The second I read the synopsis for this novel, I knew I had to read it. The main character, Eva Walker, can see/feel other people's emotions and memories with the touch of her hand. This is such an interesting idea, and I particularly appreciated the way this book shows how that skill complicates her life. The emotions and memories appear to her in the shape of fractals. Go check these fractals out, they're really cool.
Synopsis & Details:
Eva Walker is a seventeen-year-old math genius. And if that doesn’t do wonders for her popularity, there’s another thing that makes it even worse: when she touches another person or anything that belongs to them — from clothes to textbooks to cell phones — she sees a vision of their read more... emotions. She can read a person’s fears and anxieties, their secrets and loves … and what they have yet to learn about calculus. This is helpful for her work as a math tutor, but it means she can never get close to people. Eva avoids touching anyone and everyone. People think it’s because she’s a clean freak — with the emphasis on freak — but it’s all she can do to protect herself from other people’s issues.
Then one day a new student walks into Eva’s life. His jacket gives off so much emotional trauma that she falls to the floor. Eva is instantly drawn to Zenn, a handsome and soulful artist who also has a troubled home life, and her feelings only grow when she realizes that she can touch Zenn’s skin without having visions. But when she discovers the history that links them, the truth threatens to tear the two apart.
If you have no clue what a fractal is, then let me explain. Well, actually, I'll let Google do the heavy lifting, cause fractals are a bit complicated. Here's the definition:
A curve or geometric figure, each part of which has the same statistical character as the whole. Fractals are useful in modeling structures (such as eroded coastlines or snowflakes) in which similar patterns recur at progressively smaller scales, and in describing partly random or chaotic phenomena such as crystal growth, fluid turbulence, and galaxy formation. (source)
Now this fractal business might feel a bit out of nowhere, but it makes a ton of sense.
Fractals are pretty mathematical stuff, and Eva Walker is a math genius (teach me your ways). She lives and breathes the stuff, basically the ultimate nerd. (I'm more of a history nerd myself, but I would kill to be a math genius like Eva.)
When I first started Zenn Diagram, the book gave me more of a MGish feel,
however, towards the end, the story begins feeling a lot more like the YA novel it's marketed as. The plot starts off looking like your typical YA contemporary, however, by the end, the book is dealing with a complicated character dynamic between the mother and mc, and provoking interesting questions concerning the unusual connection Eva and Zenn share.
Some other smallish details I enjoyed about Zenn Diagram included: the title,
I'm always a sucker for a clever title (even better if it's referenced in the book), and this quote:
"Oh, lordy. He's using math analogies. I think I'm in love."
My biggest conundrum with Zenn Diagram was a small bit of the romantic plotline,
either way it wasn't too major and didn't really disrupt my enjoyment of the book too much overall. (view spoiler)But still, that obligatory break-up scene, I've just see it a couple times to many. The cursing in the novel also felt a little forced upon occasion, however, as with before, it wasn't a big deal.
Rating: 4/5 Stars
What's your favorite school subject? Least favorite?