By Sarah Mlynowski
Available now from Delacorte Press (Penguin Random House)
Sarah Mlynowski's newest novel, DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT, pulls off a very neat trick: it's written in fourth person. It's a little disorienting at first, but then I started going with the flow of dipping in and out of heads and sometimes getting an opinion from several narrators at once.
You see, in DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT, a group of high school students gain telepathy from a tainted batch of flu vaccine. This leads to some fun, but it also leads to them leaking all their secrets, learning nasty things people think about them, and never being able to hide when they have an ugly thought about someone else. (Or a sexy thought.)
Mlynowski does focus the chaos by keeping the attention on a few storylines revolving around four or so of the newly telepathic kids. It does still feel a bit scattered due to the nature of the narration. There's a girl who is super shy and nervous, one who is super driven and determined to use her power to get ahead, and one who just wants to keep her boyfriend from knowing she cheated on him. Then there's her boyfriend, who learns that is not the only secret people have been keeping from him.
I thought that DON'T EVEN THINK ABOUT IT was inventive and fun, albeit with a mildly sinister undertone at times. This novel doesn't overthink the teens' powers, but that doesn't mean there are no consequences. YA fans will enjoy Mlynowski's sly references to other popular titles in addition to the story itself. This is lightweight sci-fi with appealing characters, even if I did wish for a little more time inside individual heads. But hey, that does give you an idea of what it feels like for the characters.