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.
Don't Even Think About It (Don't Even Think About It #1)Featured
What worked: Hilarious with a fun voice. Think Gossip Girls get a funky flu shot that has them able to read minds! Can you even imagine what Gossip Girl would have done with this super power? I loved the one title one of the teens came up with on describing their 'super power': The Espies. Sure they might have become mutants with the ability to hear everyone's thoughts and getting purple colored eyes but think of what they could do with their new so-called powers!
And they hear EVERYTHING. Nothing is secret anymore. That includes not only the secrets of other teens in their high school, but their parents and other adults--the nurse was a stripper!
The dialogue had a great beat and I laughed out more than a few times. BJ and Tess were hilarious together. I also could relate with Olivia's fear of just about everything. And Mackenzie's self-destructive behavior on cheating on her boyfriend Cooper felt real too.
What I had issues with: There are way too many characters to keep straight. I had to stop more than a few times and go back to figure out who was who. Some of the characters were quirky enough while others felt a little one dimensional to me. Like Pi, who is only the second smartest in her school. Tess who is in love with her BFF Teddy. I almost wonder if the cast was limited to a few characters, this might have made this story even stronger.
Also the omnipresent point of view threw me at times. The author go into one character's head and then would say 'we', meaning the whole homeroom class that were affected by the flu shot. I had a hard time with this as it was jarring and took me out of an otherwise engaging story. But that's just my opinion.
This is a fun new series with teens who develop the ability to read minds. I read it in one sitting. Now curious what will happen in the sequel.
Back in the day, when I was obsessed with chick lit, Sarah Mlynowski was one of the authors I loved to read. Seems like she followed me over to YA, but I’d actually not read any of her YA novels until now. I was actually a bit hesitant to try Don’t Even Think About It, because it sounded like the premise could easily go really wrong. At the same time, though, I was powerless to resist a book about people getting mind reading powers. Don’t Even Think About It is a totally silly, humorous fluff fest that kept me laughing along with the audiobook, which is masterfully performed.
Unlike most of the books that I read and enjoy, Don’t Even Think About It‘s strengths aren’t of characterization. The cast is a bit too large for me to be able to really emotionally bond with any of them. They do move past stereotypes in pretty much every case, but there’s really just not too much screen time spent on any one character. In fact, the biggest weakness was the distance placed between the audience and the individuals by the narrative style.
Mlynowski chose to tell Don’t Even Think About It as though the entire class is sitting down together and crafting the story. It’s obviously a stylistic choice, but not one which particularly worked for me. Any time the “we” would show up, I’d tilt my head at the audiobook for a bit and then carry on my merry way. It didn’t end up being a huge detractor, but it definitely didn’t add to my experience, and a third person perspective would have performed the same role but been less distracting.
What I Liked:
Aside from those factors, though, Don’t Even Think About It was just SO much fun. Now, the premise is totally one that you just have to run with. It’s utterly improbable and I’m sure science would frown at it, but science and I aren’t really on speaking terms, so I don’t care. This homeroom class goes to get flu shots and, everyone who got the shot gets telepathic powers. It totally bums me out that I would have been one of the two people in class without telepathy, but not enough to change my mind about the flu shot.
Don’t Even Think About It stays pretty surface level. It’s a comedy, not a deep consideration of the impact abilities like mind reading would have on a young mind. The goal is to make you smile, not to make you do a whole lot of thinking. That said, I was actually impressed at the range of themes that Mlynowski touched on in a meaningful way. She may not have gone too deep, but a lot of characters did have their little personal growth arcs that were really positive. I especially loved watching Olivia come out of her shell a bit. There’s some over the top drama, but I also had a couple of cute ships to root for, so it kind of balanced out.
What impressed me most about this book, though, was the audiobook. I mean, holy shit. There are SO many characters and there’s narration, spoken dialog AND thought dialog. This could easily have been confusing to the level of being incomprehensible. Listening Library totally hit this one out of the park. For one thing, Erin Spencer has a great voice for this book. She totally pulls off the sort of pampered teen thing without sounding obnoxious. Plus, they managed to clearly differentiate the spoken and thought dialog by making all of the thoughts sound like they were spoken in a hollow space. It was very effective, and I never had any problems following along..
The Final Verdict:
If you like your books to be super serious and stuff, then Don’t Even Think About It probably isn’t a great choice for you. However, if, like me, you’re a sucker for mind reading plots, can embrace silliness, and don’t mind some teen romantic drama, I totally recommend this for when you’re looking for something light. Also, the audiobook is FANtastic, so, if you like those, then I would like to push the audiobook version at you, because it’s brilliant.
Told in third person, the story mostly highlights Mackenzie, Tess, Olivia and Pi. Mackenzie cheated on her boyfriend Cooper, a fact that everyone in the Espies (their group) knows about. Tess has a crush on Teddy, but can’t stand to hear him mooning over another girl. Olivia is shy but the ESP helps her get out of her shell, and Pi – well, Pi is just looking how to use the new power to her advantage. The others have their own sets of problems each, and even having a group as a support who know everything, it can get crowded in their heads. Granted they all stick to each other, but within themselves there is a lot of judging and gossiping going on – all thanks to no privacy. It’s all teenage drama but there is no escape for them even within their heads. Friendships are deepened and strained, couples are created and broken up, and shocking truths come forward.
The story progressed quite well, the plot layered into each character’s storyline. The pace was good, engrossing and never a dull moment. The writing, I am not so sure about – it was okay, and since it is teenspeak, it excelled there but felt like something was lacking. I’ve read the author’s other book Ten Things We Did, and the writing in this one was not at par to the latter. Nevertheless, it was a good book and am looking forward to the sequel. (It did say it was ‘coming soon’)