March 5, 2013

Two Roads Diverge

Back in January I signed up for the Debut Author Challenge. So far I've been a bit slack about getting reviews up for those books. I thought I'd fix that with a review of Kasie West's debut novel Pivot Point. Here's the synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

The story was pitched as a Sliding Doors concept what with the reader seeing two possible outcomes based on a single act/decision. Since I love this movie, I was all for a book that explored a similar idea and (for the most part) Pivot Point didn't disappoint. Here's what I loved about it:

Swoon Times Two
This book has one of the most creative uses of a love triangle that I've ever read. Before you start groaning, I should probably qualify that by saying that it's not a true love triangle because each relationship occurs in a separate possible outcome. Life with the Paras in the Compound yields one romance, while life with the Norms yields another, so it's largely angst-free. Personally, I felt the Norms won this round by a landslide.

Superpowers FTW!
While I would have liked to see a little more of the Paras 'powers', I'm confident that the author will deliver more of this in the next book. (Yes, it's a trilogy.) What we do get is fascinating, because it doesn't portray having powers as being all cakes and pies (ie. spectacular)—sometimes there are major drawbacks that we might not have initially realized. (Example: One character is addicted to drugs because he's trying to escape having to hear everyone's thoughts all the time.) Aside from Addie's ability to search outcomes, there are people who can alter moods, shift mass, erase memories, detect lies, and even persuade you to do the things you'd rather not. At times, I got a Sky High or X Men kind of vibe, which is just AWESOME.

Element of Mystery
While Addie is searching life with the Paras versus life with the Norms, there is a bit of mystery thrown into the mix that affects both outcomes to varying degrees. This takes the story from being simply about choosing where she's going to live and who she's going to date to making tough choices about what she's willing to lose. I think I would have enjoyed this book even without the mystery, but it was definitely the icing on the cake.

Mixed Bag of Awesome
  • Because this story explores two separate outcomes, the chapters alternate between life in the Paranormal Compound and life outside the Compound with the Normals. Each chapter starts with a definition that either includes the root PARA or NORM. I thought this was totally fun and helps remind the reader that they're about to switch to the other outcome. (For example: PAR•A•digm: n. something that serves as a pattern or model.)
  • I've already mentioned this, but it can't be said enough: SUPERPOWERS.
  • Both Duke and Trevor are (were) quarterbacks for Texas high schools, so that lent the story a bit of a Friday Night Lights feel at times. For those of you not into football, this isn't a football story, so never fear.
  • While this book is probably classified as sci-fi, it was interesting that the Norm world seemed like it was set in the present while the Paras were far more technologically advanced. This made for some funny moments when Addie was trying to adjust to life with the Norms.

I really enjoyed Pivot Point, and if you like swoonworthy boys, superpowers, and a dash of mystery then you will too.


One teensy beef: Some weird past tense usage (past perfect) at times. Still not sure why this was used.

23 comments:

  1. I'm really intrigued by the concept of PIVOT POINT, and the fact that there's a creatively constructed love triangle is a total plus. I hadn't heard much about this one before, so I'm glad you're featuring it today!

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    1. I loved the concept and I still remember when I first heard about this book months ago. When I read the Sliding Doors comparison, I was all "heck yes!" It isn't a perfect book, but I really enjoyed it. :)

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  2. Seriously? SLIDING DOORS, SKY HIGH, X-MEN, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, and a love interest named Trevor? I have got to get me a copy of this asap! I'm glad you liked this one because it's on my Debut Author Challenge list too, and I've really been looking forward to it. Side note: I still don't own a copy of SLIDING DOORS. What is wrong with me?

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    1. I'm not sure if you'll draw those same comparisons, but there were definitely moments when I thought, "Hmm. This kind of feels a bit like________." I purposely made a point of not swooning over book Trevor in this post because that would just be weird given brother-in-law Trevor's existence. But yes, you will will probably like FNL-ish, artistic book Trevor just as much as I did.

      And as for real-life Trevor, why hasn't he gotten you SLIDING DOORS yet?! :)

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  3. You know, I've been seeing people talk about this one, but I've kind of gone past it until now. I don't know why--I guess I've been judging it by its cover! Shame on me. Anyway, reading this makes it sound pretty great--I'm also way behind on starting the DAC, so maybe I'll pick this one up!

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    1. I haven't heard a lot of people mentioning this book and I'm not sure why. I really enjoyed it! :) It was a great one to start my DAC reviews off with.

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  4. I love the idea of two simultaneous plot lines with different outcomes. Adored Sliding Doors, and it also reminds me of this movie I watched last year that had Joseph Gordon-Levitt in it (yum)--Uncertainty. Those type of plots are so fun.

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    1. Seriously, they had me at SLIDING DOORS. :) I love that whole different possible outcomes thing. Definitely worth the read!

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  5. Interesting-- this was on my list from last year and I LOVED Sliding Doors-- the idea of different outcomes based on one decision is really cool. I didn't realize it was also a sci-fi vibe. Will definitely have to give it a whirl.

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    1. The SLIDING DOORS thing is definitely what sucked me in when I first heard about this book. :)

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  6. I really enjoyed this book too. What I especially loved is how her very power dictated the structure of the book. Without the two stories, it would have been less compelling I think, but it really helped give it an original feel. I loved it (def. with the norms love interest!) and look forward to book 2.

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    1. I think you're right about the two storylines making it more compelling. I'm really curious to see what she'll do with Book 2. :)

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  7. This one sounds awesome! I love books with superpowers - I'll have to check it out.

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    1. Me too! I think the best way of categorizing this one is contemporary sci-fi because I don't think it's set in the future. It's like these people with superpowers exist in the here and now (kind of like X Men), which I find totally appealing. :)

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  8. I really loved Sliding Doors...so yay for Pivot Point :D And your review definitely makes me want to pick it up!

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    1. Like I told Alison, the cool thing about this one is that it feels like a contemporary sci-fi, like it's set in the here and now. I know that will appeal to a lot of people who don't normally migrate toward sci-fi. :)

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  9. Ok this sounds really interesting. It wasn't on my original DAC list, but if I finish all those, I'll probably add it. Great review!

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    1. That's kind of funny because SPLINTERED wasn't on my original DAC list, but knowing how much you loved it I've mentally added it. I picked up a copy just the other day and can't wait to read it! I hope you like PIVOT POINT once you get to it. :)

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  10. The premise of this book is so cool. I'm excited to read it! It wasn't on my original DAC list but I will definitely read it. :)

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    1. The premise is totally what sold me. What a great idea! I really enjoyed this story. :)

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  11. If you loved Sliding Doors, I think you would also love the book THE POST-BIRTHDAY WORLD by Lionel Shriver! It has a similar concept, and it's great.
    PIVOT POINT sounds very cool, though.

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    1. I hadn't heard of that book before, but checked it out on Goodreads. You're right, it does sound interesting! Thanks for the recommendation. :)

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  12. Honestly, I'm just in love with this idea of exploring how one decision can fundamentally change the path of your life. I sometimes find myself wondering where I would be now if I had gone to college B instead of college A (probably in a completely different career, in a different state, with a different boyfriend/husband! A bit weird to think about). And I like that it's not present as a right or wrong choice, but simply a choice.

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