Mind Games – Kiersten White

Mind GamesFrom The Cover: 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, heart-stoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.

Published: 2013

Why I Chose It: I was really interested by the idea of a school for girls with powers, and the story of these two sisters. Sounds very X-Men, yes?

The Review:

This story follows two sisters with unique powers: Anne and Fia. Annie can see the future, and Fia has perfect instincts – she simply knows when she has to do something, or go somewhere, and things work out for her. The representation of their powers is the part I liked the most in this book. Their powers are not easy to use, so seeing the sisters struggle to understand their own abilities made them seem like more genuine special abilities.

The language of this book is simple, and perhaps a little juvenile. The first few chapters I was a little put off by how immature Fia seemed, until the action distracted me and I got caught up in the plot. Yet White has some unique ways of representing emotions and inner thoughts that I really appreciated, and it read like genuine thoughts – a little scattered, a little rushed – but really helped me to understand the characters more.

On the surface the plot is not that complicated. There are a few minor twists that I found enjoyable, but there was definitely nothing surprising in this book. Much of the storyline is entwined in flashbacks, so if you set events chronologically you realize there isn’t actually much happening. Yet when I stop to think about it, some of the ideas are quite good. The decisions made by the sisters show that they do know how to play the “mind games” just like all the adult players do – but I don’t think these decisions are represented well in the book. This book is such a fast read, so it’s easy to miss the mental manipulations that occur behind the scenes, because they’re not really in the book. I sat and reflected on a lot of story points and I like how all the dots connect, but again, they’re not really shown in the main story line.

This book is a quick read with a nice dual perspective from the two sisters. I think this book would be a great pick for a younger reader (pre to early teens) who are interested in the paranormal and special powers. It would also be a great read to introduce a reader to the genre. While the concepts in the story are sound, I don’t think the delivery is complex or strong enough for an older reader.

Rating: 3 / 5

Characters: 4 / 5
Special Powers: 5 / 5

Story Complexity: 2 / 5
Depth and Maturity: 2 / 5

Quotations:

 “I look up to see Ms. Robertson smiling at me, and this time the smile isn’t a lie. It’s a challenge. Like she knows what I’m planning.
But she can’t know.
She knows. It’s a physical reaction in me, a certain quivering, empty feeling in my stomach, that tug of my gut. I know she knows.” [Fia] p 47

“I’d been hoping she’d adapt, that whatever weird things were going on with her, whatever strange dynamic she had here would change. I swallow hard. I am a terrible person. I know she’s not happy. She hasn’t been happy in months. Years. But I kept waiting and hoping. Not because I thought she’d change. Because I needed her to be happy so I could keep being happy here.” [Annie] p 105

“All the girls are found through rumor or odd news articles, occasionally through visions, then approached the same way I was – a scholarship, a prestigious school, specially tailored instruction for specially gifted girls. Then gradually the girls figure it out, learn they aren’t alone, that they’re surrounded by others who have the same gifts (or curses, depending on how you view it), given instruction and help and a home.” [Annie] p 181

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