Margo Berendsen's Reviews > Open Minds

Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn
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's review
Feb 17, 12

bookshelves: ya-science-fiction, 2012-my-reads, highly-recommend, debut-2011, young-adult, science-fiction
Read from February 09 to 17, 2012

When I heard this book was based on a future where everyone could read the minds around them - the thought of how complicated the result would be almost nearly blew my mind. But this SF geek couldn't help but dive in and explore the possibilities.

Open Minds does an excellent job. The world-building rose to the challenge of a mind-reading world, dishing out some things I expected and some brilliant things I didn't expect. For instance, it made basic sense that in such a world there would be a new building code, where houses are spaced further apart, because people would need space from other people's thoughts. Which led logically to the "demens" - people who've been overwhelmed with all the voices in their head and have gone crazy (more common in older parts of big cities not yet up-to-code, people living too close together.

But some neat unexpected aspects of mind-reading were things like mind-scents, and "dipping" - which to describe would be too much of a spoiler. And mind-laughter! Great descriptions, like this one, made the mind-reading feel as real as breathing:

Their thoughts were lightning fast and played over each other, like strings on a guitar, harmonizing yet separate.

But the heart of a good story is always the characters. This book made me wish I had an older brother like Kira's brother Seamus (my only complaint was he didn't show up in the book enough). The book kind of edges along the lines of a love triangle between Simon, Raf and Kira, but it's got some loaded surprises that pretty much smashed any expectations I started to form.

There were these two scenes that did their own sort emotional "mind-jack" on me: what happened just Kira left the warehouse - and what she found out afterward. And then later on: what happened on the road leaving the camp. Umm... okay there was a third one too, having to do with Kira's mom. Blew away all previous conceptions.

Okay if I say anymore it will be spoilers. So let me just end with a smile regarding "Mr. Chance's ancient paper books" - high school kids not quite knowing what to do with words printed on paper instead of a screen. And oh yeah, the "extinct rainforest simulation" - loved it!

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