving me very little conflict with myself while writing this.
ARC provided by Delacorte Press thru Netgalley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review. Quotes may not appear in the final edition.