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Mind Games Hardcover – February 19, 2013
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Gayle Forman is an award winning journalist and author who shares a passionate interest in the fictional depiction of truly amazing kisses with another critically acclaimed author, Stephanie Perkins. Though both women have made their names writing swoony boy companions to intriguing, dynamic female leads, they understand the power--and problems--of breaking out with something new. They recently sat down for a chat about Kiersten White's storytelling shift with MIND GAMES.
Gayle: I love Kiersten’s new novel, Mind Games, but I have to admit, it was a bit of a surprise for me. Paranormalcy had been so fizzy and fun, almost winking at the genre. Then Kiersten turned out this edgy, psychological thriller. I know you’ve known her a while, so were you surprised?
Stephanie: Not a bit! We’ve been critique partners since 2009, and the first thing I ever read by her, which was before Paranormalcy, was dark and psychological. And her second novel was a continuation of that world. Those books didn’t pan out, but years later she took their best parts and turned them into this single complex crazy thriller. For me, it was less surprise than pride: this idea she’d had for so long came to life in such a spectacular way. She wrote it in nine days.
Gayle: Nine days!! I find that rather insane. Which is to say, I'm extremely envious.
Stephanie: Seriously. When you think about the layering of this plot, two narrators and four timelines, it’s amazing. And the final version isn’t that different from her first draft.
Gayle: I think every writer gets one easy book. For me, If I Stay was that book. It came out effortlessly, and the draft I showed to an agent was not significantly different from the final book. But every book since then has been a much more difficult process, months, if not years. And even with If I Stay, it was three months, not nine days.
Stephanie: Although to say it was nine days is also misleading. First, it took four years of percolating. And then there were the revisions.
Gayle: I get that. People used to ask me how long If I Stay took to write and I’d say, three months—pause—and seven years. That was the percolating part. I believe you know something about that with Lola And The Boy Next Door.
Stephanie: Yeah, I worked on it for a full decade. But I never wrote a draft in nine days. Or three months.
Gayle: But it’s not an anomaly for Kiersten. She’s amazingly fast, and therefore prolific. She has the Paranormalcy trilogy, Mind Games and its sequel and The Chaos of Stars later this year, and even more brewing. And she has kids! How does she do it?
Stephanie: She’s like one of her characters in Mind Games, because she has this ability that the rest of us don’t have. Her brain works at four times the regular speed. I’m a slow writer. I’ll sit on a problem for weeks, wrestling with it, stuck in the same spot. And then Kiersten and I will talk for forty minutes--forty minutes of me moaning and rambling--and the moment I stop, she’ll say: “Well, what about this?” She usually nails the solution on the first try.
Gayle: One of the things that impressed me about Mind Games was how edgy it feels, but how Kiersten uses none of the obvious tricks: No sex, no swearing, no drugs. And yet she accomplished a real dark, moody sexy, dangerous-feeling book.
Stephanie: I know, right? It shows that if you’re a good writer, you can accomplish those same things in atmosphere, in tension. This book is really sexy without any actual sex.
Gayle: As someone who puts sex and language in my books, I tip my hat to Kiersten for accomplishing all that while keeping it clean. It’s a real testament to her writing skills. And I loved the conflict of Fia, the “gifted” sister forced into this dark world she didn’t want to be in. It reminded me a bit of La Femme Nikita, a movie and TV show I loved.
Stephanie: While reading, I felt such a genuine concern for both girls. But I worried the most for Annie. Fia’s part is so well written that I really, really felt that fear and urgency and need to protect her sister.
Gayle: And she wrote Annie, the blind sister, so believably.
Stephanie: Yes, and it takes skill to write a character who doesn’t rely on visual cues, the bread and butter for most authors. You’re great at that, too--the smells and touches and sounds. I felt as if I could TASTE how delicious Willem was in Just One Day!.
Gayle: Ha! Thanks. Speaking of delicious boys, you’ve made your mark with your soon-to-be three smart romances, Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, and Isla and the Happily Ever After. But your next project is a horror novel! Kiersten has gone from these lighthearted, almost cheeky, paranormal romances to this much darker, psychological thriller. Do you guys ever talk about these sharp departures and how your readers might react?
Stephanie: Neither of us wants to be a one-trick pony. We have so many different types of stories inside of us. I think a lot of authors get pigeonholed as writing one type of novel, being one type of author. But as someone’s friend, you know they’re so much more than that. So we do talk about the departures, but we’re optimistic. We write for ourselves first, and we just have to hope that some of our readers will follow. So, back to your first question, it makes me incredibly happy to see this confident, twisted, cool book come out of Kiersten.
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Top Customer Reviews
This should not have worked. This should not have been good. Everything about this book was begging for me to hate it.
So why did I love it so much?
Here's why I shouldn't have loved Mind Games:
1.It's written by Kiersten White and it's NOT about Evie and Lend, to which nothing was supposed to compare.
2.The point of view is constantly switching between two sisters.
3.The point of view not only switches between characters, but switches between the past and the present.
4.There is a love triangle beginning for one of the sisters.
5.I hate false advertising. This book isn't really a "slick, edgy, heartstoppingly intense psychological thriller" as descriped in the blurb. I wasn't ever particularly scared or anything.
AND YET I LOVED IT.
All of my feels about this book are hard to explain. But hold on, let me back up a little. This book is about two sisters with psychic powers who have been orphaned and "taken in" by this school for girls with psychic powers. The problem is that this school is not a nice place, and they're using these girls for evil purposes. The first sister's name is Annie, and she's blind--but a Seer. So her sight is really more useful in the long run. Her sister Fia is like nothing anyone has ever seen before, because she has these great instincts that tell her everything from the right stocks to pick to how to perfectly fight someone--and also keep her from being able to be seen by Seers. The school that's taken them in is training Fia to be their killer while holding Annie for collateral. The book opens with Fia out on her first hit, which she is unable to carry out. And then it all goes downhill from there.Read more ›
""I have no idea. My plans changed about five minutes ago." I look over my shoulder to see the men, three (tap tap tap - I hate the number three), thick shoulders, one gun between them based on the way the guy in the middle is walking (that was a mistake, they should all have guns - guess they'll find out) matching our pace and getting closer."
The narration style of MIND GAMES starts off annoying and only grows increasingly more annoying as the story goes on. In the case of both sisters, the narration is done in first person present tense stream of consciousness style. It takes a great hand to effectively deal with first person present tense, and that great hand generally has to go to lengths to make it not seem like, “I brush my teeth, I say hello to my cat, I go to sch- SQUIRREL! Ouch a rock! I go to school.”
The draft for MIND GAMES was written in nine days, and it shows. The writing is extremely random, with forced bouts of conscious thoughts that have no place in a book. When you remove the random inner monologue and flashbacks that have no place in guiding the story (only serving to make the reader very, very confused), the actual story is maybe 100 pages.
"I hate stun guns, I hate them so much. LET GO OF MY RIBS."
Here in lies the main problem with MIND GAMES, the problem which ruined my enjoyment of it. The writing was juvenile, forced, incoherent at times, and seemed like a cheap rip off of SHATTER ME stylistically, a book which I should note I was not a fan of for reasons of prose AND plot. But that’s a different story. MIND GAMES suffers because of the very problem that makes it fast paced.Read more ›
Mind Games is based on two sisters who have supposedly had the privilege of living and going to school in a private location. Truth be told, there are hidden meanings behind this said privilege and things aren't what they seem. With no parents, it's just Fia and Anne. Fia can be like a loose cannon at times but she means the best. Having to look out for her blind sister and having all the responsibility fall on her shoulders is a heavy weight for her to carry.
Anne has the occasional vision where she can see things that are going to happen. Being blind, yet having visions, she still cannot look forward to them because the visions usually lead to nothing but trouble. Fia would do anything for Anne, but she hates the school that they are in. Fia doesn't see it as a privilege at all but another obstacle she must overcome and defeat. Anne feels safe there. Learning new things about herself and finding friends, she feels at home. But when the truth is unveiled, choices have to be made. Not everyone will understand these choices but with what's on the line. Fia is tired of the orders, and she has finally taken things into her own hands. But what will this mean?
Mind Games is so thrilling. Kiersten White explores a new territory with the idea of perfect instincts. The idea was so enticing and fresh. I loved Kiersten White‘s approach to it. Fia was such a nuanced character who I really enjoyed reading about.
While I am pretty sure Kiersten White can do no wrong, one thing she excels above all else at is characterization. After finishing the Paranormalcy trilogy, I was mourning leaving Evie and Lend behind. I am so happy that they are replaced with Fia and Adam as main characters, who are just as admirable and awesome. I instantly fell in love with them and I really enjoyed Annie as a character too. Adam is so goodhearted and Fia just cracked me up.
I do wish Mind Games had been a tad longer. Since the book switches off chapters with the past and the present, I would have liked a little more from each. Especially since the story also switched off between sisters. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved the set up with the alternating chapters, I just am greedy and wanted more story now.
The plot was captivating. Kiersten White starts out with a bang and she doesn’t let up at all. Mind Games moves at an insane speed. With the ending of the book, I am pining away for book 2.
Basically, Kiersten White has done it again. I fell in love with Mind Games and everything about it. Kiersten White is such a talented writer that I merely cannot wait to read another book from soon.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Mind Games is the story of two sisters. Annie is blind, but can see in her visions, where she gets small glimpses of the future. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Katie
This was such a good book!! There's still a lot to be solved and that's why I'm picking up the next one right away.Published 29 days ago by **Tokyloca**
This book could have been great, BUT it flip-flopped back a forth from character to character and from past to present. By the end you needed a score card to keep up.Published 2 months ago by Susan Holsomback
I got goose bumps!
This book was a fantastic, easy, quick, enjoyable read. I was sucked in quickly and found myself having to finish it. Read more
Went in circles and hard to follow at times...it would go back in time suddenly to explain what was happening now.Published 7 months ago by Soundq2
Ohhh Kiersten White. I have hard such great things about you. I mean, I have read one of your books but that doesn't count because it was the second book to the Paranormalcy... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Kaitlin
Repetitive, found myself lost at times. Surprise ending. Quick read some what interesting. I would recommend it to young adults.Published 10 months ago by Kindle Customer