Monday, August 26, 2013

Review - Pivot Point (DNF)

Pivot Point (Pivot Point #1)
by Kasie West
Date: 2013
Publisher: HarperTeen
Reading level: YA
Pages: 343
Source: Amazon

Knowing the outcome doesn’t always make a choice easier...

Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.

In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through... and who she can’t live without.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This book was just boring.  It shouldn't have been.  Just look at that synopsis!  Unfortunately, Pivot Point has a number of problems that made my reading experience less than enjoyable.

I took a few days off from this book, and when I came back to it, I'd forgotten what was going on.  That was probably because nothing memorable was going on.  The chapters alternate back and forth between two boring scenarios: Addie living with her mother in the Compound, and Addie living with her father on the outside.  I hit the 31% mark, and so far it's been little more than a blow-by-blow account of Addie eating Cheerios, going to school, folding her laundry, being oblivious to one boy's flirting, and stalking another boy because she needs a new best friend.  I still haven't gotten to the main meat of the plot (which, judging by the synopsis, is probably to do with the murder in the Compound).  I'm almost a third of the way into the book, so I don't think it's unreasonable to expect the main plotline to have started developing.

The lack of plot might not have been so bad if I'd been enjoying reading about Addie's world (or, really, her two worlds).  Unfortunately, the world-building is not that great.  It's actually kind of confusing.  I can't get a sense of time or place.  The Compound has some pretty advanced technology... but those on the outside are still renting DVDs.  (Is this historical fiction?)  The kids in the Compound school play football and use their mental superpowers to turn it into a somewhat different game... and yet they supposedly play teams on the outside, and even go to colleges outside the Compound to play Normal football.  I don't quite understand how a super-secret Compound is supposed to stay super-secret when their kids are out in the Normal world.  Doesn't anyone ever ask about where these kids go to school?  Or why none of the games are ever played on their own turf?

The characterizations are also pretty bad.  Addie -- the narrator -- is pretty dense (she couldn't figure out why Duke kept throwing a football at her).  Duke -- the Compound's football star -- is pretty immature (his idea of flirting is throwing a football at Addie's head).  Laila -- Addie's best friend in the Compound -- is an annoying best-friend stereotype.  Trevor -- presumably Addie's love interest on the outside -- is pretty much a blank so far; all we know is that he's got a bum shoulder and he thinks Dickens is boring.  Addie's mother uses really weird syntax (her response when Addie dyes her hair with temporary dye in a fit of rebellion: "Go away from me."  Who talks like that?) and is a one-dimensional character whose only purpose seems to be to provide complications to Addie's social life.  And Addie's father... well, he's probably integral to the story later on, but at the moment he's kind of a faceless nothing who's only made a couple of appearances.

Maybe this gets better later on, but I'm not enjoying it enough to give it any more of my time.

So, in the final analysis, the reasons why I didn't finish Pivot Point are as follows:
  • weak world-building
  • weak characterization
  • excruciatingly slow pacing
  • nothing interesting was happening


  1. Wow-tough review. I loved this book so it's hard for me to see you enumerate its flaws but I'm glad to get that other perspective as I've seen only almost universal praise for this book.

  2. Aww, sorry you didn't like it. I loved this book so much. Definitely a favourite of mine. I thought the story was unique and it definitely kept my interest. But, each to his/her own! :)