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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Pivot Point As Clever As It Is Confusing

(Image from Barnes & Noble)


As a Searcher, 16-year-old Addison Coleman doesn't have to wonder where her daily choices will take her.  She can conduct a Search and, voilá!, she knows.  Which should make tough decisions a snap.  If only.  Seeing too many possibilities, as Addie well knows, can be just as unnerving as seeing none.


When Addie's parents announce—completely out of the blue—their impending divorce, Addie's ordered world comes crashing down around her.  She can hardly imagine a life where she doesn't live with both her mom and her dad, let alone one that involves bouncing between the two of them.  Even more shocking, her dad will be moving to Dallas, where he will live among the "norms."  The Colemans have always stayed in their protected southeast Texas compound with other ability-enhanced people.  If Addie chooses to stay with her dad, she'll be attending a norm high school, hanging out with norm kids, and trying to be norm herself.  The thought is simply unfathomable.  Tantalizing, yes, but also insane.  Especially when she can remain with her mom in the safe, familiar world of the compound.  If only that didn't mean never seeing her father.

Tortured by the impossible choice, Addie does the only thing she can think to do—a Search.  But as the two paths her life could take spin out in front of her eyes, converging and diverging in surprising ways, Addie realizes just how complicated the future can be.  Both roads offer new challenges, new joys, new heartbreaks; the only question is, which should she take?

With such a clever premise, it's no surprise that Pivot Point, Kasie West's debut novel, is a fun, intriguing read.  It's fairly light-hearted and humorous, but also thought-provoking (as pondering the "What if?" question often is).  As entertaining as it is, though, the parallel story lines do get very confusing.  The action also takes its own sweet time getting started.  So, although I enjoyed the idea of this novel, I think it suffers a bit in its execution.  The problem, I think, is that while Pivot Point's premise is undeniably compelling, it's also a bit over-ambitious.  There may not be a way to tell such a story without tying the reader's brain in knots.  Still, I admire the attempt.  And, actually, I quite liked the novel.  It just left me with lots of unanswered questions.  Not to mention a headache.

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  Can you?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs); violence; and sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I borrowed my daughter's copy of Pivot Point.  
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Reading

<i>Reading</i>
Tress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson

Listening

<i>Listening</i>
The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain



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