It’s sometimes interesting how you’ll read certain novels relatively close to one another.
I recently picked up two young adult novels — one by an author I’d read before and enjoyed her work and another by an author who was new to me. I was remarkably surprised by one of them and remarkably disappointed by the other.
Reading Sarah Mlynowski’s Don’t Even Thing About It, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the third season Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, “Earshot.”
Both start with the premise of a character or characters developing ESP and the consequences of it. And I have to admit that I really feel like “Earshot” did a better job with the concept than Mlynowski’s novel did.
Don’t Even Thing About It centers on a group of teens in the same home room, most of whom develop psychic powers as the side effect of their annual flu shot. Some of the students use the powers to cheat on tests by sitting near the smartest person in the class while others use it to find out if that person they’ve always had a crush on feels the same way about them. Of course, there are some for whom having these new found powers is not good news because now everyone in a certain group of people knows your deepest, darkest secret — as in the case of Mackenzie, who has been cheating on her boyfriend Cooper with the hot guy who attends a private school in her building.
Like the Buffy episode this very clearly reminded me of (and there are other cases of genre shows featuring characters developing the ability to read minds), there is some amusement gained by certain characters getting inside the mind of the authority figures in their life. One girl learns just how attracted to each other her parents still really are, much to her chagrin. There’s also the case of Cooper, who in addition to being cheated on, finds out that his parents’ marriage is on the rocks due to his father’s cheating ways and his mother seeing a divorce lawyer.