Pivot Point

Pivot Point - In Pivot Point, unbeknownst to the 'Normal' world the Compound is home to an exclusive species of people with varying paranormal, advanced abilities. These paranormals have even penetrated the 'Normal' world, living in secrecy (ie. Steve Jobs). With an affinity for reading and her boy-crazed best friend Laila, Addison (Addie) Coleman attends Lincoln High, where paranormals go to hone their special mental abilities, which vary from Memory Erasing to Mass Manipulation and Persuasion.As the blurb tells, Addie has the supernatural ability to "Search" the outcomes of pending decisions via her Divergent ability. She can see their impact for any duration of time.  This rare ability proves extremely useful when Addie's parents announce their divorce. Addie must make the painstaking decision of which parent to take residence with.  Pivot Point is this Search - the results of choosing to live with her "lie detector" father, who has to migrate to the 'Normal' world for his government job or to stay in the familiar Compound with her Persuasive mom.It is obvious the notion of parallel lives is chiseled from science fiction, but is definitely not abused. This allows YA readers to see a glimpse of a genre they might not be interested in due to deterrent, preconceived ideas. It is executed creatively via Addie's ability, which gives a creative spin to the element. Told in alternating chapters, both parallel lives are intriguing and fast-paced. They are both weighty decisions that can disrupt Addie's loyalty to who she loves. Her perplexing dilemma is something I would never want to find myself in.While it is not heavily intellectual in a scientific regard, West's worldbuilding is clever and compelling, especially since it is only a community (the "Compound") and not an entire different world or version of Earth. The conceptual clarity of Pivot Point, proves impressive as well. The development of the paranormal abilities, for instance, is not confusing or unbelievable. Similar to Harry Potter, the paranormals foster their abilities via academic lessons in their adolescence. Their abilities strengthen as they mature. Also, the tension and secrecy surrounding the Community provide a "top confidentiality" that will invest readers in a world so unlike their own.Pivot Point excels in more than just its plot devices and genre elements. Its characterization is stunning. Addie is such a sarcastic, strong-willed female lead. She deserves an award for being one of the Most Outstanding YA Heroines. She is daring and intelligent, sarcastic and loyal. I really enjoyed how West molded her into a such a relatable character. Unlike other popular heroines of today, she has this resilience that is not easily shattered by romance.Let me not forget to mention that she is a book lover too, so expect some literary allusions!The secondary characters are also thoroughly, but not exhaustingly developed. Laila is the complete opposite of Addie. She is sociable and energetic, and very protective of her friend. There are also the two romantic interests in Pivot Point, one of each who resides exclusively in Addie's parallel lives.  There is Duke who obviously is not compatible for Addie with his stereotypical quarterback reputation. He is gregarious, but very obnoxious. I enjoyed the fact that Addie did not just readily let him into her life, especially seeing how he practically pushes himself on her. But Trevor. Oh, Trevor. I cannot recall ever being swooned by a fictional character. I swear. Trevor is a Norm who attends the same highschool as Addie does in her "live-with-Dad" decision. I am already losing my trail of thought just thinking of how much I admire his conservativeness and creativeness. He is a person who I'd feel very comfortable around. Overall the romance in Pivot Point is well-developed. It never dominates the book, but most importantly, it never dominates Addie.Seeing that Pivot Point is about parallel lives, one must anticipate the plot to be quite active. Readers see Addie's life transform in two distinct ways, yet it is never overwhelming. It is also suspenseful since a plot layer revolves around Poison, a criminal who is being held accountable for murders and another focuses on the mysterious injuries of Norm high school football players. These two mysteries overlap each other in both lives as well, proving that separate choices may have intersections, that sometimes we just cannot dodge certain situations. I do wish that the case surrounding Poison was explored more, but its resolution still shocked me despite being a bit dull. The gap of time in the alternating times also allows for a reader's curiosity to swell, thus making the plot even more intriguing.What I most enjoyed about West's writing was its fluidity. Whether it was narration or dialogue the writing in , Pivot Point has a "contemporary" edge that offers a certain readability with its naturalness. This encouraged great pacing. At times, I did feel like the language was juvenile though. For her debut, West does an excellent job at captivating readers - even using humor to make it even more enjoyable! In regards to devices, West's contrast in Pivot Point is noteworthy. There is loud Laila vs. timid Addie, obnoxious Duke vs. quiet Trevor, Paranormals vs. 'Norms', mom vs. dad, choice one vs. choice two, and so on. This makes it easier to distinguish Addie's alternating choices, while maintaining balance, which although not necessary, is interesting.Pros:Well-developed characters // Subtle romance // Literary allusions // Dynamic contrast // Sufficient world-building // Conceptual clarity // Natural language // Great pacing // Humor // TREVORCons:Some plot layers not satisfying explored, though resolved (ie. Poison) // Not highly intellectual in a scientific regard, but in a paranormal oneThis review first appeared on Oh, Chrys!