Monday, July 15, 2013

Christina Read: Pivot Point by Kasie West

Release date: February 12, 2013
(Thank you to the Midnight Garden for the book!)
Published by: Harper Teen
Recommended by: Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

Christina Reads Your Recommendations is a regular Monday feature here (inspired by A Reader of Fictions' Sadie Hawkins Sunday) in which you, my readers, get to choose what book I will read and review next. Got a book that you love and want everyone to read and review? That you're not sure what to think of and want a second opinion on? That you think I'll love or that I should have already read? Send in your recommendations via this form!

Pivot Point by Kasie West

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.

Ten likes/dislikes

1. (+) Addison, the protagonist - Addie may go down as one of my favorite YA heroines of all time. From the start, you're pulled into her witty perspective as she contemplates the misguided advice of "Head's up" (after getting hit in the head). She loves books - pastes drawings and paints quotes on her walls to capture the feeling of the emotions in the words as she experiences them. She's loyal:  there is an abundance of boys in the book, yet her relationship with her best friend, Laila, rings true. She doesn't want to be girl in the quarterback's jersey; she's an introvert and doesn't particularly like football... and yet above all, she is brave, thoughtful, considerate. Although she does some selfish things--her parents are going through a divorce, and someone is going to get the brunt of that--and may analyze a situation a tad too much thanks to her Type A personality, she's a smart, refreshing heroine who, I suspect, would make for a great best friend.

2. (+/-) World-building - On one hand, I was pleased with how easily Kasie West inserted the necessary information about the Compound (automatic lights, enhanced...everything etc.) and each person's powers. There were no awkward info-dump paragraphs, or info-dump conversations--none that I can remember, that is. On the other hand, you don't learn a whole lot about the inner workings of their powers. Or, really, the Compound (how did the rules come in place? who governs it? it's located in Texas? etc.). There's sometimes a vague mention of the energy re: powers, but I'm a bit confused as to whether that only relates to one person or them all. In general, West does a great job emphasize what's different for Addie as she navigates Normal life - reverse characterization of the Compound, so to speak. (Think Harry Potter and the wizard v. Muggle world).
3. (+) Romance - This may be one of the most unusual love triangles I've read about - and somehow it's also not really a love triangle. Kasie West did a brilliant job of characterizing two very different romantic interests, and two very different outcomes as a result. It's made clear which of the two options is better, yet neither is any less complex. 
4. (+) Plot - What made this plot brilliant was not only the way the two alternate futures began to converge (also, how even in the beginning, a lot of the details were the same) but also the way in which Ms. West incorporated the characters' individual powers into the mystery and their actions/character development. You have Memory Erasure, Clairvoyence/Divergence, Mood Controlling, Matter Manipulation, Telekinesis, Undefined Powers, Discerning (lie detecting), and Persuading. This makes for thrilling and somewhat unpredictable plot twists and turns, and developed character arcs.
5. (+) Humor - This book is full of genuinely funny moments and conversations -  it's not just filled with the one-liner humor you tend to find in a lot of YA lit. For instance, one recurring joke involves how Addie decides to act in light of the divorce - she's got her "rebel" on, ready to enact the cliches of post-divorce teenage behavior based on the books that she's read.
6. (+) Friendship - Do you ever think that YA lit sometimes seems to de-emphasize genuine friendship between girls? (The Jealous ex/secret lover, the Mean girl, etc. And how many books would pass the Bechdel test?) One of the best portions of this book is seeing how Laila and Addie interact, how they bring each other comfort, and how the distance affects their friendship in ways neither of them expected. One thing that slightly disappointed me about the friendship was how much of it focused on boys (though, truthfully, a part of me thought that added a more realistic edge). That focus, and how the portrayal of another girl character fit into the jealous mold that Laila's presence combated--other than those two things, the friendship between these two girls, and the emphasis on friendship in this book were truly a delight.
7. (+) Feel of the Book - You should adjust your expectations, I think, before reading this one. If you're going in with the expectation that this is paranormal romance, well, this book might not fit the typical mold. If you think this is light science fiction, I'd probably say it's light science fantasy. If anything, this book most reminds me of a contemporary thriller / romance with hints of mystery and science fantasy.
8. (+) Writing - It flows really well and is easy to read. It's appropriate for the thriller feel while still packing emotional punch.
9. (+) Pacing - I can't imagine how hard it must have been to switch between the different timelines for the alternating perspectives - whether Addie stays with her mom, or whether she leaves the Compound with her father - but Kasie West managed to plot and pace the book so expertly that I could not flip the pages fast enough. The tension rises and rises until the alternating perspectives begin to converge and overlap into the climactic scenes.
10. (+/-) The Cover - I'm not a huge fan of this cover. While I like the grittiness of the color scheme and texture, and the portrayal of Addie having two choices and them being split by the Pivot Point, there's something about the image that just doesn't capture my eye.

This is the second week of Christina Reads Your Recommendations, and already I've gotten two great reads. Yusss. (!!!) I now understand the Kasie West hype, and you bet I'm going to read Split Second, the sequel to this duology. Laila's got some 'splaining to do. Check out Pivot Point if you're looking for a contemporary-esque thriller/romance with a dash of science fantasy/paranormal and a heap of heart and humor.

Up Next: Of Silver and Beasts by Trisha Wolfe or The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner.


  1. Oooh I've seen a lot of great things about this book, and your review just confirms that I really should pick it up! I mean, one of the only things you really marked off on it was world-building, and I'm one of those readers who don't often get bothered by world-building, so this may be pure gold for me! Everything from the character to the humor and the unusual love triangle all sounds good to me. Great review (and I'm glad you're enjoying the books that are being recommended)!

  2. I have yet to read a negative opinion about this book, and though this sort of parallel universe set up doesn't appeal to me usually, I think I'll have to cave and pick this one up eventually. It sounds like West did a great job with her protagonist and her relationships with family, friends and romantic interests. That's important to me, and the love triangle that isn't really a love triangle has got my attention for sure.

  3. I haven't written my review yet so I didn't read yours but I see a lot of +'s which makes me happy because I freaking LOVED this book. :)

  4. I loved this one! I agree about the worldbuilding, though. It didn't bother me while I was reading it, but looking back I almost wish there had been a little more about the Compound. Great review!

  5. Great review--I loved this book and, given the ending, I'm really looking forward to the next one!

  6. Oh, I'm so glad you liked the world building and the romance was another plus for you. I can't wait to read this book. Everyone has been waving about this one . I'm glad it was humorous for you. I must mention though that I actually love the cover. I gather from all of your pluses that you adored this pretty :-) YAY!

  7. PP has very few bad reviews, from what I've seen. The world-building's not too bothersome--just felt like PP would have been a favorite had there been a bit more--but it sounds like that won't be a problem for you. I hope you enjoy the book then :D. (And yes--I'm so lucky. These last two recs! Here's to hoping more recs come in and that they're just as awesome.)

  8. I'm with you - the parallel universe/premise was actually why I hesitated to read the book, despite the reviews, but that was a mistake :D. I really do think you'll like this one, for Addie, the familial relationships, the friendships, and the characterization.

  9. Yes, so many ++s :). The execution was so well done! I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of the author's work. And to reading your review so I can compare notes :D

  10. The world-building wasn't a huge bother--but it did keep this one from being a favorite of mine, despite how awesome everything else was. Thanks, Taylor!

  11. Right?? The epilogue hints at an awesome story to come :).
    Hey, Pam, do you have a blog I can visit? For some reason, yours doesn't show up in the blogger comments, and I'm trying to visit blogs of commenters.

  12. Yes! This book was great, and I hope you enjoy it when you get a chance to pick it up :). Haha, the cover is definitely pretty, and I like it better than the cover for the sequel but still...

  13. It's

  14. I love the way your formatted this review, by the way. It makes it easy for me to respond with my comments on your comments ;)

    Addie is phenomenal. After reading this and The Distance Between Us, I
    have to say that characterization is one of the strongest aspects of
    West's writing. She is so real and dimensional - it's fab.

    Also, leave it to West to create a love triangle that is done originally
    and doesn't grate on the nerves. I did have a clear favorite, but it
    was interesting to see how it all panned out and what future she picked.

    YES TO MORE THAN ONE LINERS. I can do one liners and think they are
    amusing, but this one is truly funny. I actually laughed out loud more
    than once and that NEVER happens.

    6. +10000 for mentioning the
    Bechdel test. It's really disheartening to see how many books would fail
    this. So refreshing to see a REAL friendship between teenage girls in

    I can't wait for Split Second. I do have high expectations but I also have faith that West won't let me down.

  15. Loved this book...and I really enjoyed her recent contemporary romance, too. I think the strong friendships and humor carry over to The Distance Between Us, as well, and were some of the aspects I particularly enjoyed in both books. Very much looking forward to the sequel.

  16. I've been wanting to read this book so really glad to hear that you enjoyed it. I might have a rec for you soon, Christina. :)

  17. I'm glad that you really enjoyed this one! I found this to be an alright read, but I agree with a lot of the points you made in you review. The romance was definitely unique and unlike anything I've read before. xD

    Daphne @ Reading Until Dawn

    Also, yes. I do think you'll love PP!

  19. Aw-- why just "alright" for you? It was a good read, but for me, not a favorite just because the world didn't captivate me. Too few details to make the paranormal pop, IMO. But yay that we both enjoyed the romance!

  20. Yeah! I bought The Distance Between Us because I have yet to see a single bad review of that too, and I'm so looking forward to more of her humor and strong friendships. Another reader described it to me as "Flufftastic." :)

  21. Aw, thanks, Jessie! Would you believe me if I said very few people have ever commented on that? It's usually that they like the list because it's easy to scroll through the review lol.

    1. THIS PLEASES ME GREATLY. I just bought The Distance Between Us and I am so looking forward to more great characterization! Probably my favorite part of any book.

    3. Was your favorite the one whose path she chose? (And yes, actually--this may go down in history as the best done love triangle.)

    5. YES. Sometimes, honestly, it feels like YA humor has too much one-liners, like that's the sole perception of teens & teenage humor.

    6. I am actually going to write a discussion post on the Bechdel Test next Tuesday. It seems like it's a very select crowd that knows of the BT and how it might be helpful to apply to YA lit.


  22. I want to draw hearts around this review.

    Can I?

    *draws hearts*

    Okay seriously, you really did a GREAT job reviewing PP, Christina. I loved the humor, and the friendship and how GOOD and healthy Addie and Laila's friendship was. I loved that the LT wasn't really a LT. I loved how much genuine emotion this one wrung out of me - I was SO tense reading the last fourth or so. I liked Addie SO much, and I think, like you, she's one of MY favorite YA heroines. I just need Split Second now.

    Have a wonderful day!


    I think that Kasie West has a penchant for humor & healthy, strong female friendships. And I think that, for that very reason, I will be picking up her next books for the next coming years. That she wrung so much emotion out of you is yet another sign of her talent. :)

    Addie's awesome. I hope that she's still got a decent portion in Split Second, though the cover does suggest the main focus is on Laila, who I also want to hear from... the choices! the choices!

    You too, Molli :).


Thanks for visiting my blog! Please make sure to indicate your blog name so that I can return the favor later :).

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...