Publication Date: February 19th, 2013
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.
In a stunning departure from her New York Times bestselling Paranormalcy trilogy, Kiersten White delivers a slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other—no matter the cost.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)
I will start this review by saying that I loved Kiersten White's Paranormalcy series, and Mind Games was nothing like it. It is almost like a different author wrote Mind Games. That's not to say that I didn't like it. I did. Just not even close to as much as I did the former. Now, with that out of the way, I can get down to my reasons why I liked Mind Games, but also why I didn't LOVE it... I'm a bad-news-first type of person, so I will start with the things I didn't like.
First off, I really wasn't into the format. There were two points of view, Fia's and Annie's, and the chapters alternate between the two of them. That is something I can deal with, and even like in most cases. What I didn't like was that along with the alternating POVs, the story also jumped between past and present. I found it very confusing. I found it too hard to keep track of both whose POV I was reading and when it was taking place, at the same time. Another thing that bothered me was the fact that it took a good bit of time get into this book. That said, I suspect that had something to do with my getting used to the format. I will say that once the story picked up, it was quite riveting. Finally, I have to say that I thought the ending wasn't great. I felt like there were too many question left unanswered and not enough closure. I know this is the first book in a series, but there were some questions that I felt needed to be answered in this book. Hopefully, book number two proves me wrong, and that there is good reason for my lack of closure, but right now I see it as a flaw. (I will totally retract this statement if I'm given good reason to in book number two!) Now, on to the "likes"...
First and foremost, I LOVED the cover. I always rave about HarperTeen's covers, and this one is no exception. Absolutely stunning. So what about what's between those pretty pieces of cardboard? Well... I loved the premise of this book. A private school for girls with special abilities- seeing the future, reading minds, feeling the emotions of others- to name a few. I loved the secrecy behind who the man funding the school was, and what happens to the girls upon "graduating". I loved that no one could see him, and I loved that no one knew what his motives were. Those questions kept me turning pages. I also liked the characters. I really liked James a lot, right from the beginning, but I especially liked him when we learned more about him toward the end of the book. I think I like Fia, although to be honest, I still have too many questions about who she is to say for sure. We never really find out exactly why she is so important, and that bothered me. Annie was alright. I didn't dislike her, I just thought she was maybe a bit bland. I liked her enough, but she wasn't very exciting. We didn't get to know Adam very well, but I have a good feeling about him. I feel like there is still loads of development left to go on all of the characters, but so far, so good. The pacing went both ways. I mentioned earlier in my review that the story was slow to start, but it really did pick up abut 1/3 of the way through, and when it did, it really did. The action was really well done, and I was on the edge of my seat for most of the 2nd half of the book. Of course, writing action is one of Kiersten's strengths, as evidenced by the Paranormalcy books, so I wasn't expecting anything less.
Overall, I would say that although Mind Games didn't hold a candle to Paranormalcy, I still really enjoyed it. It was a short, quick read that left me wanting more (both in a good way and in a bad way). I will definitely pick up the second book of the series next year because there is no way I am going through life without knowing the answers to all of my questions!
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½
Grade Level Recommendation: This book was pretty clean. There were a few make-out scenes, and a good bit of violence, but it was pretty benign otherwise. Appropriate for 6th grade and up (ages 11 and up).