Author: Sarah Mlynowski
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Shelves:Realistic fiction, Sci-fi(whatever), Humor
Contemporary teen fiction with romance,
secrets, scandals, and ESP!
Don’t Even Think About It is exactly the kind of no-ifs, no-buts, no-whys required kind of story I didn’t expect, but definitely needed. There wasn’t much in the way of scandals, nor debilitating secrets; in fact, it was rid of angst almost entirely.
I don’t think DETAI requires any changes that would have sold me on this book, more than my three-star rating. Average as it is, it’s fun the way it is, minus some questionable slut-shaming moments which happened and passed before I could actually register them, and frankly, I don’t even remember it for I’VE developed a selective retaining/reading memory kinda thing, blocking out the all unseemlies. But wait- I see- oh I-I- there’s a room, it’s bright and silent with all these kids, and what’s this I’m hearing?!- Wait, is that right?-I can hear what they’re thinking- or is it chanting-they’re chanting S-L-U-T!
*It’s twenty bucks per consultation, plus expenses if you break anything, and mind you, I don’t guarantee shit.
Powers that be fuck up big time. What’s new? Riiiiiiight. They fuck up with flu shots! Most of homeroom 10B(mine mine mine!**) gets these fucked up shots, ESP ensues, and thus ‘I’ becomes a ‘We’.
We should have moved to Canada. This would never happen in Canada!
Surprisingly enough, it doesn’t result in a high-schooled version of the Jungle Safari.
These kids-all 22 of them- have read enough comic books, novels, watched TV shows, and are disillusioned, nosy, practical enough to know not to report this sudden emergence of ESP. Guess who loved that?! The espies(as they call themselves) don’t all play a big feature in the novel. Only a choice few have stories to tell-the pervert, the seemingly happy couple, the shy girl, the insecure girl, the genius- in this very curious format of first-person, plural literally omnipresent handwriting. There are all theme comments in the narration as each chapter ends- like, we were all watching, we all couldn’t help but hear, to be frank, it wasn’t a secret, we saw everything, you couldn’t hide a thing from us, we’re always listening et cetra- that created this frenzy, intrusive atmosphere that I especially enjoyed. Eavesdropping without meaning to or maybe they do mean! Who cares? They’ll hear either way.
I’m not the gossiping type- mostly because the basic of gossip are absolutely lost on me- but give me a partially closed door and hell yeah, bet your stuffed kittens I’ll eavesdrop! So you can see why it appealed to me, even though the juvenile and teenage romantic shenanigans took precedence over the actual sci-fi plot. In fact, I think I would’ve liked it less had the story been more plot-centered. There are too many of those books already.
Which is another reason I enjoyed it-and you just might too. It was a change of pace; contemporary sans the expected heartaches, social issues, romantic issues, and (st)icky love. There are romances-but when there’s a pervert who’s actually a nice guy beneath all the imagining you naked thing; when you can kiss and read the other’s mind, yeah that’s kinda fun!
But back to the ESP-ing, kids! Everyone utilities it differently, repercussions are not the same but a few affect everyone on the roster. Since the stories actually pertain to very few kids, the rest of the cast has decidedly undeveloped characters, but in the end, I liked what it implies(or maybe I’m the one thinking it). There’s a mean girl Courtney(because obviously) who’s very catty and snide at really alllll times, but the fact that they all are never at the other’s throats and decide to remain together is a good indicator of who she might be, as a person. There’s one gay dude who likes the pervert dude- but neither of them have their own story to tell, really, The pervert dude comes in as a part of another character’s story, but that’s all about it.
The genius girl uses it to cheat from her opposition; the other ESP-ies use it to cheat from her. If this is not downright practical and realistic, I don’t know what is. And that’s another reason- beneath all the fluffy, mindless reading, there’s an ugly side to it, as well. The shy girl gains confidence; the insecure girl finds a boyfriend, and the happy couple goes through downs and downs, and further downs.
It’s really Mackenzie I want to talk about: she cheated on her boyfriend during the summer. The ESP-ies find out, and start to call her slut, slut, slut and keep right on shaming, spurning her. That was harsh because a) they got no fucking right to judge her and b) dude, stop fucking prying in these troubling and potential break-up matters. Even I wouldn’t do that, although I’m not the parameter, and frankly, if I could, I wouldn’t really be wasting my hearing/thinking
about others thinking about this. I would totally spy on teachers and candy store owners. Mackenzie’s mistakes are her and her boyfriend’s problems.
I think she’s the most controversial person in the entire book- she makes mistakes, and thinks unforgivable things about her best friend. And that’s why I actually rooted for her. She’s not entirely a bad person- come on, she’s a sheltered rich girl, she’ll never be a Regina George, she won’t likely victimize people. And fact is, everyone thinks what they shouldn’t; we’re not all paragons of nobility and kindness, granted it was very harsh what she said-and it hurt her best friend very much. But the fact that their friendship struggles on says a lot. What I didn’t like was the lack of resolution on her part at the story’s end: I felt like the storyline itself was condemning her, and a free session for you if you can guess my feelings about that.
And let’s talk about the best friend: Tess, who hates on Sadie, another girl whose boyfriend has very bad breath, because the guy Tess loves is fixated on said girl and her boobs. And poor Sadie, she’s also an ESP so she hears it all and sweet girl that she is, gets creeped out and even hurt at Tess’s comments. I hated Tess in those moments but yet again, it was the ugly, believable side.
Not everyone will love Don’t You Forget About Me; frankly, I suggest that you move on, unless you want a light read without judging the characters, because the book’s narration does that enough for us. Either you’ll kinda-three-star-enjoy it, or you’ll flat-out hate it. And you might love it, who knows?! I don’t see twenty bucks in my hand.
**I sway-uh that is NOT where the three star rating stems from.
Thank you Random House Children’s!