December 26, 2014

Review: Pivot Point by Kasie West

It was hard when I knew I was about to be flooded with memories of a life I hadn't lived yet. Really, two lives I hadn't lived yet.
-from Pivot Point by Kasie West

Kasie West's Pivot Point creates a world and concept unlike any other. Hidden somewhere in the United States is a compound of people who use the full capacity of their brains. This usage gives them each unique abilities that they are trained to cultivate early. Aside from her ability to search her decisions for alternate outcomes, Addie Coleman is a relatively normal teenage girl living in this compound. When her parents unexpectedly announce that they're getting a divorce and Addie's dad is moving out into the real world as a Norm, Addie must decide which parent she wants to live with. The book primarily consists of the outcomes of the two choices Addie scans. If Addie chooses to stay with her overbearing mother, she becomes the girlfriend of the most popular guy in school (something she's never been interested in). If she chooses to live with her dad, she adjusts to life as a Norm and even meets a cute new boy. But as her Search goes deeper into her future, both choices reveal things Addie would never want to happen but she has to make a decision.

At first I wasn't a fan of the writing of Pivot Point. It's not bad necessarily, it's just the result of a first person teen narrator which can often feel cheesy to me. I think the narrative perspective is important and I wouldn't have changed it if I were the author, but it reminded me that I was reading a teen book. Once I was able to get over that though, I was really impressed by how well laid out this story is. The chapters alternate with the path of each choice Addie can make regarding which parent to live with. West does a great job of showing similarities with each path so that you can identify outside forces that Addie's decision did not affect (i.e. a football game is in both choices). I found that this made up for the narrative style and proved West to be a solid writer.

Another pat of West's writing I like is her characters; they all felt like real people to me. I generally get annoyed by spunky best friend characters, but I really liked Addie's best friend, Laila. She had just enough back story, angst and personality. Addie herself is likable, especially when she's trying to fit in with the Norm culture.

Throughout the book I kept changing which choice I wanted Addie to make. It was so clear to me which I wanted and then I would completely change my mind. This is another great indicator of how well this story is mapped out. I had suspicions of the ultimate outcome, but it didn't deter my enjoyment of the story overall.

Bottom Line: This is a very unique and fun story that gets more and more intense as it goes. I think this is a great read for YA fans who love a splash of science fiction/fantasy but still lean more toward contemporary stories. 4/5 Stars.

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