Thursday, 28 November 2013

Book review: Pivot Point by Kasie West


My edition: Hardcover, to published on 16th January 2014 in the UK by HarperCollins 360 in paperback and ebook, 343 pages.

Description: 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.


Rating:



Addie lives in the Compound, a hidden city for people who have developed special abilities because they use the full capacity of their brains rather than just ten per cent like those in the Normal World. Besides her ability to see two possible futures when confronted with a choice that can lead one of two ways, and her friends' various abilities, life is still pretty regular for Addie. She goes to high school, has to plough through lots of homework, hangs out with her friends, falls in love with a boy and occasionally fights with her parents - though the latter is quite hard to do when one parent is a human lie detector and the other's ability persuades you to do whatever they want.

One day Addie comes home to find her parents want "to talk". Seeing their faces she knows it's not going to be good news and this is confirmed when they tell her they're getting a divorce. And because of Addie's ability to see the two possible futures laying ahead of her, they give her the choice whether she wants to stay in the Compound with her mother, and stay close to her friends, school and the city she's known all her life, or move to the Normal World with her father, the parents she normally has a better relationship with, but leaving her old life behind in the process.

In alternating chapters the reader gets to see the two different paths play out. The one in the Compound where she keeps her best friend and grows closer to the star of the football team, and the one in the Normal World where she meets a new boy who at first is a very good friend until it turns into much more. But despite the fact that for the majority of the story one path seems considerably more tempting to choose, an unexpected twist makes the choice for Addie that much harder.

Pivot Point was not what I was expecting at all and it was better for it. Instead of hyping up the supernatural aspect of the novel, as so often happens in YA novels nowadays, it was actually far more focussed on a contemporary teen setting with a love triangle and all the struggles that come with first love, school, divorce and growing up.

Addie was a very likeable and relatable main protagonist. It's always risky to write about teen characters as that crucial stage between child and adult makes for a confusing period in a person's life and their often self-centered and frustrating actions make it difficult to care for the character from a reader's point of view. But this wasn't the case for Addie at all, who seemed very sensible, even when tempted by boys in both of the different futures that lay ahead of her. The actions of her best friend Laila certainly emanated the typical teenage angst and rebellion but with the down-to-earth Addie at her side it was balanced out well.

What I also really enjoyed was the air of mystery hanging over the two futures and some of the entwinement between them. As a reader you seemed slightly ahead of the characters, having background information on both the Compound and the Normal World (or at least the small pocket surrounding Addie's new life), when Addie only ever has the full information on the one life she's living, so it takes longer for her to catch on to how the two worlds are going to collide in dangerous ways. And the paranormal aspect, while not overbearing or confusing, added an interesting twist to the already incredibly engaging story.

The novel had a proper ending too, which doesn't happen often in YA novels nowadays as they always seem to be part of a trilogy or longer series. And while it was not a conclusion I agree with, I do realise it was the only way it could have possibly ended. However, this was actually one of the rare occasions where I wanted it to be the first instalment in a longer series, it was that good. Addie was a great character and I would've happily waited another year to find out more about her possible future with Trevor or Duke.

Author Kasie West is releasing a second novel set in the same world in just a few months time in the US (yay!), which has Laila as a main character instead. So while not exactly what I was hoping for, the likelihood of mentions of Addie along the line will be a small consolation nonetheless.

You can pre-order your copy from Waterstones, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com or your own preferred retailer.



Would you like to know more about the author? You can connect with her online at:

Website: http://www.kasiewest.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Kasie-West-Author/148695348552803

Twitter: @KasieWest


Many thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

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