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When I got the email from Netgalley that I was preapproved for Don’t Even Think About It, I was pretty excited. I’d never read any of Sarah Mlynowski’s books, but I had heard good things about her, so I figured now was as good a time as any to get started.

I am so, so disappointed.

Let’s start with the premise: Contemporary teen fiction with romance, secrets, scandals, and ESP. Sounds pretty cool. More interesting than my high school experience, at least. But the reality is nothing like the summary. The book is not about “romance, secrets, scandals, and ESP.” It’s about who’s hooking up. That’s really about it.

This book could have gone somewhere with the ESP. These kids could’ve turned into superheroes. They could’ve used their newfound powers for good. They could have done something instead of sitting around trying to figure out who likes who. They find out each other’s darkest secrets, but only romance-wise. It’s amazing that none of these kids think about anything else… ever.

Mackenzie cheated on CooperCooper found out that his dad cheated on his mom, and also that Mackenzie cheated on him. Tess has a crush on Teddy, who has a crush on Sadie, butSadie is dating Keith even though she doesn’t like him that much. BJ has a crush on Tess, butTess doesn’t believe it, despite being able to hear his thoughts. Olivia uses her ESP to snagLazar, who turns out to be a jerk once she has to listen to his thoughts all the time. And Pi, well, she actually uses her ESP to get better grades. At least it’s not another crush.

I think this book has more love triangles than anything else I’ve ever read. Literally every character, minus the studious Pi, has more than one love interest. It’s tiring. I don’t care.

The writing style is creepy. First person plural – there is no “I,” just “we.” It’s as if all the “espies” have merged their brains into one giant hive mind. This ominous, omniscient narrator knows what is going on in every single person’s head at all times. In general, I take issue with first person omniscient, but it’s especially creepy in this case, as it reads like all 22 students of homeroom 10B are speaking at once.

And as if those issues weren’t enough, I just could not get on board with how these kids developed telepathy. From a flu shot? Really? [spoiler removed] Is Mlynowski trying to make a statement with this?

Add to that the way it was dealt with by the school and the government, and I just walked away shaking my head. This book could have and should have been so much better than it was.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the free advanced copy.

[also posted here]