Thursday, January 24, 2013

ARC Book Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

Title: Pivot Point
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: February 12th, 2013
Rating: 2/5

Cover Impressions:
Very nice though not particularly exciting.  Love the Bokeh effect separating one reality from another.  the colors are muted, but pretty.

The Gist:
Addison is a Searcher.  She has the ability to pinpoint any decision and see the separate paths that would result from her choice.  When her parents decide to divorce, Addie must use her power to decide whether to stay in the compound with her mother and all the other paranormal teens, or venture into the "Norm" world with her father and hide who she really is. 

In Pivot Point, Kasie West weaves two plotlines together.  In one reality, Addie has remained inside the compound and becomes the love interest of the popular and charming Duke - who just happens to be the quarterback of the school's football team.  In the other reality she leaves for the "norm" world to live with her father and becomes the love interest of the popular and charming Trevor - who just happens to be the former quarterback of the school's football team.  Despite their similarities in circumstance, the two boys are very different.  While Addie's relationship with Duke is slightly unsettling and more than a little smothering, she connects with Trevor on a much deeper level and their relationship seems sweet and genuine.  That being said, I did not have particularly strong feelings toward either love interest.  I understand that I was meant to dislike Duke and to love Trevor - but I just couldn't be bothered to care about either one of them. 

Addie and Laila were much stronger characters.  They were fun and outspoken with a real sense of self.  The scenes that strongly featured the two girls were some of my favorites in the novel.  I do wish that the other characters had been more than just plot carriers.  Her parents and both boyfriends' friends were bland at best, predictable caricatures at worst.  

Despite the strong start in the paranormal world, Pivot Point quickly gets bogged down in the mundane.  Because of the nature of the book, we only see Addie perform one search and, unfortunately, we do not see many of the other characters use their powers either.  Much of the plot centers around the first steps on a new relationship on one side and the trials and tribulations of moving to a new school on the other side.  In an attempt the add some drama, there was a subplot involving the intentional injuring of football players by Addie's old school.  This, however, required that much of action center around football and talk of football.  When this coincides with real life in which football currently invades my home for an unfathomable amount of time each week -  I cannot even explain how much I do not care to read about fictional football.  A little more than halfway through the book, the plot picked up and the increased action made for a much less tedious read.  Despite this, I didn't feel any real sense of danger, perhaps because I knew that this was all a search and that things could be changed.  

I was a little worried that the weaving of two potential futures into one storyline would get messy and confusing, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked.  The narrative flowed easily between the two streams and, once the action kicked in, the change from one timeline to another made for some stronger chapter endings and added some suspense.  I especially enjoyed those moments when events would overlap in both stories, even if those were as simple as a phone call. 

In the end, I was left unsatisfied.  It seemed that Addie would not have to make any real sacrifices as, when everything finally worked out, she would get the best of both worlds.  I would have much preferred if both paths had tragic consequences and Addie had to find a way to prevent the worst, or choose the timeline that she felt she could live with. 
Teaching/Parental Notes:

12 and up
Gender: Female
Sex: Kissing
Violence: Knifeplay, Murder, Mind Control
Inappropriate Language: Prick
Substance Use/Abuse: None


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