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Friday, February 7, 2014

Review: Minders by Michele Jaffe

Title: Minders
Author: Michele Jaffe
Publisher: Penguin
Pub. Date: January 30, 2014
Genre: Young Adult
Rec. Age Level: 12+
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For years, Sadie has worked with one ultimate goal in mind: being accepted into the prestigious Mind Fellowship program, a program that seeks to educate the future's best minds. She knows little about the program, but what she does know - that the it pushes boundaries, selects only the best, and is a frontrunner in technological advancement - would make it a shining achievement on her already impressive resume. Sadie learns she will undergo a process in which her mind will connect with a randomly selected subject's; she will see and feel everything he experiences, but he'll have no idea she's there. Sadie is expected to stay objective, to observe her subject without the bias of emotion, but she soon finds that task is much easier said than done. All she's told about her subject, Ford, is that he's on the fast track to criminality, information that immediately biases Sadie. Though privileged and sheltered, it doesn't take long for Sadie to realize that people, even those from the wrong side of the tracks and with infuriatingly annoying tendencies, are complex... and that there's always more than one side to every story. As the days she spends in Ford's mind turn to weeks, she finds herself reevaluating the way she looks at the world. Pulled into his quest to solve his brother's murder, Sadie is surprised to find herself feeling for Ford... and maybe even falling for him.

Oh, where to start with my love for this book? There's crazy, advanced science, a mystery, dark threatening forces, gorgeous, crumbling Detroit architecture, and a complicated, swoon-worthy romance. 

I'm am, admittedly, a huge fan of Michele Jaffe as an author. I've yet to be disappointed by one of her novels; I've read both her adult fiction and YA.  Her adult fiction is rather steamy and I love that she's able to bring that to her YA as well... The steamy scenes within MINDERS say well within PG-13 bounds, but Jaffe isn't afraid to tackle the intensity of teenage sexuality. Ford is a teenaged boy after all... a teenaged boy who has no idea that a teen girl is currently residing in his head, seeing and experiencing every sensation he does. Understandably, this makes for some very interesting situations that are both intensely awkward and unexpectedly passionate.

While MINDERS is not the first book to explore a premise in which a character is privy to another's thoughts without the other character's consent or knowledge, Jaffe gives this established trope a fresh twist. Often, this power, to breach another's mind, is achieved by supernatural or magical means... In MINDERS, it's science and technological advancements that allow Sadie and the others within the program to cross personal boundaries and invade the privacy of those who might be peers if not for their socioeconomic status. When supernatural and magical elements are involved, there's often clear divisions of good and evil. In MINDERS, right and wrong - and good and evil - aren't as easily established.

With MINDERS, Michele Jaffe demonstrates she can give readers a gripping, well-written story, no matter the genre.


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