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Don't Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski
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Don't Even Think About It

by Sarah Mlynowski

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The book by Sarah Mlynowski called Don’t Even Think About It takes us into the imaginary scenario of what if you got a flu shot and there was an unusual side effect from the shot. After receiving the shot you suddenly can hear other people’s thoughts. You are a sophomore in room 10B at a high school in New York. You wonder what scary thing is happening to you when you begin to hear things and people aren’t talking to you. Then you realize that you are not the only one who can hear things through telepathy. Everyone in your homeroom who received the shot is experiencing the same phenomenon. The students form a group called the “Espies”. What to do? Should they tell someone? Will it go away with time? What if it causes other health problems? How do they keep secrets? Is it a good thing or a bad thing?

The dilemma facing these high school sophomore students is a written in a style that will appeal to the teen reader. The homeroom is populated with students with many different personalities and the author does a nice job of fleshing them out as the story progresses. Other than the telepathy, the issues and anxieties that these students face in their personal and family lives are typical of the average teenager. But once they can hear one other's thoughts, their individual thoughts become everyone’s business and that lack of privacy can become very troublesome. Several issues materialize including cheating not only on tests but also in personal relationships. Granted this is a book about hearing thoughts but being able to hear answers and to be able to cheat on tests was brought up several times and I didn’t feel that it was addressed satisfactorily as being the wrong thing to do. There is also some vulgar language and many “thoughts” of a sexual nature. For this reason, I would recommend the book to the older YA reader.

NetGalley provided this ARC to me.
( )
  Rdglady | Nov 20, 2018 |
What if you could hear what everyone were thinking? A group of teens discovers they have developed the power to do just that and suddenly they are faced with the consequences of others knowing their hidden motives and opinions. I recently read Connie Willis' "Crosstalk" where a similar thing happened. In Ms. Willis' book, telepathy creates an overwhelming flood of thoughts coming at the main character. Here the students don't seem particularly overwhelmed by all the thought they are hearing - walls seem to stop most communication, and they can close their eyes to stop all in and outgoing thoughts. This novel does examine the idea of lies and truth which is always a good topic to consider. ( )
  tjsjohanna | May 5, 2018 |
The premise of this novel is intriguing; a routine flu vaccine leaves a class full of teenagers with the ability to read minds. OK so it’s not particularly realistic but who cares it’s a great idea. It really made me think what would I do? Who would I listen to? And how far would I use my new gift to my own advantage? Being teenagers the answers are; find out who fancies me, find out who thinks I’m fat and cheat on tests. Again it’s a bit simplistic and I can imagine a lot of teenagers who would be a bit annoyed at being portrayed in such a simplistic manner but it does make for an easy, amusing read.
There are more serious issues raised, you can’t cheat on your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband when everybody can hear your guilty thoughts. I particularly found Olivia’s mothers thoughts quite sad as she struggles with OCD and her fears about her daughter’s health, on the whole however this is a light, fun read.
The only struggle I had with this book was coping with the multi first person viewpoint. The narration skipped around from character to character and sometimes it was difficult to work out, not only who was talking, but also if what they were saying was out loud or in their heads (not that that mattered to the other ‘Espies’). This approach did however reflect how confusing it would be if you could actually hear the thoughts of everyone around you (Think Mel Gibson in the park in What Women Want!)
Overall I enjoyed reading it, no it wasn’t challenging and the ending wasn’t the best it felt a bit like the author had run out of ideas, but it was a light enjoyable couple of hours and that’s fine with me.
( )
  angelaoatham | Feb 21, 2017 |
When I got the email from Netgalley that I was preapproved for Don't Even Think About It, I was pretty excited. I'd never read any of Sarah Mlynowski's books, but I had heard good things about her, so I figured now was as good a time as any to get started.

I am so, so disappointed.

Let's start with the premise: Contemporary teen fiction with romance, secrets, scandals, and ESP. Sounds pretty cool. More interesting than my high school experience, at least. But the reality is nothing like the summary. The book is not about "romance, secrets, scandals, and ESP." It's about who's hooking up. That's really about it.

This book could have gone somewhere with the ESP. These kids could've turned into superheroes. They could've used their newfound powers for good. They could have done something instead of sitting around trying to figure out who likes who. They find out each other's darkest secrets, but only romance-wise. It's amazing that none of these kids think about anything else... ever.

Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. Cooper found out that his dad cheated on his mom, and also that Mackenzie cheated on him. Tess has a crush on Teddy, who has a crush on Sadie, but Sadie is dating Keith even though she doesn't like him that much. BJ has a crush on Tess, but Tess doesn't believe it, despite being able to hear his thoughts. Olivia uses her ESP to snag Lazar, who turns out to be a jerk once she has to listen to his thoughts all the time. And Pi, well, she actually uses her ESP to get better grades. At least it's not another crush.

I think this book has more love triangles than anything else I've ever read. Literally every character, minus the studious Pi, has more than one love interest. It's tiring. I don't care.

The writing style is creepy. First person plural - there is no "I," just "we." It's as if all the "espies" have merged their brains into one giant hive mind. This ominous, omniscient narrator knows what is going on in every single person's head at all times. In general, I take issue with first person omniscient, but it's especially creepy in this case, as it reads like all 22 students of homeroom 10B are speaking at once.

And as if those issues weren't enough, I just could not get on board with how these kids developed telepathy. From a flu shot? Really? FROM A PRESERVATIVE IN A FLU SHOT? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Is Mlynowski trying to make a statement with this?

Add to that the way it was dealt with by the school and the government, and I just walked away shaking my head. This book could have and should have been so much better than it was.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the free advanced copy. ( )
  Sara.Newhouse | Feb 11, 2016 |
A group of high school sophomores goes in for a flu shot and comes out with so much more in Sarah Mlynowski’s newest YA novel.

A batch of tainted vaccine bestows telepathic abilities on a homeroom class of 22 students and suddenly, no one’s secrets are safe. Not Mackensie, who cheated on her trusting boyfriend, Cooper. Not Olivia, whose insecurities were safely tucked away until now. Not Tess, in love with her unsuspecting best friend, Teddy, and not Pi, the academic overachiever ready to cheat her way to the top. These “espies” (the self-titled ESP students) not only have the ability to communicate telepathically with each other, they can read the minds of their unaffected classmates, their teachers, parents, and just about anyone within close range. Unfortunately, that means their minds can get pretty noisy and there’s nothing to filter out the amusing, embarrassing, and sometimes, heartbreaking thoughts that the espies are now privy to. While some, like Pi, take to their new abilities like ducks to water, others, like Mackensie and Olivia, experience the immediate pitfalls and wonder if maybe, ignorance is indeed bliss.

It’s an interesting plot--watching this group gain an incredible ability and then realizing that something valuable has been lost at the same time. Early on, these students band together as they begin to explore their powers and wrestle with whether to keep silent. In a unique twist, the book is narrated by the espies in a collective “we” voice that interjects comments throughout the story, like a classic Greek chorus. Luckily, readers don’t have to juggle 22 different characters at once because the author has wisely chosen to follow the lives of the handful of students mentioned above. Never fear, though, there are plenty of hints dropped along the way that will undoubtedly fill future installments with new character arcs, new psychic abilities, and new dangers, not only within their own social circles, but from the Center For Disease Control which has identified these unusual teenagers.

Sarah Mlynowski’s breezy writing style keeps the book from getting too bogged down in drama but still gives thoughtful readers much to contemplate. There’s light romance and some comic moments as well. The only downside is the cover which, alas, may be too pink to attract the teenage male reader. A quick, enjoyable read, this would make a great book for spring break, and for readers who like contemporary settings and realistic characters. ( )
  lillibrary | Jan 23, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385737386, Hardcover)

We weren't always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn't expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper.

Since we've kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what's coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same.

So stop obsessing about your ex. We're always listening.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:19 -0400)

"What happens when a group of Tribeca high school kids go in for flu shots . . . and end up being able to read each others' minds"--

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