“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.”
- Terry Pratchett
I read all reviews about books with suspicion. There are too many friends or people worried about hurting an author’s feelings. While I know reviews are subjective, each and every YA book reviewed on blog cannot be a 5.
At the same time, I am wary of hurting author’s feelings—especially friends. If I read a friend’s book that I won’t give a 4 or 5, I don’t give it a rating on Goodreads. I’ve only agreed to review 2 books by authors on my blog because I believed in those books. I’ve done a few unsolicited because I’ve love those books so much. This is such a post!
This problem isn’t limited to friends. I’ve heard agents gushing about two YA books from last year that were all premise, but slow plot.
Another issued I’ve had is because many writers are bypassing the gatekeeper, the sheer volume of books published per year has SOARED. Sometimes the quality of books has suffered. If I’m interested in the premise or author, I’ll download a sample chapter. Sometimes it's clear the big six have backed books with sparkle and no substance. And sometimes I can tell the inexperienced writers from the experienced ones who took the extra effort to hire an editor. And I’ve read self published books that were just as high quality as anything put out by an indie press or the BIG SIX.
Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn is such a book.
She did her homework as evidenced by her blog post HERE.
Here’s the premise:
Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can't read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can't be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf's mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she's dragged deep into a hidden underworld of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.
Susan’s premise intrigued me. She already published a book with a small press, so I know she’s an experienced writer. I downloaded her chapter 1. It hooked me. Before I got a chance to buy the book, I won it. It was one of those books that suck you in, like with happened to me with Divergent last year.
At first I was annoyed with Kira. She seemed to let others make decisions for her, but was in a tough situation. How do you confide in people who can have their minds read by others? Keeping a secret is nearly impossible in Kira’s world. There was a love triangle, but this one was different from the typical YA. In a sea of damsels living for their men, Kira is kickass. I liked that Susan Kaye Quinn didn’t make her dystopian set too far into the future. It made the technology and phrases feel authentic. Thoughts, actions, and dialogue were all believable.
My only gripe is that Susan self-published, so she doesn’t have some big publisher making sure this book is in Walmart and has its own display in bookstores everywhere. I want Open Minds to have a BIG audience.
This book had it all – 5 stars.