Author: Kasie West
Genre: YA, timey-wimey-wibbly-wobbly-stuff, sci-fi, PNR, alternate histories/universes
Publication Date: February 12, 2013 (HarperTeen – North America)
Source: Edelweiss Review Copy
Summary: 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.
☆: 4/5 stars – a very fun, twisty review that I’m definitely going to want more of!
Review: I can see where this book would and can really confuse people. “Pivot Point” is a daring debut by Kasie West, and I really like where all of this is going as a trend in YA lit. It’s following books like “Fair Coin” and “Unraveling” in terms of looking at the multiverse theory (also known as M-Theory) part of quantum physics, where there are multiple universes for each choice we make. “Pivot Point” really breaks that part of M-Theory down and makes it very, very understandable and digestible for the YA crowd. It also has more than one mystery buried within it, and I love it when an author can combine two unseemingly incompatible genres and pull it off. And West does that very well.
One thing you should know when you read this book – remember to look at the chapter titles (the definitions). This is the very clever way that Kasie uses to distinguish between both futures/universes in the midst of Addie’s Search, and if you don’t keep that in mind, you will get confused. Trust me. That being said, the world that West has constructed in this book is good. It’s solid, and it works, but I do feel like the Paranormal Compound part of it could have been fleshed out way more. This is the biggest reason why I’ve downgraded it from a full five stars – I feel that the Norm world was far more 3D in comparison, and I’m hoping that in the next book, West does flesh out the Para world a bit more. Perhaps that was even what she was aiming for with this book – to give us a bit of a taste and save the rest for later? I’m not entirely sure. I just know that I liked the alternating chapters for each universe/choice and the worlds within them, and I want more. It’s hard to build two worlds at the same time, and regardless of my pickiness with the slightly lesser construction of the Para world, the fact that she was able to build both to a degree where I could understand them and their rules is impressive and shouldn’t be discounted in the least.
The characters. I did love the main cast, precisely because West laid out their personal journey/growth arcs so very well. Very easy to follow, and watching them grow was a great thing to see. Addie’s growth was far more pronounced in the Norm universe compared to the Para universe, but it was a good move on West’s part because we could see how much she was growing in these two different areas of her Search by comparison. The rest of the main cast was great, as well as the antagonists – because they were a mystery. You weren’t quite sure and it was shrouded in a lot of paranoia, and I liked that feeling of not being able to trust anyone – or not being sure if the “declared” antagonist was really the bad guy.
The area where I felt there could have been a bit more work was the sensory language area – it was passable, but just needed a teensy bit more. Otherwise, I feel like it worked, and worked pretty well – it just could have been a bit more polished.
And the ending. I liked how we were able to kind of skip past the future that Addie chose (because we knew what was going to happen), and while I can see why people are saying this is a cliffhanger (in terms of who she meets/semi-remembers in the final pages), but to me it felt complete enough as a standalone, yet can also work as the first in a series (which is what it is). It leaves the ending a bit open so that the audience can fill in what happens next, and I like it when authors do that. But we have another book coming, and that makes me quite happy, as I’ve grown attached to this author and this world.
Final verdict? I found “Pivot Point” a great read, and I think you will too. It’s just pretty complex, and you have to read carefully. “Pivot Point” is out February 12, 2013 from HarperTeen in North America, so be sure to check it out when you get a chance.