When I was little, we read this story about aliens who could read your mind when they touched you. For the longest time after that (like forever, including currently) I have this weird thing about people touching me in my sleep because I’m convinced they can see my dreams. I’m not sure how one innocent childhood story translated into people snooping around in my head while I sleep, but you know how it is when you’re little. Things just take on a life of their own. While this has nothing to do with Open Minds by Susan Kaye Quinn, it did kind of remind me of my whole fear.
In Open Minds, everyone can read everyone else’s minds. Well, everyone, that is, except the Zeros. While the rest of the world has evolved into some sort of telepathic society, the minds of the Zero’s remain blissfully quiet. Unfortunately, that’s not a good thing. When you can delve into the thoughts of everyone around you except a select few, who are you going to trust? The guy who cannot possibly lie to you because you’ll know the truth just by digging, or the girl who is totally closed off and can basically tell you anything you want to hear?
Sixteen-year-old Kira is a zero. Or at least she thinks she is, until the boy of her dreams leans in for a kiss and she knocks him out cold with her mind. After that, she discovers that she’s actually a Jacker- meaning she can basically hack into other’s minds and control them. Kira learns this from Simon, a regular bad-boy who happens to have the same ability and teaches her how to use it. When Simon wants Kira to join a clan of other Jackers, Kira declines, and things go very, very wrong.
Open Minds is a perfect hybrid of the paranormal and dystopian genres. The futuristic world is shaped entirely by those with the telepathic abilities, and anyone who is different is considered an outcast or worse. Kira is a strong character who never gives in to those who want to use her for unsavory purposes, fights for her friends and freedom, and proves that she can adapt quickly to all the changes that are thrown at her. The writing is excellent, the dialogue is believable, and the plot tension builds until the very end. While it’s getting harder and harder to write a completely original story these days because everything has been done, I think Quinn did a great job of presenting a totally new world and idea to readers. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys the dystopian or paranormal genres.