Today, I'm reviewing Minders by Michele Jaffe! It's a mind-glowingly good sci-fi story, and I can't wait for all of you to read it.
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published January 30th 2014 by Razorbill
Format read: E-ARC via NetGalley
Q: If the boy you love commits a crime, would you turn him in?
Sadie Ames is a type-A teenager from the wealthy suburbs. She's been accepted to the prestigious Mind Corps Fellowship program, where she'll spend six weeks as an observer inside the head of Ford, a troubled boy with a passion for the crumbling architecture of the inner city. There's just one problem: Sadie's fallen in love with him.
Q: What if the crime is murder?
Ford Winters is haunted by the murder of his older brother, James. As Sadie falls deeper into his world, dazzled by the shimmering pinpricks of color that form images in his mind, she begins to think she knows him. Then Ford does something unthinkable.
Q: What if you saw it happen from inside his mind?
Back in her own body, Sadie is faced with the ultimate dilemma. With Ford's life in her hands, she must decide what is right and what is wrong. And how well she can really ever know someone, even someone she loves.
Fortunately for me, Penguin kindly gave me access to an ARC, and I was promptly blown away. This is a book that utilizes a lot of old school sci-fi themes, and will inspire readers with the thoughtful questions it brings up, and the troubling reality that it presents.
Things that worked:
While I won't give anything away, I will say that Sadie is one of my favorite sci-fi heroines in some time. She's smart and likable, but she also doesn't pretend to be something that she's not. She embraces her differences wholeheartedly, even when people criticize her for doing so, and I think it's a great lesson for readers to embrace.
Jaffe explores the complexities of these relationships in way that both adds to the central story, but also fleshes out the world that these characters reside in. I was especially impressed with the details and backstories that Jaffe gave to her secondary characters. Not only did they provide much-needed insight, they also helped propel the story and the intricacies of the world forward.
This is largely due in part to Jaffe's writing, which is so rich and so detailed, I felt connected to the objects and to the world in a way, where I felt like I had been living through this world alongside them. Seriously, Jaffe has covered the largest and smallest details, and I think this makes the read all that more enjoyable.
On that note…
Things that didn't work:
I think that Jaffe does a great job of settling the reader into Sadie's gradual integration into Ford's head. But I also think that there was some detail about Ford's life and the inner workings of his mind that could have been eliminated, simply because it pulled readers away from the primary point of the story.
(Though, to be fair, I personally did like the details, because it helped better explain how Sadie and Ford's Detroit came to be. So this may be a YMMV scenario.)
I also felt the ending was a little too rushed. To paraphrase VOYA, readers will likely wish that Jaffe's story had been stretched to include a second book, simply to round out the story better.
I highly recommend this book for fans of Neal Shusterman, Neil Gaiman and Michael Crichton. I also recommend this book for readers who are fans of movies like Minority Report - this is definitely the book for you.