Posted by Julie, A Tale of Many Reviews on November 16, 2011 in Reviews | ∞
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 world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.
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“She’s not my girlfriend, anyway.” He pulled out his ancient Scarlet Letter paper book. “Are we going to study?”
The annoyance in his voice made me soften my tone. “Only if we have to.” We settled on the stools. “So, not your girlfriend? And she knows this?”
He tapped his temple twice. “She knows.”
Huh. Mindreading must leave less room for misunderstandings in the relationship department.“So, why’s she guarding your rear flank?” If a boy wasn’t interested in me, I wouldn’t go sniffing after him. Not that I had any actual experience in this, just as a matter of principle.
“We have a disagreement about the future of our relationship.”
He set aside his scribepad and searched my plain blue eyes. “You have no idea. Sometimes I think you have it easier. Not knowing what everyone is thinking all the time.”
“Easier?” My voice soured. “Really? Maybe we can trade places and you can see what a joy it is to be a zero.”
His face softened in a way that made my stomach flutter.
I couldn’t stand the sad looks Raf gave me sometimes, his pity about my bleak future written in the lines on his face. But the look of longing he wore now, as though he wanted to touch me or maybe even kiss me, twisted me into knots. Because he and I couldn’t be that, not while I was still a zero. No decent person would prey upon a mentally impaired freak like me. And Raf was… normal. Perfect. Destined for a life brilliant with possibility.
I ignored Raf’s stare and pretended to scroll through my scribepad. Eventually, he gave up and transferred his class notes. “Thanks,” I mumbled. Quiet had fallen around us. I studied the notes. He read his paper book. We shifted in our seats as the minutes passed, silent and separate. This wasn’t how I wanted to spend the short time I had with Raf. I would rather live vicariously and avoid any actual work, like we normally did. But almost half the period disappeared into a wasteland of studying.
I was absently tapping my stylus against the scribepad when warmth stole over my hand. Raf was touching me. I should have pulled my hand away, but I couldn’t make it move. There was no surge of intimate emotion sharing, like readers apparently had when they touched. But having Raf’s hand on mine was like a drink of cool water after a hundred days in the desert.
My breathing tried to match the pounding of my heart. I searched for something witty or sarcastic to say, but I couldn’t unscramble my brain. I dragged my eyes to his dark brown ones. The longing look was back in force.
A war raged in my mind, a battle between the side that desperately wanted to know what Raf’s lips would feel like pressed to mine, and the better side that knew kissing Raf was something I could only keep if I was normal. If I changed. And if I didn’t, losing it would only tear me apart.
Please stop, my better side begged. Please don’t make me tell you to stop.
But he didn’t stop. He leaned toward me, and I saw as clear as the half-grin on his face that Raf was going to kiss me.
Oh, I love romantic tension!
Susan Kaye Quinn grew up in California, where she wrote snippets of stories and passed them to her friends during class. She pursued a bunch of engineering degrees and worked a lot of geeky jobs, including turns at GE Aircraft Engines, NASA, and NCAR. Now that she writes novels, her business card says “Author and Rocket Scientist” and she don’t have to sneak her notes anymore.All that engineering comes in handy when dreaming up paranormal powers in future worlds or mixing science with fantasy to conjure slightly plausible inventions. Susan writes from the Chicago suburbs with her three boys, two cats, and one husband. Which, it turns out, is exactly as much as she can handle.
Susan is also the author of Life, Liberty, and Pursuit(a teen love story) by Omnific Publishing! You know how much I love Omnific books, so I had to mention this other title. It’s only .99 right now on Amazon in honor of Veteran’s Day!