Title: Pivot Point
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Harper Teen
Published: Feb 12, 2013
Buy: The Book Depository
Call me a cynic, but I wasn’t expecting this to be nearly as good as it was. Pivot Point is the very definition of a pleasant surprise.
With an original premise and simple (but engaging) plot, it is not difficult to fully immerse in West’s debut novel. From the very first chapters it is evident that this author has a natural flair for writing. Her sentences are not flowery or coated in extravagant metaphors and similes, but, rather, straightforward and humorous, in the best possible way. In West’s alternate world, we have a paranormal community full of Erasers, Discerners, those who are Telekinetic, and those who are Clairvoyant, all of which are housed at the Compound, far from the oblivious eyes of Normals. There is mind control, body control and everything in between. Kasie West pulls it off marvellously, whilst giving the story a very distinct and wonderfully unexpected contemporary edge.
Our main character, Addie Coleman, is a special sort of Clairvoyant. Her ability to Search allows her to live out two potential futures based on a decision, and once the Search is complete, she is able to make the right choice. When her parents announce their divorce and ask Addie which parent she wishes to live with – her mother at the Compound or her father in the Normal world – Addie uses her ability to Search six weeks into each future. With this, West expertly weaves together two parallel storylines, two potential lives for Addie, and gives us a realistic taste of both paths. We meet different personalities, support different romances, and watch as Addie hides her true identity in one existence and questions it in the other. Miraculously, despite the overlap of situations and characters between the two paths, there is no confusion in the storytelling. Pivot Point is thought-out and carefully paced, and West handles writing the twin stories side-by-side with ease.
This is, to some extents, more of a character-driven book, with the diverse personalities and brilliant dialogue compromising for any weaknesses in the worldbuilding and/or plot. Admittedly, little takes place during the course of the novel – little that is obviously significant, at least – and the climax is missing that important tension because of it. Despite that, however, there is never a dull moment and West’s writing never fails to engage, regardless of what is or isn’t happening in the story. The character-building is superb, with a consistent and likeable protagonist leading the way. Addie, in both potential futures, is delightful young woman with a knack for planning and organisation (I approve!) and an ever-present sense of subtle humour. Witty one-liners are carefully embedded in the right places, making this book very much a pleasingly entertaining read.
There is, of course, a romance. Or two romances, I should say, with a different love interest in each life. We have two seemingly likeable football players, one that is ‘normal’ and one that is gifted with an ability. It is interesting to watch them both play out, to watch as one potential romance slowly transforms into something negative, whilst the other, in the alternate path, changes into something positive. I liked it, is all I’m going to say. I am also incredibly satisfied with the very end of the novel, although it makes me extremely curious about the direction of the story in the sequel. At this point, I cannot predict the next step, and that in itself is thrilling.
Rating: 4 stars