Series: The Mentalist, #1
Description: For Gemma Green’s first time, things should have been straightforward. Find your subject, hold their gaze and push a thought into their head to save them from future disaster – Aversion complete. A pretty simple process given that the subject was to have no recollection of the experience. But Russ Tanner doesn’t seem to want to forget. In fact the more she tries to avoid him, the more he pushes to get to know her. Gemma knows she has a problem but is she facing the side effects of a failed Aversion or has the school’s tennis champ really fallen for her?
My Review: Gemma was born an Averter. She gets visions of a tragedy or disaster that will happen to someone and then does some psychic mojo to lead the person down another path to avert the disaster. When Gemma attempts her first ever aversion on Russ, things don’t go quite as planned--and you find out why later in the story--but it initiates her relationship with Russ. Gemma and Russ have a romantic connection that starts early in the book, but there is no insta-love here. It grows slowly and stays sweet, no more than a few kisses and it takes awhile to get to that point.
I thought Gemma and Russ were both likable characters. I especially liked that Russ turned out to be quite the sweetie. Yet at the same time, they were a little on the bland side. I would like to have seen more personality and also some more reaction, especially from Russ. He really just seemed to go with the flow regardless of what he learned about Gemma or what situation they ended up in. Gemma actually ponders this at one point in the story and questions why he seems to be dealing with it so easily, but her conclusions seemed more like a minor red herring that put doubts in her mind (and the reader’s) as to Russ’s true agenda. I call it minor because it didn’t really go anywhere and was thwarted pretty quickly. Overall, it wasn’t a huge issue for me. I liked the characters well enough but would just liked to have seen more personality and reaction from them.
I would say the first half of the book was mostly learning about Gemma, Averters, and the building of her relationship with Russ. The second half of the book moves more into the suspense and action. As the story progresses you learn more and more about the whole Averter world, some secrets and lies are revealed, a mystery man shows up, and intrigue ensues. At the beginning of the story there were some “rules” about Averter society that raised my eyebrows… like how women are chosen to procreate more Averters, and how the baby is taken from the mother and given to the father to raise after one year. I was like “what the hell?” But then later in the book these things are explained more thoroughly and you also find that Gemma, who is the point-of-view for this book, didn’t really have the whole story. They still have some rules that get my hackles up but I guess that is par for the course for secret societies, eh?
I liked Aversion. It was an entertaining story for me and even though the length is on the shorter side, I felt like I got a complete story. It didn’t feel like some aspect of the story was sacrificed or given short shrift, which can sometimes happen with shorter works. The main story conflict was set up in this book and so the ending leaves open threads to be explored in the next book, but there was no major cliffhanger (thank gawd!). I did have a few other nitpicks but they were minor and infrequent enough that it isn’t worth going into detail. The story engaged me enough to overcome them. The ending for me was more of an HFN than an HEA, and it looks like the romantic angle will continue into the next book because, as you can probably guess, there are some obstacles to Gemma and Russ being together.
The theme of using a special psychic power to help someone avoid or fix a bad event in the future is similar to another YA series that I enjoyed so I think that is what initially attracted me to the story. When I first read the sample of Aversion, I liked it and wanted to keep reading when it ended. I’m happy to say the rest of the story panned out well and turned into an engaging read for me.
“…I don’t know how else to convince you that us,” I pointed at the both of us, “isn’t practical.”
“I don’t want practical. I want you.”
Heat Level: Sweet
Note: I have a Q&A feature for this book on my blog if you are interested in a closer look at Aversion.