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Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness

Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness


Fast Girl: A Life Spent Running from Madness

ratings:
4/5 (48 ratings)
Length:
8 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Sep 14, 2015
ISBN:
9780062395337
Format:
Audiobook

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Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

The former middle distance Olympic runner and high-end escort speaks out for the first time about her battle with mental illness, and how mania controlled and compelled her in competition, but also in life. This is a heartbreakingly honest yet hopeful memoir reminiscent of Manic, Electroboy, and An Unquiet Mind.

During the 1990s, three-time Olympian Suzy Favor Hamilton was the darling of American track and field. An outstanding runner, a major sports apparel spokesperson, and a happily married wife, she was the model for an active, healthy, and wholesome life. But her perfect facade masked a dark truth: manic depression and bipolar disorder that drove her obsession to perform and win. For years after leaving the track, Suzy wrestled with her condition, as well as the loss of a close friend, conflicted feelings about motherhood and her marriage, and lingering shame about her athletic career. After a misdiagnosis and a recommendation for medication that only exacerbated her mania and made her hypersexual, Suzy embarked on a new path, and assumed a new identity. Fueled by a newfound confidence, a feeling of strength and independence and a desire she couldn’t tamp down, she became a high-priced escort in Las Vegas, working as “Kelly.”

But Suzy could not keep her double life a secret forever. When it was eventually exposed, it sent her into a reckless suicidal period where the only option seemed out. Finally, with the help of her devoted husband, Suzy finally got the proper medical help she needed. In this startling frank memoir, she recounts the journey to outrun her demons, revealing how a woman used to physically controlling her body learned to come to terms with her unstable mind. It is the story of a how a supreme competitor scored her most important victory of all—reclaiming her life from the ravages of an untreated mental illness. Today, thanks to diagnosis, therapy, Kelly has stepped into the shadows, but Suzy is building a better life, one day at a time. Sharing her story, Suzy is determined to raise awareness, provide understanding, and offer inspiration to others coping with their own challenges.

Publisher:
Released:
Sep 14, 2015
ISBN:
9780062395337
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Suzy Favor Hamilton is a three-time Olympian for women's middle distance running. She is a sought-after public speaker—addressing eating disorders, mental illness, and the struggles that young athletes face—as well as a yoga instructor. Favor Hamilton lives in California and Wisconsin.


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What people think about Fast Girl

4.1
48 ratings / 38 Reviews
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Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    Brilliant. This book is a must read for all the people working in the field of mental illness especially those who come in direct contact with bipolar disorder patients.
  • (5/5)
    I am so glad I was willing to look past many of the negative reviews of thus book as I found it lovely. It was an amazing book about one individual's journey through life as a very high profile athlete and mental illness. I too suffered from bipolar and fortunately I never went undiagnosed as long as she did. I loved how blunt she was about everything. This was one of the most real stories about mental illness that I have come across in a long time........ If you are looking for your typical story about a celebrity suffering from mental becoming a damsel in distress begging for everyone's forgiveness then this might not be the book for you. Some say she comes off cold, making excuses, thinking she is the worse mother & wife ever but those who say this are clearly very judgmental. Have no idea what it's like to live with mental illness, could clearly never survive a day in her shoes. So glad I didn't take most of the reviews of this book at face value. That I chose to read this and or, ,y own thoughts!!!! Loved this book and would recommend it to anyone who would like a very honest view of whet it's like to live with untreated bipolar! I Thank you for writing this book, not holding back. I also thank your family for sharing their side of this journey with you/ with us
  • (5/5)
    Our battles are fought in many places, on the field, in our relationships, and in our minds. This autobiographical story let’s us into the mind of a woman who not only strives to be the best, but struggles with doubts and self talk that gives us all insight into how mental illness can effect anyone. I actually found myself wanting to know more about both mental illness and Suzy herself!!
  • (2/5)
    It wasn't what I expected. The author didn't take responsibility for her actions and I feel she wouldn't have stopped escorting if she wasn't caught. She's lucky to have an understanding and patient husband but I felt she was disrespectful to him and their marriage. But if he likes it, then I love it lol.
  • (5/5)
    The book was fairly well written and a fairly fast reading experience. Growing up in the Badger State and living here most of my life, I am very familiar with Ms. Hamilton's accomplishments in the world of competitive running. As with others who became aware of her story, her revelations were shocking, demolishing the "good girl" impression most everyone had of her.

    Her description of her battle with bi-polar syndrome helped me understand the disease itself. After reading her book, I realized that in my younger days, I dated a couple of young women that I now believe, though never confirmed, showed behaviors that likely indicated they were battling bi-polar, although it would never have been titled as that 40 years ago.

    As for those those who have no sympathy for Ms. Favor, I don't think anyone out there can say that they do not have some kind of demons they battle - admittedly with Ms. Hamilton, they manifested themselves in a horrible manner - but many of us are able to keep those demons well hidden away because we are able to. But having known several people years ago with this disorder, and currently friends two fathers with sons being treated for, but battling this disease, along with one whose son committed suicide, I know the devastation it can cause.

    I give kudos to Ms. Hamilton for having the courage to put her story out there. Certainly many who read the book will do so out of a prurient interest - but they will be very sadly disappointed with the lack of explicit details. The book is about bi-polar disease and the difficulty of diagnosing and treating it, not really about sex - although the sex side of Ms. Hamilton's actions cannot be glossed over without diminishing the story of how bi-polar causes people to act.

    Ms. Hamilton could have picked up her family and tried to run away and hide from the public but chose to face the heat and get her story out there in hopes of helping others try to figure out/understand what may be going on with their loved ones or friends. If this book results in saving just one person, then it is certainly a success story.
  • (4/5)
    An interesting look into an unbelievable true story. The author provides insight into how bipolar mania presents in destructive behavior. However, it is more titillating than self-reflective.
  • (3/5)
    I saw Suzy Favor Hamilton speak about this book on a recent episode of 20/20 and the story was so crazy I had to read more. Suzy was a runner who competed at two Olympics where she failed to seal the deal at clutch time. When all of the world's eyes were upon her she came in last in both Olympic races. Humiliated, she came home to Wisconsin with her husband and young daughter and became the number 2 escort in Las Vegas. Her undiagnosed bipolar depression took off on Zoloft and caused her to have hyper sex drive. I get the whole bipolar thing but her husbands reaction of sure go to Las Vegas, sleep with whoever you want, floors me. He even bought her a condo so she could live there. After reading this book I found out that I am pretty naive about what is going on in Las Vegas. Although I am left shaking my head, it is a fast past story and does spread the message that mental disorders are not stigmatizing and there is help available.
  • (4/5)
    I do wish it had been longer, but it was good overall. However, it is much darker than White's Paranormalcy series and doesn't have that same humor but that isn't a bad thing, just different.
  • (2/5)
    I couldn't finish this novel. There are other books by White that I really like, but this one just falls short. I've read almost half of the book, and most of it has been spent describing two girls who are sisters, each with their own unique mental ability. The girls are being kept at a "school" where they were sent after their parents died. Constant flashbacks throughout the book tell the backstory of how and why they ended up as slaves for an organization that uses both girls to meet their own needs. There seems to be no way out for these girls, and even if there is, the possibility of a normal or even happy life seems impossible. I'm not particularly fond of either main character or the boys that are becoming part of their lives. It is simply an unhappy story about unhappy people living in an unhappy world. Very depressing and not much fun to read.
  • (2/5)
    This book was not what I expected...I couldn't relate to any of the characters and I found myself annoyed at many spots in the book. The novel has two POVs and it switches from past to present, which made everything very confusing. I think that the concept is interesting, but it wasn't developed well. I will not be reading the sequel.My Goodreads: fantasticalcatherine
  • (3/5)
    When I found this book in my local library, I was very excited to read it. I'd heard plenty of glowing reviews about it, but what I got wasn't what I had been hoping for.

    Nothing really took hold of me and begged me to continue reading. The writing was simple - which is never really a bad thing, but there are books where I wish the writing was a little more descriptive and complex, and this was one of them - and the characters didn't feel very fleshed out.

    If a little more time had been given to this book, I know it would have been amazing.
  • (4/5)
    So I'm not going to write a full review for this one since a lot has already been said and I'm behind the times, however here are some thoughts:

    -Fia's narration is very stream-of-consciousness and I think that will bother some people, but I loved it.
    -Fia is quite broken and I'm a fan of anti-heroes and liked her a lot.
    -The world-building is a little weak since we don't find out where the powers come from, but it felt natural to me since Annie and Fia had a lot of other things to worry about. I could see this being developed in future books. There is an explanation for how the school came to be, even though it's brief ;-).
    -I loved Annie and Fia's relationship, both because it was nice for a sisterly relationship to be the driving factor in a story and because Annie's blindness added a whole new protective dynamic that pulled at my heart.
    -There is kind of a love triangle, but it worked for me which is rare. The two guys are very different and reflect the two people Fia could be: the ruthless killer she is now or the sane girl she used to be and wants to recover.
    -I liked the time jumps and perspective switches that kept some of the mystery but slowly filled things in. It was a lot better than the characters just rehashing the past in order to let the reader in on it.

    And now I must go read Perfect Lies!
  • (2/5)
    I can’t even summon the energy to dislike this book. It’s just. . .
    MEH.

    I had such high hopes for this one. I LOVE books about siblings, especially books that aren’t contemporary and that have ACTION and ADVENTURE and siblings trying to protect each other. Those types of books make me feel warm & fuzzy while also putting me through the emotional wringer(because one sibling always gets hurt, of course).

    So, let’s break this down, shall we?

    WRITING: So, the writing is incredibly scattered and disjointed and repetitive and redundant(see what I did there?). I get that this was a conscious choice on White’s part to give us access into the sister’s incredibly messed-up heads. I get it. I get it. I get it.(That’s sort of how many parts of the book are written). It’s a stylistic choice, but one I don’t think worked well for this book.

    I like unique writing styles & experimental writing–which is why I liked Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. But in that case, while the writing was incredibly subjective and risky, I thought it worked for the story. Did I get annoyed at times? Yes. But not like I did in Mind Games, because in Mind Games, I think White tries to use this experimental writing to carry the weight of the book, and it doesn’t really work.

    CHARACTERS: Supposedly, there are two main characters in this book–Annie and Fia, the sisters. The chapters alternate from their POVs, which could be great, except they sound exactly the same(except Fia’s a little bit more messed up, I think). Fia has perfect instincts, Annie is blind but sometimes sees the future, and their goal is to the protect each other. Those are their ONLY defining characteristics, and all of that is stated upfront in the summary.

    PLOT: There was plot at the beginning. I have no idea what happened to it. This book actually started out really well, in the midst of an action sequence, and then. . . things got a little hazy after that.

    After reading this, you might think I really disliked Mind Games. But, truth is, I didn’t, because I couldn’t bring myself to care about the story enough to dislike it. In fact, this is the most apathetic I’ve been about a book in a long while(forcing myself to actually write about it at length was a bit torturous), which is never a good thing. Mind Games has a fascinating premise and a decent enough start, but somewhere around page 30 it all tapered off into a strange writing experiment with not much plot and really, not much differences between the two main characters.

    Final Impression: Here it is, one last resounding MEH. This isn’t a terrible book, but it also isn’t a good book. It’s just kinda there, and I have way too many exciting books on my shelf to read for me to spend much time with this book or to recommend it.
  • (3/5)
    The Good Stuff Fascinating and unique premise Enjoyed the bond between the sisters, both of them wanting to protect the other was a nice change of pace for someone who spends her day trying to keep her kids from killing each other White's delightfully snarky sense of humour (wish there was so much more) Liked the ending (may check out the sequel) James is an intriguing character - want to know more about him The Not So Good Stuff I wanted so much to love this, as the premise was intriguing and I love Kiersten, but just couldn't get into this one Repetitive - this might have worked better as a short story This could be a fantastic book with more time and energy - think it was churned out too fast Didn't feel connected to any of the characters Jumpy and vague Almost gave up on this one on many occasions Favorite Quotes/Passages "I'd really like to look at your brain," Adam says.I snort. "That has got to be the weirdest thing anyone has ever said to me."“Their smiles are lies.Most smiles are.” “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around, does anyone give a crap?" I mutter.” 2.5 Dewey's I won this from HarperTeen on Twitter - Sorry guys I really, really, really wanted to love it. Don't worry Kiersten, I will still scoop up your next book, this one just wasn't my cup of tea.
  • (1/5)
    The ratings system is inherently flawed in relation to book reviews. I tend to use the 1 star review solely for books that offended me, particularly in their romanticised depiction of rape culture, abusive relationships, women shaming, etc. I seldom, if ever, give a book 1 star because it was just awful as a piece of literature. I read somewhere that the author Kiersten White finished the first draft of this book in nine days. I don’t believe that. Nine days is far longer than my original prediction of a weekend. This book read like a NaNoWriMo novel written in the final two days because the author forgot about it. It’s been a long time since I read a book as painfully rushed, sloppy and lazy as “Mind Games” (known as “Sister Assassin” in UK).

    The biggest failure of this book is the narration. Switching between the two sisters who are entirely matching in almost every way, White has chosen a stream-of-consciousness first person style to tell this story. Stream-of-consciousness was a particular favourite of the Modernist movement, and utilised to great effect by writers such as Virginia Woolf and James Joyce (if you’ve actually finished “Ulysses” then you’re a better person than I am). It’s tough to read even when it’s executed perfectly. Here it’s practically unbearable. Not only are the sisters’ narrations impossible to differentiate from, the constant repetition of words and phrases, coupled with the lazy and juvenile nature of the prose made the experience of reading this book seem far longer than its slim page numbers would suggest. The non-linear narrative feels like such a slog, and does nothing but make the story entirely incoherent. Any possibility of the book livening up with some action is quickly ruined by this unreadable style.

    None of this is helped by the fact that both sisters are motivated by pretty much the same things, make completely irrational decisions that don’t fit with what the other cut-out characters tell us about them, and are both extremely annoying. I didn’t want to spend this book with them. Then again, it’s not as if the supporting cast offer up much either. Scooby Doo offered up stronger motivation and characterisation than this book does. However, I must briefly draw attention to one character called James (which I had to look up for this review because I have honestly forgotten everyone’s names except for the sisters), who plies an underage girl with alcohol to get her to talk. Of course, James is the dark, sexy and dangerous one who we are supposed to root for the woman he plies with alcohol to get together with. He also delightfully manipulates a young woman who struggles with her ability to feel everyone else’s emotions into believing he cares for her because that makes her easier to deal with. Not that the alcohol plied sister Fia really cares about the well-being of this young woman. She doesn’t care about anyone besides herself, regardless of her constant whining over looking after her blind sister. I’d be angrier at this mess if I in any way cared about Fia or Annie as characters.

    The powers that the sisters have could be interesting if executed well, but instead they’re just there. They serve bare plot purposes in the most serviceable manner possible and are barely explained or expanded upon. In the end, everything that went on felt entirely inconsequential because I just didn’t care about anything (although I did wonder why any stereotypical evil organisation would use a woman with perfect instincts to kill people instead of just having her make them billions and screw around with democracy).

    The style of the book and the childish approach to storytelling and prose just dragged me out of the experience. I can live with an unoriginal plot structure, which this book has in spades, if the execution is interesting, or interesting questions are asked, or if the characters and dialogue bring it to life. This book has none of that. I spent much more time thinking about why White was in such a hurry to push this book out than I did thinking about the book itself. “Mind Games” is bafflingly bad. I cannot understand how a relatively well acclaimed New York Times best-selling author can fail so badly with this book, although some blame must also go to the editor and agent for rushing this out so quickly as if publishing it was a race against time. I see that this book is the first in a duology, which makes me shudder, in all honesty. “Mind Games” was a waste of my time, a waste of the publisher’s time, and just a mess in every conceivable way.

    1/5.
  • (4/5)
    Plot: 4 stars
    Characters: 3 stars
    Style: 5 stars
    Pace: 4 stars

    There's something about the voice in this one that had me from page one. It made for a VERY quick read, maybe 2 hours total start to finish, but delicious anyway. Cotton candy with complexity, it sucked me in and made me want more. That's really all I ask of YA these days.
  • (3/5)
    I know a lot of reviews said that they didn't care for the switching back and forth between annie and fia and the the constant past experiences but i loved how that was set up. I adore Fia and feel sorry for her for all she has been through but man she is one crazy chick..
  • (4/5)
    Highly Recommended Mind Games is the first of a two book series. Sophia (Fia) and Annie are the main characters in this story and the tag line totally sums of the feeling of the book “They stole her past. She won’t let them take her future.” Fia and Annie’s parents died, leaving them with an Aunt who did not want them. A representative from a school for disabled girls comes with promises of a free education, a free place to live and free college. It is too good to be true. But Annie really wants to go because she is blind and has not had very many opportunities. Fia gets a bad feeling, but goes because it will make Annie happy. Annie sees visions of the future and it’s discovered that Fia can make the right choice in most situations. Because of this, she is trained to be a spy and an assassin. She is deeply unhappy and only doing it to protect Annie because they are both being blackmailed by the Keane Corporation. The shocking ending leaves you wanting more.I thought this was a stand alone book at first, until I read the author’s website. This book has elements of paranormal thriller, romance and mystery. James and Fia have a thing going, even though Fia believes he is a puppet for his father. Fia loves to go clubbing because the loud music lets her be free and not worry about the outside world and having to protect her sister. There is drinking, drugs, non-detailed sex and murder scenes in this novel. I think it’s fine for a high school library, but middle school librarians need to make the decision based on their population.I like how the author used Fia’s and Annie’s voice in alternating chapters. The time also bounces around from past and present. It might be difficult for some struggling readers to keep that straight. My thoughts were that this could be a good book for a high school book club. It has the potential for good student led discussions. It’s definitely a good addition to the paranormal collection. It would also make a good cross curricular connection with Visual Arts and English classes in that the mosaic of the chapters/writing are very nicely illustrated on a mosaic on the book cover.
  • (5/5)
    I love Mind Games!

    It was action-packed from start to end. I read it in one sitting, never wanting to put the book down until I finish it. I liked Fia and I like the author's writing style. I will definitely get the next book!
  • (4/5)
    Overall Score: 4 Stars

    After Fia and Annie's parents died in a car accident, they were taken into a special school that counted as very influential and promised Annie to do some tests to try and get her vision back. The school ended up being not what they have hoped for and was only made for girls with special abilities like sidekicks and those who can see the future, like Annie. After finding out that Fia had perfect instincts, the management decided to use her in some bigger plans. Fia lost hope in herself because of the things she did and the only thing that kept her in the school was Annie. She couldn't leave Annie. She had to protect Annie.

    This book was probably one of the most exciting books that I've read in awhile. It was full of action, emotions, love, and true feelings that were very touching. I 'm a little confused about the way the book ended but I guess I have to read the second book for this. I honestly just can't figure out if Annie ended up being dead or not. Like WTF! But overall I loved it and cannot wait until the second book. Must-read!
  • (5/5)
    This is a fluid sci/fi psychological thriller with a cast of teen and adult psychics.

    I will admit, up front, that I love Kiersten White books. So, it is no surprise that I loved this one.

    It was a little jarring to switch time frames continually, but it worked in the end.

  • (4/5)
    Kiersten White's Paranormalcy books missed the mark for me, but I was pleasantly surprised by her newest offering, Mind Games. I think it was actually the UK title, Sister Assassins, that really caught my attention - because I'm obsessed with assassins, especially female assassins - though, after reading, I feel that Mind Games is a more fitting title.A detail that I feel I should touch on is that the book has been marketed as an "intense psychological thriller about two sisters determined to protect each other," and while this may be technically true, I felt that the older sister, Annie, wasn't focused on nearly as much as Fia. I knew she was there in the plot, doing things, but I simply wasn't as concerned about her and I certainly wasn't as invested in her character.However, I really enjoy Fia as a character. She's a dangerously broken individual that has the potential to turn dark, but she's inherently good. Because she sometimes lapses into immaturity and shows unexpected emotion, emotion that is the very opposite of the cutthroat assassin she's been trained to be, it's easy to see the Fia she could have been if her life hadn't been hijacked by the mysterious group that runs the "school" she and Annie attend.The atmosphere of this novel (i.e. Fia, her boss, love interest, and the group that controls the sisters) are reminiscent of the characters and plot of shows like Alias and Nikita, which I think has a lot to do with why I liked Mind Games as much as I did. So many of the characters are more than they seem, hiding something, or have the potential to give into the power they yield and use it for evil rather than good. I feel that Mind Games is a great introduction to the world of Fia and Annie. The action had really picked up by the end of the novel, which I think bodes well for the next installment.
  • (2/5)
    Mind Games is about a world in which women have the potential to be powerful psychics. Feuding private organizations try to win their loyalty, the protagonist tries to save her sister while falling in love with a guy she's supposed to kill, and the world may or may not be post-apocalyptic. Mind Games had some great ideas but didn't deliver them very well.
  • (2/5)
    Mind Games is about a world in which women have the potential to be powerful psychics. Feuding private organizations try to win their loyalty, the protagonist tries to save her sister while falling in love with a guy she's supposed to kill, and the world may or may not be post-apocalyptic. Mind Games had some great ideas but didn't deliver them very well.
  • (2/5)
    Ugh, you guys. I was so excited for this pretty much until I started reading it. I mean, that cover! Also, I enjoyed the first two Paranormalcy books, though in Endlessly Lend and Evie went way over my sap-tolerance. Here's the thing: the best part of Paranormalcy is the humor; it may not be good literature or amazing writing, but Evie is funny. Neither Fia nor Annie has a sense of humor, and, without it, the book relies heavily on White's writing and plotting, which turns out not to be a great thing.

    Sometimes when a book disappoints me, I leave feeling angry. I am pissed off for days that the marketing tricked me into reading something so awful. In this case, I really do not have any bad feelings towards Mind Games at all. This may be, in fact, the most meh I have ever felt upon finishing a book. I can almost feel the novel draining out of my head as I type this, so I should probably type with alacrity. Basically, this book bored me, from beginning to end (with brief breaks to annoy me). Despite its brevity, it took three days for me to finish because any distraction would be more interesting.

    On the plus side, Mind Games starts off with a bang. Fia is an assassin, sent to complete a mission. Unfortunately, her mission turns out to be a cute guy who likes puppies, so she cannot follow through. This would be cheesy, except that saving him writes a death warrant for herself and her blind sister, Annie, with her employers. Even worse, three goons are chasing her and the guy, Adam. The opening scene catches the readers attention and creates a lot of curiosity about what precisely is going on.

    Honestly, I'm torn on the writing. Personally, I really do not like it, because repetition and simplistic sentences bother me. However, I do give Kiersten White full credit for writing two disparate, easily-distinguished two person narratives. What really irritates me about the writing, primarily Fia's narrative, is the repetition. This done stylistically, though, so, if this does not bother you, then I suspect you will enjoy the writing. Here are a couple of samples from the ARC, so you can see what I mean, though note that they could be changed before publication:

    "He's still helping the puppy, untangling the leash from a tree its owner tied it to outside the bar. And he's not only setting it free, he's talking to it. I can't hear the words but I can see in the puppy's tail that, however he's talking, he's talking just right, all tender sweet cheerful comfort as his long fingers deftly untwist and unwind and undo my entire day, my entire life."

    "Oh no. Oh no, oh no. I didn't do it. I didn't kill Adam. He's sitting next to me, driving (I let him drive? Why did I let him drive?) and very much alive."

    The plotting and world building confound me at many points, which is not something I say often. Two main things I really do not get: the school and the seers. First off, we've got these people with powers (like seers and readers), and some evil dude is collecting them into this school so he can use them for his nefarious purposes. We learn nothing about how this school started or where the powers came from. Perhaps more frustrating, Fia has a unique power, perfect instincts, but we never learn if there are other rare powers or if she's just that special.

    Throughout the novel, much is made of the seers and how Fia is the only one who can possibly do anything they cannot see in advance. She has this capability because she acts on her perfect instincts. Since she acts impulsively, they cannot ever see her future, since it is not set. That sort of makes sense, except that she makes longer-range plans all the time. Maybe one instinctual decision in the middle prevents the seers from picking up on her endgame? I mean, in the, admittedly surprising, conclusion, she had a plan and they would have seen it; that was not instinct. This whole thing reminds me a lot of Minority Report. All of this might not bother people who do not feel the need to focus so much on nitty gritty details. For me, nothing made any sense, though I may be trying to apply logic where it's not meant to be.

    Mind Games would benefit from characterization. Fia is the only one I know too much about, and the only one to really receive any back story, despite the fact that the flashbacks should give a lot more of a view into Annie and James, too. Fia never coalesces into a distinct person. She does a lot of things and feels a lot of things that never really seem to add up the way one might expect. Her motivations are often unclear, such as why a certain incident made her start tap tap tapping. I do like Fia's love of dancing, and that no one ever shames her for loving that or wearing sexy clothes. However, I do not care for Fia's desire to belong to James, like a pair of headphones or something; this seems both out of character and really backward. Everyone else is one-note. James is sexy and dangerous. Annie is blind and helpless. Cole has stubble. Eden is awful. Adam is sweet and loves puppies.

    The portrayal of Annie upsets me the most. For all that the book should be equally about her (the UK version is even titled Sister Assassins), she has no role in the novel but to be the albatross around Fia's neck. Every single horrible thing in Fia's life happens because she has to watch out for Annie. Both of them feel this. Annie never does anything; even when she makes up her mind to make a change, her role in that change is entirely passive. Her visions of the future, too, should give her some power, but she always messes up, never leverages them properly. Characters should not exist solely to be a burden. The portrayal of Annie's character depresses me.

    Much as this book bores me, I have no doubt that other readers will squee all over it. If you like the writing samples above and will not be digging around looking for plot holes, you can probably sit back and be entertained. If you're more like me, read a sample before spending your hard-earned money.
  • (4/5)
    This is a fast moving tale about two sisters, one a blind but gifted psychic (Annie) and the other a very well-trained spy (Fia). Neither had much of a choice--they have be abandoned by their family, and the "school" that they live at requires them to use their abilities to promote the unknown goals of the institution. As what is demanded of them becomes more dangerous and suspect, Fia uses her training to find a way out. There's a lot of pulse pounding action-- this book is a true psychological thriller that might surprise the fan's of the author's Paranormalcy series. This book has an edge, and I for one really enjoyed it.
  • (5/5)
    I love a good sister story. Especially one as crazy and intense as MIND GAMES, the latest from Kiersten White. MIND GAMES is the story of two orphaned girls, who lost their parents at a young age and have since been at an exclusive boarding school where older sister Annie is getting special treatments for her blindness and younger sister Fia is, well, mostly miserable. But she'll do anything for Annie, which is what the folks running the school are counting on.Now a trained assassin, Fia is on what should be a simple mission. Take out some guy, go back home to Annie, and hopefully not have to get blood on her hands again any time soon. But things get complicated when she accidentally warms up to the target, saves him from a couple other thugs, and tells him to go into hiding. Meanwhile, Annie is doing her best to stay under the radar back at the school, where the powers that be are doing everything they can to exploit her talent. Annie is a seer, and, surrounded by girls with other talents, there aren't a lot of secrets she can keep. Which is why she and Fia have never been able to escape. But now that the game has changed, they may have no choice. They'll have to befriend the boss-man's son, subvert the Readers, and maybe even lie to each other if they want to survive.MIND GAMES is a fun, fast-paced read, elegantly written and absolutely thrilling. This is the kind of book that you can't put down not only because of the suspense, but because of the delicious language and fantastic characters. I'm looking forward to further books in this series. These sisters will not soon be forgotten.
  • (5/5)
    Oh… I’m mad. I was not ready for this book to be over. I was just catching up to speed… This is going to take some time. I can’t just exit this book and live my life. I keep trying to pick it back up again. Maybe I can read it again right away? No… it would be a totally different experience. Rats.This book is called Mind Games. Be warned. It messes with your head. It’s told from two different perspectives and hops through time all over the place. I learned to pay attention to the title headings. Just ‘cause we get to hop back in time 10 years and see why Fia or Annie is about to make a choice I would not have understood otherwise... does not mean I could let go of the current story. White had me keeping my place… all over. By the time everything began clicking into place, I had all ten fingers holding important mental notes. Argh!!! I am so invested in these girls!!!! It’s not fair this book ends!!!Don’t get me wrong. It ends absolutely perfectly. I just… I just didn’t see it coming.Let me back up a bit.I started this book (thank you to Edelweiss) on my Nook at night. I read a chapter here, a chapter there… a paragraph here, a kiss there… and then it starts picking up speed. The weight of every new thing I learned doubled the intensity of the moment until I was snowballing downhill and could. not. stop. I could not put this book down. Which reminds me… I had to when it ended. WHY DID IT HAVE TO END?!?! Darn it. I am not ready to move on, yet.Fia is… well, she has my heart completely. She is so kick-butt awesome for reasons that unfold slowly, so I can’t say, but she’s not someone to mess with. Only she’s disturbed, twisted, mentally ill… unhealthy. She hates doing anything that is wrong and I could FEEL it when I read from her POV. The “wrong” rubbed me backwards, too, until I was squirming in her head. The most destructive wrong is the one she won’t let go of… her blind sister, Annie.Annie seems so much more stable at first. Her unhealthiness is revealed in spoon-size bits. I was so ready to trust Annie when Fia turned out so upside-down, but I was quick to grasp at Fia’s sanity after seeing more of Annie’s ‘cause… OMG… Annie is just as strong as her sister, but she’s willing to go places… that just… OMG.And yet… I love, LOVE both of them. A lot. So much. And I can’t believe the book ended!!!!!!There are two great guys. Adam is amazing right from the first pages.Whereas James is a magnet – either impossible to resist or completely repulsive. Most often both at the same time through alternating sister’s perceptions. I can’t think of another guy in fiction who I have felt so strongly towards on both extremes. I wanted him as far away as possible… and then I needed to see him again.*snort* Mind Games.I suppose the title is appropriate, although it just doesn’t hint at the greatness inside. “Games” implies light-heartedness, even if the face looks dead serious. The colors, too… don’t trust the pretty colors. Don’t start this book unless you have time to read it, ‘cause it… demands your emotions and chess-playing skills. It’s like a cross between Shatter Me and Graceling. Only beautifully unique. I am throwing myself at the pedestal of Kiersten White… she has a new devoted (slightly insane) fan for life whether she likes it or not.But why did it have to end?!?!
  • (5/5)
    Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales.Quick & Dirty: Two sisters, both broken and fighting for each other’s well being, are controlled by a company that uses girls like them as spies. A nonstop action fantasy that will have your mind reeling.Opening Sentence: My dress is black and itchy and I hate it.The Review: This psychological thriller is cleverly written from the conscious of a girl who has perfect instincts and her blind sister that can see the future. Fia and Annie are each other’s weaknesses. Fia can’t escape the so called school that uses her ability as a spy because her sister is stuck at the school. Annie can’t leave the school for fear they might do something even worse to Fia. Both depend on each other, but both can’t live freely unless the other one is gone. Narrated from both Fia and Annie’s point of view in the past and present, this story has everything you could ever want in a paranormal book.Kiersten White’s style can only be described as the actual thoughts of a teenage girl. No average person speaks to themselves in complete sentences, so neither does Fia. Our minds repeat things unconsciously. So does Fia’s. Annie’s mind goes a mile a minute worrying over her sister, and so does the text. This is what I loved about White’s writing. It’s similar to Tahereh Mafi’s style of writing, although not always so broken.Not only is the writing superb, but the plot is intricate and you will never see the end coming. Fia is so much more than the girl in the very first chapter. She’s broken and torn and tired, but she refuses to leave her sister behind, even if it will be the end of her. With perfect instincts, Fia can be used to choose the best stocks, fight (and always win) and even kill. Her ability allows her to escape the sight of those who can see the future, and she uses that to her advantage. Fia is well developed and usually is the one that gives you no clues into what will happen next.Annie, on the other hand, gets on my nerves. Everything she did in the past was for herself and not even thinking about Fia. As someone who is blind, but can still see what the future gives her glimpses, Annie isn’t as useful has Fia. She may be the only one who can see her sister every now and then, but she’s also the leverage the school has over Fia. Although she tries to fix what happened in the past, everything she does seems to contradict whatever Fia does to protect them. By the end of the book, I appreciate her, but it takes some time for me to not want to scream at her to wake up to her surroundings.Overall, I loved this book – from the characters to the plot to the clever writing. BUT there is a cliffhanger at the very end that I am very frustrated with, but it isn’t quite torture. Yet another year to wait for the next installment…Notable Scene: “You’re okay,” I say, my shoulders slumping with relief. No, not relief yet. I turn and Sandy blond has his phone out, so I use the stun gun on him too. He goes down faster than Cole. Dark hair is pale and vacant with shock, holding his leg, totally unaware of anything around him. He needs better training.I drop that stun gun into my purse and pick it up off the ground, then turn back to Adam. He’s staring at me funny. Well, why wouldn’t he be? I’ve shown him what my hands can do, and a small, worn-down part of me mourns that he won’t think he wants to hold them anymore. I feel like I’ve lost something, but that’s stupid. I lost it all a long time ago.“I thought he shot you,” I say.“Fia,” he says, his voice strangled. He’s not meeting my eyes, looking down instead. “He shot you.”I look down, too, and he’s wrong, there are no holes in my body, but then I look to the left and my blue sleeve is soaked dark with blood and then burning (Horrible ripping tearing burning) comes, focused where the bullet went through my upper arm but radiating out through my whole left side.Well, crap.FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Mind Games. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
  • (5/5)
    I was really excited about the book when I first heard about it. But then the reviews started to come in, and a lot of them weren't so good. But I'm very happy that I decided to read it because I loved it. First off, White gets bonus points for having some of the setting in St. Louis. That never seems to happen, so that was really fun to read for me. I really liked how the story alternated between Fia and Annie and between the past and present. I went into the book knowing that this could possibly get confusing, but it wasn't at all. I really liked that something would be brought up during the present, and then it would switch to the past to explain what they just brought up. Like, Fia would mention a character was dead during the present, and then it would switch to the past and explain how the character died. It was very interesting because it's not something I see in books often. Fia is such a messed up character, it was fascinating to read about. There's such a big difference from the way Fia acts and thinks to the way Annie does. It really shows just how messed up Fia really is. Especially with all the tap tap taps. That's another think I was worried about. I knew there were a lot of tap, tap, taps and repitition of words, that I was afraid it would get on my nerves. But it didn't, it made Fia that much more interesting. Also, THE ENDING, I think I know what happened, but then... WHAT?