Wednesday, November 28, 2012

PIVOT POINT by Kasie West

Author: Kasie West
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 12, 2013
Number of Pages: 320
Source of Book: ARC from publisher at NCTE

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier . . .

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.

I loved this book so much. It's fresh and original and unexpected. It's an amazing book that was entertaining and engaging. It has characters I wanted to be friends with, lines of text that I read repeatedly because I wanted to soak up and remember them, a uniquely original world built upon a science fiction/supernatural base that reads like a contemporary, a layered storyline being told of two divergent paths that are interrelated, twists that kept me on my reader toes, and a writing voice that I connected with and felt comforted by and made me want to keep spending time enveloped in this prose. PIVOT POINT is the debut novel by Kasie West (who is repped by Michelle Wolfson, the same agent as Kiersten White and Daisy Whitney, whose new books I also love), and it is one that I think teens are going to love. I know I did. This is the kind of book that left me still thinking about it the next day wondering what was happening in those character's lives next and wanting to go back and reread it again right away.

One of the details Kasie West included that I really loved in PIVOT POINT was the way that Addie loves books so much, and all kinds of books, but real paper books. There are many times throughout the story it comes up, and it made me happy to read it each time. Addison also has the kind of personality that I love in my main characters - a little bit spunky and sassy, with an intelligence and caring behind all she does. Her attitude is great, and there were many moments throughout where I laughed out loud at something she said. In regards to gym class in a new school: "Nobody should be forced to do physical exercise on Mondays." Him: "My bookcase is all yours." Her: "I've just decided those are my five favorite words in the world." And many, many more that I wanted to hold onto to remember on another day. *All lines quoted from an uncorrected proof.

Another element that is incredibly strong is the twistedness of the plot and the way the two directions the story goes are interwoven together. The links are there to see how it might go with either choice in the same situations, and the alternating chapters stop at just the right point every time. There is a history to this world that is intriguing and fully thought out, but that still seems to have more to discover. There is also a depth to this story that delves into the true repercussions of choices we make and the path to get to what we may want might not always be easy. It's about figuring out who is meaningful and necessary in her life, and what she can do to keep them there. And I can't talk about this book without mentioning the boys. Duke and Trevor both have their charms, and they were written in such a way as to make the reader adore both of them, and not be sure which way you want the story to go yourself. Which is exactly how we should be feeling because that's how Addie would be feeling. I also claim this book has one of the best first kiss scenes ever, but everything stays clean enough that I could hand it to my middle school students without a concern. In fact, I think they'll love it, too.

This is the kind of book that leaves you contemplating at the end because either choice has its good sides and its bad, so it's hard to know which one you'd want the character to choose. It does end with a definite decision and ending; however, I found out there will be a sequel, so I'm very excited to get to spend more time with these characters in this world and read more of this fresh voice in YA. Please go get PIVOT POINT in February, or preorder it now, and read Kasie West's debut novel. You won't be sorry.

1 comment:

  1. Now I'm bummed I didn't get a copy of this at NCTE. Great review! :)