Pivot Point

Book review by
Kate Pavao, Common Sense Media
Pivot Point Book Poster Image
Fast-paced tale of teen girl with mind powers.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Pivot Point will appeal to many teens, not just those who consider themselves "readers." Also, there are some fun philosophical questions that they will enjoy discussing, such as "Would you want to live in a world where you were never sure what was real and what was a manipulation?" See our discussion questions for more ideas about what to talk about. 

Positive Messages

It's worth sacrificing your own desires to protect a friend.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Addie mostly follows rules, and even when she acts out against her parents divorce it's pretty minimal (she dyes a strip of her hair blue). She's a good friend, and resists starting a romantic relationship with the Norm she falls for because she doesn't want to lie to him about her mind power and the Compound where she's from. In the end, she sacrifices what she wants to protect her friend's life. 

Violence

When Addie Searches her future to see if she should go to a dance with a boy, she sees him getting sexually aggressive with her against her will and ripping her dress. A drug dealer is under suspicion for murdering young women and making it look like suicide. Football players use their mind powers to physically injure Norms so they can lead in statistics and get scholarships for themselves. Someone tries to kill Addie's friend during an intense face-off.

Sex

Some flirting and passionate kissing scenes.

Language

A few uses of "crap" and one use of "prick."

Consumerism

Some other media is referenced, such as The Parent Trap, Ninenteen Eighty-Four and A Tale of Two Cities.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Laila's father is a drug addict who uses Suppressors to dull his own telepathic abilities. His drug dealer's a major character in the book. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kasie West​'s Pivot Point is about a girl named Addie who has mind powers: When she's faced with a choice, she can see into her possible futures. For example, when she Searches her future to see if she should go to a dance with a boy, she sees him getting sexually aggressive with her against her will and ripping her dress. Pivot Point will appeal to many teens, not just those who consider themselves "readers." Also, there are some philosophical questions that they'll enjoy discussing, such as, "Can you judge someone for something they did in a future scenario, even if that person didn’t do that thing in reality?” There's some other mature material: A drug dealer's under suspicion for murdering young women. Football players use their mind powers to physically injure Norms so they can lead in statistics and get scholarships for themselves. Someone tries to kill Addie's friend during an intense final face-off. Laila's father is a drug addict. There's also some flirting and passionate kissing scenes, a few uses of "crap" and one of "prick." 

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What's the story?

In the secret Compound where Addie lives, everyone has a special mind power, which they work on developing during their teen years. Some, like her mother, can persuade others to do what they want, while her best friend can erase memories in other people's minds. Addie's power allows her to look into possible futures whenever a choice is presented to her. For example, when her parents get divorced, she Searches to see what will happen if she lives with her mom , vs. what life will be like with her dad, who's moving out of their society to live with "Norms" in nearby Dallas, Texas. Through alternating chapters, Addie describes both tracks -- each of which leads her to romance, mystery, and violence. Ultimately, she must make a painful decision about which future she will live through in reality.

Is it any good?

This is sort of a mixed bag: Teens will have fun thinking about which of the mind powers they would most want, and will also think about the philosophical issues raised here, like Addie does. (Would you want to live in a world where you were never sure what was real and what was a manipulation? Or, if she sees someone do something bad when she is Searching the future, can she hold that against that person?) Readers may be less enthralled by the actual subplots, which involve some football players using their powers to get ahead, and a very one-dimensional drug dealer named Poison, who may be murdering teen girls.

This is a fast-moving book, and author Kasie West cleverly manages to create two different storylines that run on well-timed parallel tracks. In the end, it's the author's imagined world, not what happens there, that will make the biggest impression on readers.  

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about superpowers. If you could have a mind power, such as the ability to erase people's memories, move objects or walk through walls, which would you choose? 

  • If you could see your possible futures, like Addie can, would you want to be able to? 

  • PIVOT POINT has a sequel, Split Second. What do you think will happen in that book?

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