Pivot Point and Split Second

One of my goals for this year (and I had 100 of them) was to read everything by Kasie West and I can proudly say I accomplished it before the end of June! Her earliest books, paranormal-ish romances titled Pivot Point and Split Second helped me coast over the finish line. They’re not what I would exactly expect from a Kasie West novel, but they were still interesting reads.

The basics: Addie is paranormal, and so are her parents and her best friend and everyone else at her school in the Compound. Addie is Divergent (not like Tris, chill) which basically means that when faced with a choice,she can see the future of both options. This comes in handy when picking lunch or who to date but poses a real issue when she discovers that her parents are getting a divorce. Now she’s being forced to choose between staying with her mother in the Compound or moving with her father to the Normal world. But when Addie searches the two options, she realizes that the future isn’t so simple.

In Pivot Point, the chapters alternate between Addie in one timeline (life with her mom in the Compound) and the other timeline (life with her Dad in the Normal world). In the Compound life, she’s dating the hot quarterback of the team and in the Normal life, she’s falling for a sweet former football player who’s completely normal. But in both timelines it is becoming clear that the paranormal Compound football players haven’t been playing  fair. And back in the Compound timeline, she’s having to avoid a creepy guy at school, a drug dealer trying to shake her best friend’s dad for some money, and a grounding at the hands of her mom. But in the Normal world, things aren’t much better. In fact, things escalate in both timelines until Addie is forced to make a choice that could mean life or death for someone she loves and change everything she’s ever thought about her own abilities.

In Split Second, Addie is back at the Compound, living life with her Mom, but she’s broken up with the hot quarterback and preparing to spend the winter holidays with her Dad. This time, we get alternating chapters with Laila, her best friend who is having some issues of her own with family and abilities but is determined to help Addie no matter what. Addie, back in the Normal world, is forced to live with the consequences of the choice she had to make back in Pivot Point, even though she knows it was for the best. But she begins to worry that her Dad is keeping secrets from her and that the Compound isn’t as nice as they seem to be. With Laila’s help, Addie will try to unlock the secrets of her past and figure out how she’ll live her future…if she gets one at all.

I first discovered Kasie West with her YA contemporary novels set in very real high schools where teen boys and girls swoon over shared love of books or being locked in a library together or by winning the lottery. And there’s still some of that in Pivot Point and Split Second, only enhanced because of paranormal abilities. The stakes are much higher though. Like, in one timeline someone literally dies. And in Split Second, there’s a chance that someone will forget who they ever were. So yeah, it’s a little more than a teen romance but there’s still some of that mushiness in the center. Addie’s apparently a real catch, because she’s got multiple men after her.  One of the earliest things we learn about her is that she’s a bookworm, but that kind of gets forgotten in the second book, which sucked.

Kasie West does a great job of building the world of the Compound and contrasting it to the real world in tangible ways. Their cars are different, the way they get into their house, their monetary systems, etc. It’s cool to explore the world through juxtaposition instead of fact dumps. The characters of Addie’s Dad, Laila and eventually Laila’s younger brother are all really great side characters that play bigger and bigger roles as the plot progresses.

If you like Kasie West’s contemporary YA novels but are also interested in more fantastical, speculative fiction paranormal type books, then this is the book for you!


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