Don’t Even Think About It

Out next month is Don’t Even Think About It, a mash-up of Gossip Girl and The X-Men by Sarah Mlynowski.

When 22 high school sophomores in New York City get flu shots, none of them expected the side effect of telepathy. Now no one can keep secrets, and they find out what their parents and classmates are really thinking.

Pi is the unofficial leader of the group, a girl who’s constantly working hard to make her intelligence apparent because she needs to feel exceptional. Cooper’s a good guy everyone likes, which makes it even more surprising that his girlfriend Mackenzie cheated on him last summer. Tess isn’t super-skinny, which makes her insecure, particularly about her crush on best friend Teddy. Olivia is shy, so using her ability to read minds makes it easier for her to start dating, but how much should she change herself to please a guy? Renee is outgoing and chatty, so it’s a shame she winds up the only one in the class without an injection.

As the book proceeds, we learn more about these characters’ impulses and motivations, and I found myself caring about them. Everything’s so emotional, anyway, for teenagers, and the added device of knowing, instead of just wondering, what other people think about you (or that they’re not thinking about you at all) makes it all more poignant and dramatic.

I was also glad to see that this young adult novel, although it would make a terrific series beginning, actually had a conclusion, such that reading just this volume is satisfying. Too many others I’ve read recently end on cliffhangers. While readers may be wondering what happens next after finishing Don’t Even Think About It, it’s because the characters came to life for them and have lots of further potential, not because the author used an artificial trick to avoid ending the story she’s telling. (The publisher provided an advance digital review copy.)

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