Monday, August 23, 2010

Review of Minder

Minder by Kate Kaynak
Pages: 264
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pub. Date: June 18, 2010
ARC received from Kate Kaynak in exchange for an honest review
My Rating:  3 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "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."

The story opens with Maddie, the protagonist, in an awful situation.  She finds herself being attacked and right before she thought it was all over for her, she taps into her special abilities.  Through this experience Maddie finds out that she has incredible powers, but has trouble controlling them.  She ends up at Ganzfield, which is a school for other students like herself, with the hope that she can learn how to control her new powers.  As the story progresses, Maddie develops and explores her ability as a minder or telepath.  She finds Ganzfield to be not much different than her high school back home, because there are cliques and social hierarchy.  You've got the charms, who run the school, because of their ability to "charm" people into things; if you are a vampire fan, think of glamour.  There's also the sparks who hold a special ability with fire and then there are the minders as well as people who are telekinetic, but they are rare.  On the first day, she already makes a few enemies by sticking up for herself against one of the charms who tried to compel her.  Maddie finds that it doesn't work on her as minders are immune to their ploys.  This throws the school social structure off balance, because now someone at Ganzfield is stronger than the charms.  Meanwhile Maddie meets and befriends Trevor, who also has special abilities; she finds that they have an instant connection.  Minder, the first book in the Ganzfield series, by Kate Kaynak is engaging and fans of superhero fiction will enjoy this one immensely.  

I feel like there's been a lot of books about young adults with special abilities lately, which I think is a nice break from the usual werewolf/vampire novels.  Who doesn't wish they had a superpower like telekinesis? I think most young adults often dream of having a superpower and living in Maddie's world can fulfill many teenager's fantasies.  I like Kaynak's take on young adults with special abilities and the history of Ganzfield.  She made it believable!  Also, Kaynak's writing style immediately pulls you into Maddie's world and keeps you entertained.  I must discuss the opening of the novel. I don't think I've read such an intense opening to a novel....ever.  It was nail biting and extremely suspenseful.  She throws the readers right into the center of the action.

Maddie and Trevor's relationship is extremely sweet. Trevor is the perfect boyfriend and their connection was immediate.  Perhaps that is because she could communicate with him without ever having to say a word and could read his thoughts.  For me, that sounds like a nightmare, but they make it work.  There's no guessing as to whether Trevor likes her or not, which saves a lot of time with the "I like you, do you like me?" talk.  Because of this instant connection, I felt that their relationship progressed too quickly.  That is my only complaint regarding the novel, but, if you have read my other reviews, it seems to be my complaint about many YA novels perhaps it is just my issue?

There was a sneak peek of Adversary, Kaynak's second novel in the Ganzfield series, in Minder.  WOW!  I didn't think Kaynak could write a more intense opening than she did for Minder, but, boy, was I wrong!  Kaynak may be the queen of intense chapter ones! Thankfully, Adversary already came out on August 20th and the third novel, Legacy, comes out January 28, 2011. 

 *Buy Minder
*Watch the book trailer:


  1. What a lovely review :) Thank you.

    Is your issue with things moving too quickly?

  2. Thank you for reviewing Minder, Christina! Your comments, especially about the two opening chapters, made my day. I'm grinning like a fool right now.

    Take care!

    - Kate

  3. Thanks, Juju! Yes--but that seems to be YA!

    Kate- Thank you for asking me to review! I really enjoyed Minder. :)

  4. An intenste opening? That sounds like a good beginning of a book. But is that really the cover? I do not like it!

  5. I've been wondering about this book! Very cool to know that Kate is esp. skilled with opening chapters. I like the fact that this is about teens with special abilities, as I'm a huge superhero fan. :)

  6. Hi Nina - People either seem to love or hate the cover. I love it, since it's both referenced in the book (the vase that suddenly becomes two faces), and because, like Maddie, there's more to it than what's revealed at first glance. There's a free PDF excerpt of the first chapters here:

    Kris - Please get in touch if you're interested in reviewing!


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