As a psychic empath, 14-year-old Parker Mills can sense strong emotions in others. And the new girl, Mia? She’s so sad it’s like a gut punch. Luckily, Parker’s developed a toolkit of mentoring and match-making to keep everyone around her as happy as possible, preferring parties to pain any day. But Mia isn’t interested in any of Parker’s tips and tricks. This is more than just annoying (which it totally is.)
Parker is one of four secret psychics in at her middle school, and her precog bestie has a vision that Mia’s pain will lead to the psychics’ discovery by some very dangerous people looking for human lab rats. It’ll all go down at the middle school Halloween dance if they can’t help Mia first. But when Parker’s gift goes haywire, keeping everyone safe suddenly gets a whole lot harder, and with the dance looming, she’s running out of time to stop the coming disaster.
Amy writes magical escapes for young readers and the young at heart. She is the author of the World of Aluvia series, The Secret Psychic series, and the Wish & Wander series, for ages 10-14 and up. Her latest book is The Worst Villain Ever, for ages 8-12. She is also a former reading teacher and school librarian.
As a military kid, she moved eight times before she was eighteen, so she feels especially fortunate to be married to her high school sweetheart. Together they’re raising two daughters in San Antonio. You can find her online at amybearce.com.
Oh my gosh -- this is such an adorable book! Parker takes people-pleasing to a whole new level as a psychic empath dependent upon everyone else being happy so SHE can be happy. She works overtime at keeping all of her friends and classmates on an even keel. This includes her "special" group of friends who have psychic powers of their own. Together, along with a mysterious and troubled new girl, they learn how to harness and control their gifts in order to protect each other and their school. Along the way, they discover that shortcuts don't always get you where you want to go. Sometimes you have to band together and take the long way around.
This book is a perfect read for tweens. It's fast-paced, humorous, and just plain fun.
So, first of all, I've read previous versions of this book like...I dunno, four or five times? And certain parts probably more like seven or eight times. And right from the very first iteration, I found myself totally in love with the characters. Parker is friendly and fun and energetic, Mia is sweet and sad and complicated, Avery is the perfect best friend (seriously, PERFECT), Ethan is a mischievous rebel, and Deshawn is calm and wise and has a heart of absolute gold. And I really love the group's extremely tight friendships and how their personalities play off each other in such a delightful way. I want them all to be my friends!
It's also kind of perfect for the upper-middle-grade/lower YA crowd--a mix of cool paranormal abilities, humor and darkness, and light romance, with a lot of actual depth to it. The characters, especially two of them, deal with some really tough issues, and Bearce doesn't flinch away from those things at all. In fact, the whole point of the book is about facing up to the hard stuff and learning to deal with it in healthy ways. I'm kind of a sucker for sci-fi/fantasy that's really more about real life than about the cool abilities, and I feel like this one's really well-done in that respect, though the sci-fi aspects are also super fun and the stakes are high and have serious consequences, so that'll keep you on your toes too!
And now for the usual disclaimer: Amy's my friend, and I've read enough versions of this book that the final version feels like coming home, so I might be slightly biased. But only slightly! Every time I read the published versions of her books I get just as sucked in as if I'd never encountered them before, and this one even more-so. Great characters, great dialogue, action and romance and superpowers...
If you're looking for something with all the emotional depth of YA but without the mature content, this is pretty much perfect. I want more! :)
The power of Shortcuts is the characters. While the group of kids who have been friends since birth have supernatural powers they experience all of the challenges, conflicts, and lapses of good judgement that all kids this age group struggle with. Every middle grade student will find a character they can relate to tin this book. The beginning of the book has the reader falling in love with the characters, but as the story develops the suspense builds, and it has an ending I never saw coming. I guessed one surprise, but Amy Bearce throws in multiple curveballs, so even the best predictor will be surprised by some of the twists and turns. This book has so many avenues to continue these kids’ story, but also concludes in a satisfying way.
I read this book and then went through it again because I felt like I was missing something - I tend to read very quickly and sometimes don't absorb important facts. It was after running through it the second time that I realized what I read was meant for the Y/A crowd, so it's not going to have the resolutions I am looking for (I specifically want to know more about Dr. O and the clinic).
SHORTCUTS is a story about just that, taking shortcuts to get what a perceived outcome should be. Each of the high schoolers featured in the story have an enviable "power". There's an empath, a boy with telekinesis, a "psychic", one with supersonic hearing, Josh and Mia (I don't want to give anything away so won't tell you what they are up to).
Parker is a girl who wants to help everyone feel better and the theme of the story are the shortcuts she takes to "help" others along. Messing with destiny can have life altering results.
This book was well written, the friendships are strong and diverse and the energy of the book was fast paced. It certainly held my attention from beginning to end. I think there are covert lessons to be learned also. Everyone is carrying a burden; some share the burdens better than others. Everyone deserves to have friends and be loved. Most importantly, there is no such thing as a shortcut. Every action has a counter action which is not always what we want it to be.
I absolutely would recommend this story to my younger cousins.
Shortcuts (Singularities) by Amy Bearce was a hooking fun, engaging, well crafted and just, made me fall back in love with YA.
My first read by this author,. and I have to say I am going to be adding her to my watch list. This book is fresh, different and just had this wicket vibe to it. It had things I love about YA, and it has the things I wish other YA series had. It felt almost real, even with the powers. Man I'm having a time trying to get out how special this book is. On a technical side, this book is as I said, well crafted. The writing is smooth, connecting and it draws you in. The detail was spot on, and I felt at times I was watching a movie, I just got completely lost in this book. The characters, not just the MC, are loveable, realistic, and properly some of the best I've read about this year.
If anything you need to give this book a chance, and if you were like me and falling out of love with YA, this book will drawn you back in rekindle a new love. This book broke the mold, and it gets my super high recommendation, and my golden stamp of approval.
Shortcuts (Singularities) by Amy Bearce was is a fun and engaging YA fantasy story. The characters are interesting, and believable and have powers and the story is fast paced. The journey is one of friendships and family, and the usual that teenagers go through along with powers and consequences that could destroy it all and still trying to work out who they are and how they fit in the world. This YA fantasy is well written and captivates the audience no matter their age.
Shortcuts by Amy Bearce a four-star read that will take you away. It is a great story for older children as well as having something for adults as well. The fantasy element of the story is well done, I enjoy the genre but its not one of my favourites at the moment but this one sucked me in, and the story kept me hooked. The characters are real, and you will find something in them that you will identify with. If you like your fantasy with a great story, then you will enjoy this one.
I read this book with my 11-year-old kid (her review is below mine). This is a delightful middle school story about discovering your place in the world during those awkward years when you’re not a kid anymore but you’re not in high school yet. Told from the POV of Parker, an eighth grade empath who can feel others’ feelings, the story explores friendships, family relationships, the subtleties of social power, and the problems you must face when you make a mistake that hurts the people you love.
The plot is well-constructed and the story goal clear from the outset. The kids in Parker’s group of friends each have a different power, and each has to learn how to control it and fly under the radar so they don’t wind up as unwilling subjects in an experiment foreseen by a member of the friend circle who can see glimpses of the future. The pacing is just right for the way events unfold; my kid and I were both fully engaged from the opening moment.
Parker’s voice throughout is a delightful combination of brash, bold, vulnerable and honest. When she realizes the true depths of the way she’s screwed up, she has to decide how best to amend her mistake—and whether she’s brave enough to do it. Her friendship with Mia, a new girl who moves to town who has deep emotional scars, is particularly compelling and winds up being the catalyst for Parker’s character arc change.
Age-wise, this book is probably best for 11 or 12 and up. There were some aspects of it that my 11-year-old didn’t quite understand (the parents’ fertility treatments that resulted in the kids getting their superpowers, some of the cultural references), but these were good springboards for discussions.
Overall, I highly recommend this book for the tween and early teen set. It’s a lovely combination of smart, funny, engaging and emotionally resonant.
Here’s my daughter’s review (includes spoilers):
This is an exciting book that I didn’t want to end. Each character in the friend group had something about them that stood out. Parker is the main character and she can feel others’ feelings. I found Ethan’s power to be the most interesting. He can move things with his mind and mostly used his power to play his drums and tease his friends. I liked the romance with Ethan and Parker.
The friendship between Parker and Mia, a new girl who moves to town, started off with Parker hoping to help Mia, but Parker’s plan backfired when she started to push feelings into others. Things with Parker’s mom started and ended on a sad note. Towards the beginning of the book, Parker’s mom thought Parker was weird and didn’t seem to love her. In the middle of the book, she loved her only because Parker was pushing in emotions. And at the end, her mom loved her but left the family.
Parker was brave to admit her faults to her friends, because that’s embarrassing and most people don’t like to do it. I know I find it hard! Overall, I thought this book would be great for ages 12 and over because there were some things I didn’t understand, but it was very, very good.
Shortcuts is a wonderful blend of friendship, light sci-fi, suspense, and a little romance. The main character’s voice drew me in and wouldn’t let go. Parker, an empath, is a feisty, high-spirited girl trying to get a handle on her psychic ability. I loved her despite—or maybe in part because of—her flaws. She’s joined by a supporting cast of characters that are so well-defined I could clearly see them in my mind’s eye while reading. The author’s writing fairly flows off the page, creating an emotional connection between the characters and the reader.
This is a page turner with a narrative thrust that begs you to keep reading to discover what Mia is hiding…and to find out whether the group of friends and their powers will be exposed. Amidst the suspense, there’s an empowering message for young readers—a message that’s delivered with a whole lot of heart and a little bit of humor.
I look forward to many more great reads from author Amy Bearce!
You know, as an adult reading a book like this (meant for a younger age range), you think to yourself "Oh Parker, you should've just listened to your father. He may not have the same kind of empathic powers you do, but he know more than you give him credit for." But then of course she turns around and does what he made her promise not to do and low and behold...she's causes more trouble than helping. You can't help but shake your head and remember as a teenager how you thought you knew more than your parents. This was a really good book though. I'm interested to see what happens next to the growing group of psychics and if the guidance counselor is actually a threat like Parker feels.
Parker, Deshawn, Ethan, and Avery grew up together and have remained close friends with each other. But their closeness isn't only because they live in a small town, they all four were products of their parents doing a fertility trial that has caused powers to emerge within each of the offspring. For so long Parker only used a bit of her powers to help her fellow classmates feel happier and maybe a bit more confident in themselves. However, Parker never accounted for her powers to strengthen and never imagined that she could also cause more pain than happiness in some people. When Mia arrives, Avery knows that she will be their downfall and all of them (the psychics) will be discovered. It only makes sense to task Parker with job of ensuring Mia no longer feels the pain and hurt that would eventually lead to Avery's vision. But Parker soon learns that messing with other's feelings to try and soothe the pain and hurt doesn't allow them live and may also make people feel as if they are being betrayed by those they thought were friends.
Shortcuts (Singularities) by Amy Bearce is a perfect novel for young readers! It is a story of four best friends – Parker, Avery, DeShawn and Ethan. They all have psychic powers because their mothers were given a certain fertility drug. They all have developed different abilities that I can imagine the young readers would find very cool! The story is told from Parker’s point of view, she is our resident empath! She is brash and bold and honest and caring and energetic … Avery is the PERFECT best friend ever … DeShawn is calm and wise and a young man with a golden heart … Ethan is our mischievous young rebel … and then we have Mia, a sweet and sad and complicated new girl, and Josh who is another new boy that brings his complications … This story that I think would be a perfect reading early tween and teen set, tells us the story of friendships, family relationships, the power of social standing and the realities you must face when you hurt the people you love, even if you did not mean it to happen … it tells us a story of what the consequences of shortcuts are and that actually, there are no shortcuts in life as every action has a counter action … it shows us that everyone carries a burden and everyone deserves to have friends and to be loved! There are a loads of lessons that if you are open you might be able to learn by reading the book and not needing to experience them in person!
This is a story about four best friends (Avery, Parker, DeShawn and Ethan) who all happen to have psychic powers. All are products of a fertility drug given to their mothers. Each developed different abilities, all of which are very cool. This book is from Parker’s point of view, she is an empath.
She’s popular and has won the pageant twice and is head of the dance committee. To everyone else, she has it all but being in eighth grade and feeling everyone’s emotions is hard. Teens are constantly on an emotional roller coaster and she rides along with them. So she figured out “shortcuts” to make everyone around her happy. If they are happy, she’s happy. Only the people closest to her know the pain that she carries.
When a new girl arrives at school, Parker feels so much pain within her. She decides to use all her shortcuts to help her. Unfortunately for Parker, her abilities start to go haywire and serious problems arise.
This is the perfect novel for young readers to show them that there are no shortcuts in life. It will show them that the times of sorrow and grief are experiences for them to grow and learn; to be able to be stronger. I really enjoyed this book and hope there will be more. Perhaps give each friend a story of their own.
Shortcuts (Singularities) By: Amy Bearce 5 out of 5 stars
The story Shortcuts (Singularities) by Amy Bearce is a wonderful fantasy book that I enjoyed reading. It is a story that drew me in and I found myself not wanting to put it down until I had finished the last page. I enjoyed reading about Parker Mills. She is a young girl who is a secret empath. She is someone who wants others to be happy and does all that she can to make that happen. Parker meets Mia who has a mysterious past and has emotions that include pain and sadness. Parker finds herself stepping thing up when her normal abilities to make Mia happy fall short. Things don’t exactly go as planned. What will happen when Parker’s powers go haywire? Read this story to find out. I also enjoyed reading about the character of Josh. He is caring and is interested in Mia. The story at times had me wondering what was going to happen next. Parker is such a strong and stubborn young girl who has a high energy level that shows throughout the entire story. There are other characters that are introduced who I enjoyed reading about the part that they play in the story and their interactions with Parker. This is a story that has a wonderful storyline as well as wonderful character. It is one that will keep your interest the entire times reading. Recommended reading.
Shortcuts is the first book in Amy Bearce’s Singularities series. It’s a fantasy novel aimed at older children (around KS2-3) with a gripping story that adults will also enjoy. Parker is an attractive protagonist. With her popularity, talent and beauty, she’s someone many young readers will look up to and maybe even envy. Parker’s powers – her empathy – make her sensitive to the emotions of those around her. This makes Shortcuts a great book for encouraging empathy and discussions about emotions. It also shines a light on the potential burdens of being highly empathetic, which some readers might recognise in themselves. There are complicated relationships of many kinds in this book. It examines how our emotions affect the people close to us, and how they are affected by our emotions. I was particularly interested in the dynamics between Parker and Mia as I think people can often feel overly responsible for the happiness of others. For me, this is a five star book. I enjoyed reading it now, and I’m sure I would have enjoyed it just as much, if not more, if I’d read it when I was younger. It is well written for the age group, and would appeal to fans of superhero and magic stories. It would also be a good way into fantasy for readers who already enjoy books that focus on the drama of friendships and romance.
Welcome back to the eighth grade , Parker Mills is living a great life, two time winner of the Miss Divine Pecan pageant and the head of the dance committee . She is also a empath . She absorbs the energy of others and tries to set her friends up . When her friends are happy it means she is happy. Then things start to go wrong when Mia starts at their school she is depressed and just a black cloud. Parker tries to break through but with her friends she tries to help out when her powers go haywire everyone could be in jeopardy and secrets could be revealed . The characters are well written ,Parker is sweet and kind and sometimes she comes of naïve when she does some of the things she does . Avery is the perfect best friend she is feisty and will stand up to anyone wanting to hurt her friends . Deshawn well he is the sweet calm guy with a heart of gold . Ethan is the rebel of the group. Mia is sweet but also so lost and depressed . Together they are a great group of friends . This is a sweet story of friends who are there for each other good and bad, they all have a combined secret powers that have bonded them . The author takes us on a fun filled ride through high school . Where they have bigger problems then acne and boy problems . The author throws us a few curveballs through out the book . This book is great for kids from the age of 10 to 16 they will fall in love with the characters and the story line is sweet . It shows that anyone can be a hero if only they believe . This would be a great book to put on your Christmas list for your tween .
I just finished reading Shortcuts (Singularities), by Amy Bearce.
Wow - this is a very intense story about Parker and her friends DeShawn, Avery and Ethan. They are a very close group of friends and have more in common than just your typical high school hobbies!
Life is going relatively smooth for Parker and her friends until the new girl starts in school. Mia starts in her new school with some epic weight on her shoulders - and as an empath, Parker is hit with Mia’s feelings, full force.
Always wanting to fix things and make other people happy, Parker is determined to help Mia fit in and tries her hardest to help Mia find some happiness and peace.
But being an empath doesn’t exactly come with a manual and Parker’s gift starts to morph into something she hasn’t known before.
Reading about this close group of friends and how they embraced Mia and Josh, really moves you.
This was a very powerful book that I couldn’t put down!
Taking shortcuts in life might be tempting - you might get there quicker but will you get there in one piece?
I’m immensely impressed with Amy Bearce and her writing skills - this is a must read!
Shortcuts written by Amy Bearce is a great YA read. I am older than that but seem to find a breath of fresh air because it deals with hard realities of teenage girls. This story, for me, would have been a great suggestion for me to read or my daughters to read. It deals with some troubling issues for teens. Topics of challenges, conflicts, mistakes and consequences are the highlights of this book and it shows that you can make it through with a little bit of help/ There is a fantasy story and Parker Mills is on her way to being popular. She has everything going for her, two-time winner Miss Divine Pecan Pageant, head of the eighth grade dance committee, and a secret empath. So she has everything going for her but there is a little nudge that has come into the her world. Will Parker be able to work out the details so that everyone can be happy? Will this be too much for Parker? I will be looking for more books by this author.
“Have you watch the new Nancy Drew series? Well, this story was somehow like an episode but for kids lol. I loved the group tight friendship and their connection as fiends. Each one of the characters were different yet they complemented perfectly to have a strong friendship. The beginning was amazing because the story focused on getting to know the characters and their dynamics so you could fall in love with them when suddenly the unexpected happened and the tension started to build. I don’t want to give details about their powers but Ethan rocked the power department lol. At least to me he had the best ones. Parker’s character was a true lesson of what being brave means. We all make mistakes, we are humans but admit them is a different story. Not everyone is open to be exposed and embarrassed. Huge lesson! I liked the sweet romance between Parker and her. I’d have love the story to be for adults lol.”
Shortcuts (Singularities) by Amy Bearce is a brilliant YA novel that is clever and unique and such an interesting read. This is not only perfect for the age range it is clearly aimed at but also has that something about it that captures the attention of all age ranges. The characters were all great to read about. The dynamics of their group worked really well and was believable of kids their age. That is something I think a lot of authors struggle to get right. The story was varied and nicely paced - quick enough to hold the attention of a YA but also detailed enough provide an interesting story. I have to say that I loved the cover of this book. It is eye catching and instantly draws your attention to it. It is what caught by interest in the first place. I really enjoyed everything about this book and wouldn’t hesitate to read more by this author.
I really liked this book. The main character has a great "voice" and is funny. I like stories about superheroes and special "powers" and stuff like that...and this book has a great way of interweaving what real life would be like for teenagers with "special" gifts. The author uses a unique and light touch that I think makes it more interesting. Also, it is a great character driven story about relationships and the power of genuine friendship which I think is highlighted really well with Parker's powers. My favorite part is the end...but no spoilers. It just seems like a very realistic portrayal of what might happen if a troubled teenager had uncontrollable emotions matched with superpowers.
I won a copy of this book on Instagram, and couldn’t be happier that I did! I’ve read all of Amy’s others books and loved them, so I was really excited to get an advanced copy of Shortcuts. The book is perfect for my middle school aged children and entertaining for adults as well. The characters deal with every day middle school issues as well as trying to figure out how to deal with being “special” or different. Their special powers create such a unique bond for them and it’s fun to see them work together to solve their problems. I really enjoyed the love aspect of the book as well. It’s so typical of what goes through your mind at that age. The ending is exciting! All in all, it was fantastic!
Shortcuts is a different take on the paranormal young adult novel that had me thoroughly entertained from the beginning. I was instantly swept up in these teenagers lives and I couldn't wait to see how it played out, though I do have some questions about some of the characters. I thought this story showed a different side of the typical teenage angst story in a way that made it seem new and fresh. This story was full of the stuff I love too, it played on the heartstrings a little in a couple of different ways. It reminded me of being a teenager and made me grateful that I survived it as well as I did. I think this story is good for anyone looking to escape the humdrums of life with a little thrill.
Shortcuts by Amy Bearce is a delightful fantasy aimed towards children aged 9 to 14 years old. But I am waaaaay older than that, and still enjoyed the story. There are some tougher issues covered in this book- such as challenges, consequences, conflicts, and owning up to mistakes… which were handled really well by the author, who wrote in a way that was thought-provoking, yet would also allow the younger (teen) reader/s to understand. A story with a message/moral. The characters are well crafted individuals who were interesting, and believable. They learned and grew as the story progressed. Coming out the other side stronger and wiser. The story has a fast pace and is a fun and engaging read.
Shortcuts is an easy to read young adult novel. It focuses on a group of kids who are born with special abilities after their parents utilized a special fertility drug to conceive. Parker is the main character of this novel and is an empath. She uses her ability as a shortcut in a way with people in her daily life. Mia is the new girl and is difficult to read but could also cause problems for the group of friends.
I found this book easy to read and the storyline easy to follow. The characters were descriptive and realistic despite having amazing abilities. It was easy to picture Parker's bubbly personality as the story progressed. I really enjoyed this novel.
It's harder enough to be an average kid but when your one that is an empath your life is one big nightmare. Trying to keep sane with everyone's emotion in your head is almost impossible, but thank heaven for her 3 friends who also have gifts. Avery, Ethan and Deshawn are those friends and are 3 reasons that she is still sane. I thought at first that I probably would not care for this book but once I started reading I was hooked at the beginning. Amy Bearce gives us characters that are real and we can relate to them (we remember what it was like when we were all teens) Their emotions and those around them show us what it's like for the 4 kids. Well done Amy Bearce , this is a wonderful book and I'm glad I got to read it
Life isn’t fun when you shortcuts. You learn a lot about yourself when you take the road less traveled. Parker had empathy and it is a dangerous and powerful gift. She wanted everyone happy but forgot that happiness included going through all your emotions. I really enjoyed reading this story. The characters were young and refreshing. They’re just beginning their life journey. Though they will have many trials and tribulations they have each other to help. I hope the author continues this into another book. There is great potential for a series. All these kids with powers and someone is out to get them.
Older JF/younger YA book about a group of friends who all have different psychic abilities due to their parents undergoing the same fertility treatment. They know about and support one another, but keep their special abilities hidden from anyone who is not in their families. Two new kids move to town and the creepy school counselor asks Parker the main protagonist, to befriend the new girl. I enjoyed the book, but felt like the build up to a sequel was diffused into a tidy ending rather than a cliffhanger. That said, still looking forward to reading the second book and sharing it with my 13 year old niece!
This is my usual go to genre i must admit i was completely sucked into this novel. This had a great fantasy storyline that draws you in and you will find yourself lost in there world which is an amazing experience. It's about a group of young children who have been friends all the lives but they all have super powers but still go through life normally even with there special abilities. The character's were fantastic and really brought this story to life. This was a brilliant read and i look forward to reading morw from this author.
This is a creative, well written and engaging YA book. This is about a group of kids that have been friends all their lives. They all have superpowers and go through normal things kids their age do despite their special abilities. I enjoyed each of these characters. They bring the story to life and they really are who make the story. Their story is a journey of friendships, family, and consequences. I recommend this book for middle schoolers or anyone who enjoys reading YA books.
This YA fantasy is beautifully written and will captivate it’s audience no matter your age. Bearce treats her young main characters with respect and intent, allowing them to truly develop and grow, while learning and stumbling along the way. I wasn’t certain what I would find when I dove in. But easily by the second page I knew I had a treasure in my hands. I enjoyed every minute I spent reading this book. Highly recommend!