by Kiersten White
Published by HarperTeen
on February 19, 2013
Source: Giveaway at KidLit Con 2012. My FTC disclosure is to the right of this post, on the sidebar.
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Summary from Goodreads: Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future. Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways… or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.
My take: I read Paranormalcy and was charmed by its snappy pace and snarky humor. So I admire the fact that after wrapping up that trilogy, author Kiersten White decided to write a book that, on the surface, seems completely different. After reading Mind Games, I wouldn't say that's necessarily the case. Yes, the narrative structure of Mind Games is somewhat of a departure from White's prior work. Yes, the tone is slightly darker. But, like Paranormalcy, Mind Games is fast-paced and dialogue-heavy.
Mind Games is told in dual POVs with flashbacks, giving us both Fia's and Annie's points of view. Fia's voice is unique -- she has the habit of repeating words (words words words) in a sort of mental tic. But the technique was used sparingly enough that it didn't bother me. The book's timeline also jumps around quite a bit between the past and the present. I'm not generally a huge fan of flashbacks, but the chapters are short and the chapter headings helpfully announce whose head and what time period you are in.
I was intrigued by Fia and Annie and their loving yet co-dependent relationship. I was further intrigued by the school they attend, though the details on that are pretty sketchy. Same with the secondary characters, some of whom seem to be bad guys, though we're never really given much information on who they are or exactly what they're supposed to be up to. For me, knowing the stakes beyond Fia and Annie's desire to protect one another would have upped the tension level considerably. Also, the fact that this book is so weighted toward dialogue and internal monologue and so light on description and exposition made the story feel not-quite grounded in reality. I wouldn't have been at all surprised if Mind Games had ended with the revelation that Fia had multiple personality disorder and that Annie was one of her identities.
Okay, I would have loved that, but it wasn't the case. The ending was still an interesting surprise. All along, you're given clues that things are going to end tragically, but let's just say I was never completely sold on that idea. So I was pleased to be both right and wrong on that front. Given the short length of Mind Games, I think it would have worked well as a standalone. But I did like the direction that the story was taking by the end, and I will definitely check out the next book.
Interested? I'm giving Mind Games away this week in Hot Off the Presses. Along with some other choices too :)