Review: Don’t Even Think About It by Sarah Mlynowski


We weren’t always like this. We used to be average New York City high school sophomores. Until our homeroom went for flu shots. We were prepared for some side effects. Maybe a headache. Maybe a sore arm. We definitely didn’t expect to get telepathic powers. But suddenly we could hear what everyone was thinking. Our friends. Our parents. Our crushes. Now we all know that Tess is in love with her best friend, Teddy. That Mackenzie cheated on Cooper. That, um, Nurse Carmichael used to be a stripper. 

Since we’ve kept our freakish skill a secret, we can sit next to the class brainiac and ace our tests. We can dump our boyfriends right before they dump us. We know what our friends really think of our jeans, our breath, our new bangs. We always know what’s coming. Some of us will thrive. Some of us will crack. None of us will ever be the same. 

So stop obsessing about your ex. We’re always listening.

I am so glad that I requested this book! The premise is terrifying, at least to me. I mean, can you imagine what would happen if other people could read your thoughts? Especially if they could read your thoughts during the confusing four years that is high school?! I think this is a big deal for me because I — like Olivia in the book — worry about everything. I don’t need people getting into my head and seeing how much I stress over relatively small things. Also…well…I often pretend to like people/being around people more than I actually do. I’m fairly antisocial.

Okay, back to the book. This is a truly excellent YA novel. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read, and I mean that in the best possible way. The book is narrated in the first-person plural. The narrative style is unsettling and slightly eerie at first, but it makes perfect sense. I mean, these kids can easily finish each other’s sentences. Why shouldn’t they tell their story together? To quote the students of homeroom 10B,

It’s how a group of I‘s became a we. …

It’s all of us. We’re telling you this story together.

It’s the only way we know how.

The students’ reactions to their newfound abilities are realistic: they cheat on tests, find out who their real friends are, freak out when they “hear” their parents having sex, and discover their crushes’ true personalities. Mlynowski masterfully switches between thoughts and speech, and the results kept me on my toes and made me laugh oh-so-many times.

Because twenty-two kids were affected by the vaccine, the book doesn’t go too deeply into any individual story (though some characters get more mentions than others). This didn’t bother me, though. I mean, really: even if you can hear a person’s thoughts when you’re around them, you don’t know the whole story of what it means to be them. You never will.

All in all: Highly entertaining. Read it!