Tag Archives: Mlynowski

don’t even think about it

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Is it possible for a book to be written in the fourth person? Is there such a thing? Maybe, if you don’t know who is telling the story.  Or maybe, if everyone is telling the story.

Class 10B at Bloomberg High School in Tribeca received their flu vaccines at lunch, October 2.  They were prepared for the usual side effects, maybe a headache or a sore arm.  Worse case scenario, an adverse reaction that required hospitalization.

But by the next morning, a group of them could hear voices in their heads.  Very specific voices.  The voices in their heads were the thoughts of the people around them. The day after, more joined the group, and within days, all 22 that had received the vaccine were experiencing the same condition.

Suddenly, telepathy.  They could hear the thoughts of their friends, parents, their crushes. The group knows that Mackenzie cheated on Cooper, that Olivia is paralyzed with fear and shyness every day she enters the school, that Pi cheated on a test, that Courtney takes Adderall for an edge, and, gross, that Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper. And they decide to keep it all a secret.

Well, as much a secret as possible when 22 teens know the same information.

How will they all handle this newfound ability?  What will it do to friendships, relationships, ambitions and just day to day living?  What would it do to you? What if you can no longer tell whose thoughts are in your head?

The book is hilarious.  And smart.  But MAN.  Can you imagine this happening at your high school? When someone talked, you knew what they were really thinking…  So much for the little white lie. “You look gorgeous!” (those jeans make your butt look huge) “I’m sure I failed that test!” (as if I would ever) “The food here is disgusting.” (I wonder if he’s going to finish his fries?) “I really like you!” (I thought about my ex while we kissing)

While it is a quick read, it is not a mindless one, and can actually mess with your head a bit. There are fundamental questions of honesty and privacy examined; what does the person next to you, friend or stranger, have a right to know? Or voice an opinion on? Is it ok to read a boy’s mind to find out if he likes you? What if it helps the relationship move along?

Sarah Mlynowski is a well-known YA author for a very good reason.  She knows how to write characters. They are fun and authentically teen, with all the insecurities and boldness that we had in our time.

Have a glass or two of wine, and blast through this novel in one sitting.  Then pass it along to your teens, and see what they think.

don’t even think about it is published by Ember.

How to Be Bad

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Looking for something fun, that brings back teenage memories?  E. Lockhart understands, and joins fellow YA authors Sarah Mlynowski and Lauren Myracle to offer you How to Be Bad.  In a word, FABULOUS.  But one word is never enough, is it?

Think road trip.  Think stealing your mom’s ancient deathtrap of a car. Think best friends and boyfriends and new friends and bad food and tourist traps and bad weather.  Then add fights and hugs and understanding and yelling and silence, both awkward and comfortable.  Alligators, dead and alive.  Dumping your boyfriend because you are lonely and afraid. Picking a fight with your best friend because you can’t face what could be coming your way.

Niceville, Florida, to Miami, with detours along the way.  Vicks is the take-no-prisoner, self-assured girl whose boyfriend hasn’t called since he left for college two weeks ago.  Jesse is the judgy, tightbottomed Christian who is lashing out and running away, instead of facing a scary future.  And Mel is the new girl, desperate for friends and always the odd one out.  Together, they embark on a trip to find out why Brady hasn’t called, visit some tourist spots, and get a lot more than they bargained for along the way.

The girls learn that it’s not about the destination, it is how you get there.  Yes, possibly one of the oldest cliches out there, but so applicable, and so right.

How to Be Bad is told from the three points of view of the girls, with alternating chapters, each one offering her take on the experiences along the road.  It is fun and well written, and all three change over the road trip, believably, given their backgrounds and circumstances.  There are a lot of subplots, and the reader has to pay close attention to follow the different mini-stories going on throughout.

It isn’t going to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, but three really good YA authors collaborated on a really good YA story, and I had a blast losing myself in it. It is an easy read, the characters are distinct, and the story provided a relaxing Saturday afternoon for me.

Any teen can read this.  Pretty sure the boys won’t be too interested, but the girls will dive right in.  Just don’t tell your daughter about the time(s) you did something similar.  She doesn’t need any ideas.

How to Be Bad is published by HarperTeen.