Published by Delacorte Press on March 11, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction
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.
The last time I had a flu shot, back in 2009, something went wrong, and I had a good deal of pain in my arm for about six months, and I was unable to lift it more than 90 degrees. (This also explains why I have not had a flu shot in nearly five years.) The characters in Don’t Even Think About It have a much odder reaction to their flu shots. Approximately twenty students in one high school class suddenly find that they are able to read each other’s minds, as well as the minds of the unknowing people around them. This sounded like a compelling idea when I read the synopsis, but the actual story quickly became an exercise in silliness.
I imagined there might be government conspiracies or perhaps some attempt to turn the students into valuable weapons. Really, wouldn’t any government kill to get their hands on someone who can read minds? If we think the NSA is out of control now, just imagine the havoc they could wreak with a group of mind-readers. Sadly, the reveal in Don’t Even Think About It is not only an uninteresting letdown, but it’s also nonsensical. I won’t give it away, but I will tell you that it felt like a wasted opportunity.
The majority of the book consists of student after student learning that he/she is suddenly able to read minds. It becomes tedious very quickly to read various takes on, “What’s happening to me? Oh, wow, I can read minds.” Someone who has not ever met a high school student might assume they’re all borderline moronic, because in all of this mind-reading, there is nary an intelligent thought to be had. When the students realize how many of them have been acquired the ability to read minds, they put their skills to work…in a gym class volleyball game. Snooze.
I’ve wondered what it would be like if people could read others’ minds. I imagine it would be a nearly useless skill, because most people probably think with a combination of images, words, and half-formed ideas. How would someone get inside another’s head to interpret what is probably a jumbled mess? In this book, all thoughts are in coherent, fully-formed sentences, like: “Maybe she wants to talk to Lazar. Should I stay and facilitate? She might need my help.” Does anyone actually think like that?
Before deciding to read this book, I should have paid more attention to the awful cover. The girls on the cover look incredibly annoying, and for better or worse, they are an accurate depiction of the characters on the pages.
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.