Parents' Guide to

Mind Games, Book 1

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Psychological thriller is like X-Men meets La Femme Nikita.

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White is a zippy writer who doesn't bother with flowery descriptive language or overwrought metaphors. The emphasis in this book is the plot, and what a compelling story it is at first, with its echoes of X-Men and Alias and La Femme Nikita. Through alternating chapters that switch from the past to the urgent present, White introduces two sisters who are utterly devoted to each other but are also kept prisoner (either figuratively in Fia's case or literally in Annie's) because of the other.

Although White says again and again how much these sisters adore each other, she doesn't provide enough examples, even in the flashbacks, of anything but a sense of sisterly obligation. There are no shared memories of laughter and playfulness, which, yes, even sad orphans are capable of (just ask Harry Potter). The next book probably will answer some of the many burning questions posed in this one (like why their guardian aunt basically abandoned them to a Chicago boarding school, or what exactly Mr. Keane does with his gaggle of supernatural girls), but for a psychological thriller, there isn't quite enough connection to the two main characters to make the girls' actions as meaningful as those of comparably (impossibly) conflicted protagonists like Katniss or Tris.

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