Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn
Published November 1, 2011
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When everyone reads minds, a secret is a dangerous thing to keep.
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.
This definitely was a great start to the series, the complexity of the world and how it was created was fun and interesting. To me this story seemed to offer so much, though it didn’t feel long in the sense that I wish it was over it did feel long in the sense that so much happened…so much was revealed about this world. Though this isn’t a world I’d want to live in by any means, it is a world that was created with thought and care. The overall feel of the story is satisfaction and the knowledge that there’s more to come.
This book held all of the necessary elements to make a good plot, it was also paced in just the right way as to allow the story to flow smoothly and quickly. This plot was fast-paced, filled with plenty of action and had just enough slower moments to allow the reader to take a breather and absorb all that’s going on. The sub-plots in this story were kept to a minimum thus allowing the main plot to take focus and allow us to explore the most important issue in the story. But there were a few sub-plots that intertwined with the story and made the main plot that more outstanding; it gave the main plot a certain boost per say, we were allowed to better understand the world and what was going on.
The characters were very interesting in this book, they were all necessary to help the story feel more realistic and true to its world. Most of the characters were three dimensional and added another layer to the story but there were a few characters I wish were “painted” a little better, I felt that those characters that lacked a certain element were a little secluded to the overall conflict of the story. The main characters were all fortunately “painted” colorfully and they each had distinct characteristics that helped the reader identify them.
Transformation of the Character:
I felt that most of the characters transformed little in this story, like perhaps they need more pushing to allow them to transform into a different them. But the main character did do a little transforming, though I wouldn’t consider it in any way an enormous transformation I would say it was a big transformation to the character itself. She used to be so fragile and a dull gray color but something in the story sparked her transformation and allowed her mind to open up to even more possibilities and emotions she wasn’t even prepared for. So overall I think the transformations in this book fit perfectly for this particular story and I can’t wait to see these characters grow even more.
The description was really good in this story; I felt the author did a great job painting the world where I was able to capture each scene and character and better understand the environment these characters were in. It was the perfect amount for the story, there wasn’t too much to overwhelm the reader and too little to leave the reader grasping for a picture, it was the perfect amount to leave the reader satisfied. As for the type of description I wouldn’t consider it lyrical but it had its own style of its own. It was effective and smooth at the same time, I would have liked a more poetic feel to the scenery description, I felt that a lot of the places these scenes took place were so full of energy and back-stories, though the author described the scenery I felt it could have perhaps been described in a better way. But overall the description was enjoyable.
I liked this authors sense of style, the way she intertwined all of the elements into this story to make the overall product. I liked that she kept to one point of view, we were able to really digest what she was feeling and get the knowledge of her instead of the overall story, it helped let us narrow down to certain issues rather than trying to grasp all the concepts of this complex world.
Quote of the book:
“I wonder if I try to kiss you if you’ll knock me out again. It depends. How good a kisser are you? My heart thudded erratically.”
I would recommend this to any paranormal reader and to anyone who just enjoys a good fun read. I wouldn’t recommend this if you don’t like the concept of reading minds or anything particularly paranormal reading. I did overall enjoy this book and can’t wait to continue to read their story. I found that I enjoyed that though the things they did and their issues are not possible in our world they in a way correspond with similar issues we are facing in society today. So if you think about it this author is very clever to add a lot of symbolism in this story. This first story in the series is a great start and will leave you learning for more by the end of the last page.
How can you not love a book that’s set in the northern suburbs of the greatest city in the world? Ok, so I might be a little biased on the backdrop given that I too call those northern suburbs home, but in all seriousness, the book was something else.
Kira is going through life as a zero. In a world where everyone is expected to be able to read everyone else’s mind, she’s one of the rare people that can’t, and that makes her society’s outcast. The story was wonderfully original. And the world building was great. With a futuristic topic so complex, I thought the author did a great job of painting the world with just enough detail that I wasn’t left with residual questions, but not so many that I was distracted from the story in general.
I think the book caught me by surprise. It started out with Kira trying to deal with her handicap, her friend’s feelings, and the bullies at the school. I’m not saying there was anything wrong with the start of the book, it had my attention from the very beginning, but I had expected a typical YA book. I didn’t expect the story to spin out into cults, demens FBI agents (read the book for more futuristic lingo), and a whole slew of other hardcore twists. Color me impressed. That’s right, I’m impressed by a book with a love triangle, and we all know how much I love those (I don’t). Its a love triangle that both a love triangle lover or hater wouldn’t mind.
But what would a book be without lovable characters you can easily connect with? Though this book had many lovable characters, lets focus on our 3 stars:
Kira- I love a strong heroine. This girl goes from thinking she has no chance for a future, no chance to go to college, or ever have a boyfriend, because she’s a zero, to thinking she’s dangerous, and then to thinking she can help people, and then going out and trying to do just that. I want to give this girl a round of applause. Her bravery and morals make her a great teen role model.
Simon- I loved his confidence and that he was the one who helped Kira when she didn’t know what was going on. I have to admit, I didn’t trust him, but I don’t know if I’m the best judge of character.
Raf- I loved Raf from the start. I have soft spot for the boy next door. And I loved that even though Kira was an outcast, he was still her friend. He never pretended he didn’t know her nor ignored her when others where around, like some other people. <cough, cough> I was a team Raf girl.
Overall, I thought this was a highly imaginative book, and I absolutely loved the twists and turns the storyline took. I appreciate an author that isn’t afraid to take chances with their story and characters in order to better the story overall. I will be eagerly awaiting the next book.
This was an awesome story. That about sums it up! I loved the whole premise of this book. I thought it was very unique to have a world where reading minds would eventually be considered “normal” and anyone who could not was labeled a “zero”. In this case our zero is Kira. An all around typical high school teenager except for one thing…..she could not read minds. But…..is there something more to her? You will have to get the book and read to find out! I thought Kira’s character was a very strong young woman and will go on to do good things.
Kira has a best friend and his name is Raf. I instantly fell in love with him! There are underlying feelings going on in this relationship and I have to say that I was on Team Raf from the very beginning. He is a reader but it does not matter to him that Kira is a zero. Then we are introduced to Simon. He had to grow on me throughout the story because I wasn’t to sure about him to begin with. I had trust issues with his character. He approaches Kira and begins to “help” her with issues that have begun to trouble her and that is all that I will say about that! All and all I did end up liking Simon’s character. I always enjoy a good love triangle!
I would highly recommend this story to everyone. Character development is solid. I feel that the author gives you a chance to get to know these people. The story flowed nicely. It did not jump around and get you all confused. I look forward to the second installment! I give this one,
How did you come up with the title of the book?
Titles either come to me in a flash or I agonize endlessly over them. This one was easy, and was present right from the start, in that very first paragraph I wrote for an online contest. I like double meanings and Open Minds spoke to the mindreading as well as the intolerance of Kira’s world, where everyone reads minds but her.
What were the challenges to getting the book published?
Initially I queried agents with the novel (and had lots of requests), but ended up self-publishing for a number of reasons: 1) self-publishing offered a faster time to market and better pricing than even my previous small publisher, and it would take years to get to print through a big publisher, 2) the market was hot for my genre, right now, 3) I like shiny new gadgets, and self-publishing is definitely one of those, 4) I’ve always had a large need for creative control and an entreprenuerial bent, so self-publishing was a good fit, personality wise. The biggest challenge in self-publishing, I think, is time management – making sure you keep writing, even with all the publishing hats that you wear.
What book are you reading right now?
I just finished reading Goliath, the third book in the Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld—which gives me a chance to fangirl about him some more. Le sigh. The man is a genius! Seriously. Gorgeous writing, fantastically vivid characters. I want to be him when I grow up.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
Well, if you don’t count the endlessly-serialized hideously-illustrated stories I passed in high school, my first novel was written three years ago. I was 43 (yes, I’m a late bloomer). Looking back, that entire novel was one giant character study! And an amazing learning experience.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Write as much as you possibly can, and constantly strive to improve your craft. I’ve learned a tremendous amount through critique partners and studying bestsellers that I love, but the most important thing you can do is write, write, write. Strive for that million words you supposedly need to reach before you start writing the “good” ones.
What are you currently working on?
I’m torturing the third draft of Closed Hearts, the sequel to Open Minds, as well as crafting a detailed outline for BookTheThird (the unamed third book in the Mindjack Trilogy). And daydreaming about a series to come after Mindjack. 🙂
Favorite Book? Hunger Games (dying, DYING for the movie).
Favorite Author? Epic throw-down contest between Suzanne Collins and Scott Westerfeld, presided over by JK Rowling. Because she’s the Queen.
Favorite place to read? Curled up on the couch. With tea.
Favorite Genre? Both middle grade and young adult, but if I have to pick one, it’s YA. I like the kissing too much to give that up.
Last fun one:
If you could choose to be a character from any book, who would it be and why?
Hermoine Granger. She’s wicked smart, hangs out with the Chosen One, and she does MAGIC. Also, I’m in serious need of a time-turner.
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4. Winner will be chosen via Random.org on March 27.
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