Sunday, September 26, 2010

Review: Minder by Kate Kaynak

Title: Minder
Author: Kate Kaynak
Publisher: Spencer Hill
Release Date: June 18th, 2010
Pages: 264
Sixteen-year-old Maddie Dunn is special, but she needs to figure out how to use her new abilities before somebody else gets hurt. Ganzfield is a secret training facility full of people like her, but it's not exactly a nurturing place. Every social interaction carries the threat of mind-control. A stray thought can burn a building to the ground. And people's nightmares don't always stay in their own heads. But it's still better than New Jersey--especially once she meets the man of her dreams...
Plot: 3/5
Creativity: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Impact: 3/5
Overall: 4/5

What would you do if you found out you have special abilities not unlike those you see in sci-fi movies? Maddie Dunn never thought she was particularly special, but she finds out otherwise when she's assaulted by two teenage boys and, to defend herself, she unknowingly kills them using her dormant telepathic abilities. Finding her way to Ganzfield, a secret training facility for special teenagers, Maddie tries to manage her new-found powers while adjusting to her new boarding school and falling for the boy of her dreams in this novel where X-Men meets Mean Girls.

I was pleasantly surprised by Minder- I had a feeling I'd like it, but I didn't know it'd have me as hooked as I am now! It's a great YA paranormal that borders sci-fi, and it sets up a steady foundation for a series that I have a very strong feeling I'll love. There are a number of things I like about it, but let me start off with the premise.

The story of Minder isn't hard to believe at all. In fact, while reading it, I could totally imagine a place like Ganzfield somewhere- Kaynak creates a world so realistic and believable in her novel, the idea of special abilities like telepathy seems almost tangible to the reader. Everything is so well-explained in the novel, it almost seems researched, though it's entirely fictional!

Another thing I really liked about the story is that it tackles the omnipresent issue of bullying, but with a special Ganzfield twist- in the story the bullies use their special abilities to manipulate the other students. The gist is there, but it's made a lot more fun and interesting with the involvement of powers.

I also enjoyed Kaynak's take on the special abilities, or mutations. She presents categories in the novel, and I love that it's organized, yet still creative. There's also a (fictional) scientific explanation behind everything, which makes it all the more palpable and amplifies the coolness by about a hundred.

However, as much as I liked all those things, I was not crazy about the relationship between Maddie and Trevor. Their whirlwind romance was, well, a little too whirlwind for me, and I felt that things happened too fast. If their romance took place over a longer span of time, then their relationship would have been ideal, but with the given time frame things feel a little rushed, to the point that I didn't enjoy the romantic aspect  as much as I could have.

That tiny nitpick aside, Minder is a compelling start to a new series that is sure to be loved by many. It's fun, action-packed and well-thought-out; it's a YA novel that's relevant to this day and age. It paves the way for the second installment in the series nicely, and I honestly cannot wait to see what happens next.


  1. THANK YOU! You were also not a fan of the relationship between Maddie and Trevor. They were spouting out "I love you"s, and I was like YEAH, OKAY. :/

    Other than that, I agree, I really enjoyed Minder. It'll be cool to receive the next books in the future.

  2. Oooh, this sounds like a wonderful read. Great review!
    From the Shadows

  3. Oh, if I had it to do over again...

    At least half of Minder's reviews say the same thing about the relationship progressing too quickly. I thought about slowing it down; I really did. But in the end, I COULDN'T do it--with Maddie's telepathy and Trevor's goodness and need for unconditional love, the connection just flowed quickly, and I had to do it the way that the characters would've.
    *sigh* Oh well.
    Thanks for reviewing! :)
    - Kate

  4. I'm new to the book blog world. I'm just making a way around the web. :)

    I have not heard of this book. It sounds interesting.

    Mad Scientist

  5. This book does sound very interesting - must admit, though, that I prefer a relationship that grows and develops rather than one that seems to spring into being. But I don't think it would stop me reading this book. Nice review!

  6. I'm with you! I wrote about this on my review of Angel Star! I can't stand that alot of the relationships in paranormal romance seem to be so fast paced and serious from the start! Great review! These covers with the dual images have always fascinated me since I saw that picture in school that they always show--the one with the beautiful woman and the old woman. Does anyone else remember this?

  7. Yeah, sometimes this genre has whirlwind romances that are totally unbelievable. I guess that's the key between me liking and not liking a book - whether or not the love-at-first-sight can be feasible in some way.

  8. You know... I feel like that happens a lot in YA novels (and ESPECIALLY in Manga) these days... the romance feels unbelievable because you can't really see where or why the two characters fell in love... it's almost like, "Well, the readers expect a love interest, so lets stick this guy in and they'll accept him because he's the handsome guy in the story". It's kind of annoying.

    Thank you for the review :)

  9. I loved Kate's take on the abilities too, it was unique and interesting! Great review :)

  10. I do sort of feel bad about turning this one down, but the TBR is SO big!

    I am so with you on breakneck speed romances. Personally, I would rather read a book where the romance develops at a slower pace, and we can really see the characters explore why they like each other!

  11. I really love this book! I understand the issue with quickly developing relationships, but I understand in this case, a lot of the dancing around-- does she/he like me, what do they/are they thinking, etc is cut out, and I also understand why it progressed like it did.
    Anyways-- not nitpicking your review AT ALL- just wanted to throw in my thoughts :)
    I love that bullying is addressed as well, and that Maddie can stand up for herself and for others! She is a strong one!

    Visiting from YA Addict Comment Exchange Program
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog