Word Spelunking

Open Minds - Susan Kaye Quinn What if your thoughts didn’t belong solely to you anymore? What if those thoughts could be used as a powerful weapon? What would you do? These are just a few of the thought provoking questions Susan Kaye Quinn explores in her book Open Minds. In this book, Quinn has created a fast paced, action packed, intensely mind blowing story that gripped me tight and pulled me from one end of my imagination to the other.Kira Moore lives in a world where the majority of the population are readers, or able to read other’s thoughts. The people of this world and time have come to depend on this mind reading so much that very few people actually talk with their voices anymore. The outcasts in this world are the zeroes, those people who can’t read minds and whose mind others can’t read. Kira is a zero…at least that’s what she thinks. As a zero, Kira is ostracized by those who were once friends, tormented by reader bullies, and cannot be with the boy she loves. Her future looks bleak until one of the school’s resident “bad boys”, Simon, shows her that she isn’t zero at all, she’s something so much more - a jacker. Able to control the minds of readers and convince the world that they too are readers, jackers are powerful and potentially dangerous people that are being hunted down and imprisoned. Kira soon finds herself in a world of complications and trouble as she must deal with a jacker Clan, the FBI, and a heartbreaking love triangle.You’re completely intrigued by now right?! And my brief summary doesn’t even begin to touch upon the awesomeness of this book. Quinn has written a highly original, provocative and edgy book that explodes with action, captivates with its realistic characters, and leaves you unable to not wonder “what if?”.Quinn’s world of telepathy is like no other I’ve ever come across. She has taken the well known and well used concept of the lone telepath treated as an outcast and freak among a society of “normal non-telepathic” people, and she has completely flipped it upside down, inside out and around…and brilliantly so. I really loved the fact that Quinn didn’t go the clichéd and easy route by making her main character, Kira, come across as morally superior or better than everybody else simply because she’s different. Kira doesn’t want to fight for zero rights or be different; she just wants to be like everybody else, she just wants to feel normal, and there’s such an honest realism to this desire.The supernatural and science fiction aspects of Open Minds are fantastic, but never too farfetched as to become unbelievable. This is a world and a future that is easy to imagine. Quinn’s imagination and creativity prove to be limitless as she paints a world that is both new and hauntingly familiar. And better yet, her world activates the readers’ imagination as well, daring it to go as far as it can then double-dog daring it to go a little bit further. I, for one, was mesmerized by Quinn’s innovation and originality.This book isn’t all supernatural and action though, it’s built on a foundation of character driven emotion. This book is told from Kira’s perspective; therefore a very intimate connection is easily forged between her and the reader. I really liked Kira as a character. Kira is smart, capable, tough, witty, and a little sassy. She’s such a realistic and relatable character with her insecurities, conflicted desires, and imperfect choices she makes. Kira grows as a character in one of the most natural, well developed progressions I’ve seen in YA in a long time. As fast paced as the book is, Kira’s development and subtle growth as a person never felt rushed or forced. And Kira’s emotional journey throughout this book is just as gripping and captivating as her supernatural one. There’s such a sensitive, heart wrenching honesty to Kira and her story that is impossible to ignore.Quinn’s other characters are also well developed and realistic. Kira’s family-her dad, mom, and big brother-provide a much needed familiarity and comfortability to both Kira and readers. Molloy (a jacker clan leader) and FBI Agent Kestral (who is also a jacker) provide two different, yet similar antagonists. Both of these men believe that their extreme, dangerous, and potentially deadly actions are for the good of the people, and I found myself completely compelled and repulsed by both men, sometimes at the same time. Their actions and choices really had me looking at my own.Simon and Raf (Kira’s BFF and the boy she always loved), make for two very different, but equally enthralling love interests. Simon is a very complex and layered character. There’s a dangerous, volatile vibe to him that makes Kira both wary of him and completely drawn to him. His charm and easy confidence are what pulls Kira to him initially, but the hidden and genuine depth to him is what keeps him in her heart, and what fascinated me about his character. Simon is responsible for some of the most heartbreaking and profound moments for me. The romance between Kira and Simon sizzles with excitement and heat. Raf, is quite different from Simon. Raf is caring, funny, thoughtful, patient; he’s truly and genuinely a good guy. He also knows Kira in a way that no one else does. Even without the ability to read Kira’s mind, Raf just “gets” her. Raf and Kira may not have any sizzling make out scenes, but the connection and love between these two is palpable.The action packed twists and turns, all the way till the end, left me rapt and breathless, while Kira’s conflicted and emotional journey and development left me thoughtful. With her powerful mind controlling abilities as a jacker, Kira must decide what she’s really willing and capable of doing. She must also completely redefine her definitions of good and bad. Kira’s choices and realizations will leave your mind reeling and leave you asking yourself “Would I…Could I…What if…?”MY FINAL THOUGHTS: This book has captured me, mind and heart. Susan Kaye Quinn has created a superbly written, captivatingly original, and breathtakingly action packed and emotionally charged story within Open Minds. I love this book and cannot wait to read more. This is an absolute MUST read!READ THE COMPLETE AND ORIGINAL REVIEW (AND MANY MORE) AT WORD SPELUNKING

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