Monday, May 6, 2013

YA Book Pick: Mind Games

Once a month, we choose an outstanding YA book to review. We want to spotlight books of interest to aspiring writers, as well as highlight some of our favorite books and authors!

This month's Book Pick is MIND GAMES by Kiersten White

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways…or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.

First Line: My dress is black and itchy and I hate it.

I love how White utilizes the sense of touch right from the get-go. It’s far easier to rely on sight and sound, but much better to get a visceral reaction by focusing on a lesser-used sense like touch, taste, or smell as she has done here. It’s a simple line, but also relatable, and gives us a sense of who the mc is. Reminds me that sometimes simple and elegant works better than the overwrought sentences I’m sometimes tempted to concoct.  

Highlights:  This book moves. Fast. White spins us through a world of hard choices for a couple of sisters who are trapped in a cruel game. The tenderness between the sisters is palpable and the heart of the book. The love relationships feel more real and complex and broken than I’m used to in YA. I really liked it. I’d gone to hear a lecture on the complex darkness of covert wars the night before reading it and had a similar ache reading this book as I did hearing about the brutality of war the night before.

Notes for Writers:  White doesn’t tell the story chronologically. She begins in the present, but then provides flashbacks from various time periods throughout to fill in the backstory. She also tells the story from two perspectives. This structure is difficult to pull off, but since it’s done well here, it adds a tone of a sense of loss of control over memories, or even time itself. That tone really enhances the theme of how broken one may get when she loses of control the basic structures of her life.

White keeps command of the story through all the time jumps by anchoring us in the present, and titles each chapter with the name of the girl who is telling the story as well as how long ago the story occurred for clarity.

Be on the lookout for the poetic ending, too, it’s more beautifully broken and insightful than I was expecting from such an action-heavy work.

A Good Read For: Fans of dystopian who’d like a female Jason Bourne twist on the genre, as well as fans of White’s Paranormalacy series, which I also enjoyed (personally, I think White has really come into her own in this series, though, and knocked it out of the park here.)



  1. Sounds like an interesting read!

  2. I like the first line. Relatable alright.

  3. I like the cover. I wonder how your students would rate it.

  4. I wonder how much longer the dystopian novel trend will last?!

    1. Yes, the world is sad enough.