Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Spring Fling Giveaway: Pivot Point

I'm giving away a copy of Pivot Point, by Kasie West, for the Spring Fling giveaway. Scroll down to the Rafflecopter form to enter. This is part of a giveaway hop hosted by Kathy at the  I Am a Reader, Not A Writer blog. Visit the link for the full list of participants and over a hundred other giveaways open through May 7. My giveaway is to US and Canada addresses only, but many of the other giveaways are international.

Since it's the first Wednesday of May, it's also the day to post for the
and I had to laugh at the coincidence because Pivot Point is the perfect example of a book that makes me an insecure writer. As in, not only is the idea brilliant (a girl who can see both paths of a choice she makes, before she makes it - which sometimes makes her choices even harder!) but this story is brilliantly plotted and written, too.
I know that comparison is deadly, but sometimes I can't help but think books like this set the bar too high for me and my manuscripts. But there's a few things I remind myself in cases like this: 1) writing is not a race 2) writing isn't a talent show, either  3)  everyone has a slightly different definition of brilliance! and 4) steady writing/revision + dedication to honing craft and studying other stories + teamwork (thank you critiquers!) + never giving up = a personally satisfying masterpiece and maybe a great read for others too.

But enough about me and more about Pivot Point, which is truly a great read and worth entering the giveaway for. Here's the form and below that is my review (not so much a review as me spewing out all the reasons I admired this book).

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This is sort of a backwards review because I have to start with the ending first. It's a cliffhanger and a sad ending on top of that;  but it has interesting time-travelish sorts of "clauses" that make me extremely eager for the sequel but at the same time grinning over the perfect balance of satisfied fulfillment and curious longing that I came out of the ending with.

I'm not sure if any of that made any sense. But I can't say more without giving away the ending. I LOVED the ending.

Okay, now back to the beginning!

The first thing I fell in love with this book (besides its premise) were the chapter headings. Imaginative chapter headings always add a little extra fun to a story, and by Chapter 2, with a dictionary style heading of "Unjustville:  n. the land ruled by my parents" I was already grinning. As I got through a few more chapters, I started to realize the dictionary-style headings all had another purpose... (more on that in a moment).

The second thing I fell in love with was Addison, the main character, in chapter 2 when she describes her bedroom:
I grabbed a pillow, pulled it against my chest, and lay down. On the ceiling above me, in black scrolling print, was the Aristophanes quote I had painted there: "By words the mind is winged." For some reason it stood out among all the other quotes that loomed above me."

A girl who paints cool quotes all over her room? This my kind of a girl. I started collecting quotes in high school too and I'm still at it. Bonus: the Aristophanes quote isn't one I've seen yet. Very impressed.  Double bonus: it's a beautiful quote for a book lover! Really, it's an awesome quote for anyone.

Another Cool Thing: the range of paranormal powers of kids within the Paranormal compound. They aren't just super-hero sort of ooooh and aaaaah powers: after all this book is science fiction, not fantasy or superhero genre. Here's an example: "he had developed the ability to speed up the connections in his brain, allowing him to run faster." - the author comes up with dozens more abilities, some expected and some quite unexpected. Also, the kids in the Paranormal compound go to their own school, with its own special quirks (not as atmospheric or as well-developed as Hogwarts, but they do have their own special-powers fueled sports, like Para-football.)

I adored Addie's insistence that her life would play out like the plots in the many books she's read. Because maybe I've been tempted to think along those lines too?
"I've been thinking about books where the main character's parents are going through a divorce. A big theme is rebellion. I think I should give it a try." 
She laughs. "Addie and rebellion. Those two words don't fit together." 
At first I'm tempted to be offended by the comment, but she's right. I'm not rebellious. Not even a little bit. But considering the insane amount of tension still present between my mom and me, I'm pretty sure I can channel rebellion right now. "I can totally do it."   
"You do know you're speaking of fiction, right? Your novels aren't supposed to be study guides for human behavior." 
I shrug off her comment. "I have at least a six-month window where my parent will blame themselves instead of me for anything I do wrong. I was thinking of a blue streak in my hair." 
Her eyes light up as though she's suddenly on board. "Really? Because that would be so awesome." 
"Is that enough? I don't want to go over the top, but I don't want to undersell my suffering either." 

Here's another snippet of Addie's dialogue with her best friend Laila (don't worry, I'll get to the love interest here shortly) (Laila is such a fun character. she also has the scary ability to erase other people's memories).

Laila speaking: "So let me get this straight. If I didn't have an ability, you wouldn't like me?" 
I sigh. "Of course I'd like you. But that's because you're out-spoken, bossy, and don't care what anyone else thinks." 
"You just made me sound like a total witch." 
"I know, but let's not get sidetracked. This is my meltdown." 
"Addie, come on, you usually don't are what anyone else thinks either. What's going on?" 
"I don't care when people think I'm an antisocial, controlling bookworm because that's what I am. It's when they interpret me wrong that I have a problem."

Another Neat Thing: the book gets away with a love triangle in a really clever, non-annoying way (really!). Addie uses her ability to look into the future to see the two different ways a choice could play out: stay with her mom in the Paranormal compound and develop a relationship with a Paranormal hot guy, or live in the normal world with her father and develop a relationship with a Normal nice guy.

So remember I said the chapter headings were really cool?  The book takes off into alternating chapters, one showing Addie's life continuing in Paranormal world, with chapter headings all having a para-something word, and the next chapter showing her alternative life in the Normal world, with chapter headings having a norm-something word in them.  Chapter 11 heading: "PARAliation: n. beyond the average humiliation."

This book is a lot more than cute dialogue and funny chapter headings. Here's another side of Addie as she talks about the pages of books she pins on her walls (in addition to the great quotes).
"It has more to do with the story lines... usually the parts where I felt the most tense or the saddest. I'll pin that page on my wall, and every time I read it or look at it, I get that rush of feelings I got reading.  
....When I read, I feel emotions all my own [not emotions influenced by another person, like her mom and dad and how their paranormal abilities affect her]. To me, it almost seems more real, because I know that those characters can't influence me with any power. So I like to remind myself that I can feel without anyone manipulating me..."

And things get really intense as you start to realize how events in the alternative timelines relate to each other, with an escalating danger that Addie can't warn herself about in the different timelines. So in a way, this book is sort of like a time-twist or time travel book.

I promised I'd mention the love interest. There are two of them, of course, but only one really counts, in the way that Mr. Darcy is the only one that counts in Pride and Prejudice, and Wickham is clearly a diversion - if a rather interesting and mysterious diversion. Here's a snippet with Addie and _____  that I loved:
"No." He stops me just as I'm formulating a simple Search. "Don't. Not while I'm here. Just promise me something. If this is a Search and you don't pick me, don't pick this path, for whatever reason, promise me you won't Erase me." [her memory of him]  
That's a very serious promise, one I can't take lightly. Because even though right now, if this was a Search, I can't imagine not picking him, if for some reason something major happens and I can't be with him, remembering him and this would be sheer torture.

7 comments:

  1. Great review! I just might have to read it! :)

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  2. I've seen this one! I'm with Laura.

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  3. I know! This book was awesome and everyone should try to win it. I loved the creative chapter headings, and Addie was so realistic, and my stomach was clenched for the last half as we realize all the connections between the two timelines and what they'd mean to her life. I FELT this book so much.

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  4. No I'm sorry US and Canada only! Adding that to the top now.

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  5. C. Lee McKenzieMay 6, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    Sounds really good. I also liked what you said about what writing isn't. Nicely written.

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  6. Anastasia LoveayMay 7, 2013 at 8:56 PM

    Omg! This is awesome! I've been wanting to read this book !
    Thanks for a chance!

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