Read and listened to the audio book (whipsersync from Amazon) in 2016 on 9/30 to page 133, on 10/13 to the end. I liked it, 4 of 5 Stars. I recommend it for young adults, science fiction fans, evolutional altered future fans.
It is a young adult book set in the future where evolution has caused people to change around their time of puberty. Around that time, along with sprouting pubic hair, comes the ability to easily read other people’s minds. You might imagine the multitude of ways an author can go wild with that “what if”.
After reading some reviews by Goodreads acquaintances I hesitated to recommend the book so enthusiastically due to the number of horrible reviews. After seeing some of the really bad reviews I had to ask myself if I cared about the characters. Was it plot driven? Did I struggle to suspend disbelief?
To me the characters were interesting enough. It is not “Pride and Prejudice” in depth of character being a young adult novel. The plot was interesting to me, and I didn’t have any trouble suspending disbelief.
Some of the bad reviews aren’t really about the book, characters, or plot, rather the revulsion of a society where everyone can read everyone else’s mind so easily. Having years of writing education, critiquing, and editing experience, I could mark up any piece of writing, but I obtained the book for enjoyment purposes. The idea interested me. So lets move along.
(Some details may be spoilers)
Kira, our protagonist, is late, or so the adoring friend Raf would tell her. “Have patience,” he would assure her. The school jock had been her best friend as far back as she could remember. Now that all their friends had changed and she still could not read minds he was protective about her. If she’d pay attention it wasn’t pity. She found that grating. It wasn’t pity at all.
Her dreams of being a doctor were fading as each day ran into the next. She was a zero, she could never be a doctor if she couldn’t read minds. The future for a zero was bleak. Caring for demens, people gone mad with the change. They would effect a zero’s mind.
Simon showed up and to put it mildly, Raf did not like his attention toward Kira. Simon didn’t care and Kira seemed interested in the delinquent sort of fellow. Raf worried.
Kira notices that Simon was different. She learned soon enough that she was the only one who knew he was different. He seemed normal enough to everyone else. Kira wasn’t used to someone being so forward. Eventually she learned the truth. He was something she had never hear of… a “Jacker”. He could kiss her in the middle of the cafeteria and no one noticed.
“How to you do that?” Kira wanted to know. He would show. He couldn’t mindjack her like he could others. He couldn’t control her mind. That, she learned, is why he was so interested in her. She was different. (End spoiler alert)
The book actually moves pretty quickly and I found myself reading “one more chapter” often enough. Perhaps I’ve sparked your interest in “Open Minds”. If so that’s good news Susan was giving it away on Amazon. The Whispersync audio is inexpensive as well.
I thought it was a fun book. The critical reviews I read afterwards gave me pause to think critically about it and I suppose the folks who hate it have their good reasons. The reason I enjoyed it so much is that I’ve entertained similar ideas for years to include in my own writing. Also I was not reading critically. I often listened to the audio book while doing other mindless tasks, so didn’t balk at things I might find odd if I were focused on every detail making perfect sense to me.
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