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Book review: 'Pivot Point' is fascinating, frustrating

By Jana Stocks Brown

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, Feb. 9 2013 12:00 p.m. MST

"PIVOT POINT," by Kasie West, Harper Teen, $17.99, 343 pages (f) (ages 16 and up)

"Pivot Point" is a debut young adult novel from author Kasie West, a California native who says she considers Salt Lake City as a second home due to her husband's Utah roots.

"Pivot Point" is the story of Addison "Addie" Coleman, a not-so-typical 16-year-old girl. Unlike most teens, Addie is a "Searcher," a young woman with the paranormal ability to look into the future and see both outcomes to any given choice. She lives in a paranormal compound in the Texas mountains where students learn not only the basics of reading and writing, but focus on developing their mental gifts to the fullest to serve the compound and the world of "norms" outside their walls. They may even use them to win a few football games.

Addie's life changes dramatically when the day comes that her parents announce they are getting divorced. Her mother is staying in the compound and her father moving to Dallas among the normals, nearly four hours away. Faced with choosing who to live with, Addie "searches" the future, finding two tangled outcomes that challenge who she is, what she wants and how far she'll go to save a friend.

The plotting of the story and character development in each of the future outcomes is fascinating, particularly as readers can see the crossover of events that are the same except for how Addie interacts with them. Both futures have aspects that are appealing, including two very different but strong young men, but there is darkness to be faced as well. No matter what she chooses, Addie can't have everything that she wants.

The structure of this book will frustrate some readers as it shifts from past tense to present and each chapter jumps between the two searching outcomes, which can make for some confusion. Also, there are many places where the paranormal powers, social rules and technology of the Compound and its people are not well defined but change based on what is needed for the story at the moment.

"Pivot Point" is written for mid- to late teens and contains scenes of sensuality, mostly kissing, and some violence.

West will be signing at The King's English Bookshop in Salt Lake City on Feb. 13 and will be a guest at Life, the Universe and Everything conference in Provo Feb. 14-16.

If you go ...

What: Kasie West book signing

When: Wednesday, Feb. 13, 7 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City

Web: kingsenglish.com, www.kasiewest.com

Also ...

What: Mass signing at Life, the Universe and Everything conference

When: Friday, Feb. 15, 8 p.m.

Where: Provo Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 101 W. 100 North, Provo

Web: ltue.net/SpecialEvents.html#signings

Note: Conference registration required

Jana Brown is a writer, wife and mother. She is an avid reader who resolves one day to have a full database of all the books in the house. She blogs at cornabys.wordpress.com.

Twitter: janastocks

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