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Book Review: Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes

 

Summary (via Goodreads):
The more I touch someone, the more I can see and understand, and the more I think I can help. But that’s my mistake. I can’t help. You can’t fix people like you can solve a math problem.

Math genius. Freak of nature. Loner.

Eva Walker has literally one friend—if you don’t count her quadruplet three-year-old-siblings—and it’s not even because she’s a math nerd. No, Eva is a loner out of necessity, because everyone and everything around her is an emotional minefield. All she has to do is touch someone, or their shirt, or their cell phone, and she can read all their secrets, their insecurities, their fears.

Sure, Eva’s “gift” comes in handy when she’s tutoring math and she can learn where people are struggling just by touching their calculators. For the most part, though, it’s safer to keep her hands to herself. Until she meets six-foot-three, cute-without-trying Zenn Bennett, who makes that nearly impossible.

Zenn’s jacket gives Eva such a dark and violent vision that you’d think not touching him would be easy. But sometimes you have to take a risk…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review:
A really good story that I want to know more about, especially the characters.

Though the concept of “touch = knowledge” or vision isn’t new to me, I find it incredibly powerfully used in this novel. Part of what makes this story so good is that this is young adult novel, an age group where things link touch, relationships, and bonds are so pivotal to the experiences during this tumultuous period of growth and development. I’ve seen the power of “touch” used in YA before but Wendy Brant has brought new meaning to this mysterious, psychic-esque power.

Eva, the main character, cannot have any close bonds because touching anyone or anything will give off what she refers to as fractals (or algos) – impressions about a person’s life colored by their emotions (their fears, anger, pain, sorrow, happiness). This impossible barrier has made it extremely difficult to have any meaningful relationship, even with her family. And that is what makes the idea of this story so compelling and strong.

In the very beginning, Eva’s highly critical judgments about others (at least that’s how they seemed to me) was a bit of a turn off and I feared she’d be an unlikable character. But I ended up liking her. I feel all that she is (how complex she is beneath her good-girl perfect student surface) made her the perfect voice for this story. Her character growth and what she experiences and observes is so important to the teenage experience, the outsider looking in. Very relatable. I adored her math nerdiness and her rather awkward moments – those moments she seemed most alive (other than when she was around Zenn).

Zenn I love to bits, especially his name which piqued part of my interest in reading this story. He’s so laid-back, hardworking, and real. His character presents a new possibility but also an obstacle – yet he’s more than just a plot device. He comes with his own story and struggles that are tightly woven into the story. However, the biggest thing that makes him different might could be seen as too cliché and hard to overlook.

Not sure why but all the references to real-world products and brands throughout kind of threw me off – probably because I’m not used to seeing so many of such references in contemporary fiction. And I guess for me it gave off a too-real vibe, an intrusion on the fantasy of the reading experience.

The cover and jacket is so cute, simple and fitting to the story.

There’s so much left undone and unsaid that it feels like there needs to be a sequel to this. Eva and Zenn’s relationship is just too interesting and circumstantially unique to be contained in one book or at least within 315 pages. There’s so much more I want to know about them and how they’ll cope with what’s happened further in life since they’re 18 and in their last year of high school. The epilogue is satisfactory, but the book can’t escape the unfinished, over too soon feel. I’d be interested in reading more.

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