Nick and Scott have both just started college. Nick is what is known as an “eccentric” who possesses the power of telekinesis. He is enjoying being away from home, though he is undecided about his major and more interested in comic books and his collection of action figures. Scott, on the other hand, is missing home. He has always presumed he is a “normal” but has been raised to worship the gods and goddesses daily, even setting up an altar in his dorm room. With religion playing such a large role in his life, Scott is finding it hard to form a connection with those around him — until he meets Nick. The two are instantly physically attracted to one another, but more than that, they are interested in what they have to offer each other and they decide upon a mutual exchange: Scott’s knowledge of religion for Nick’s non-canon comic book teachings.
Yet, shortly after meeting Nick, Scott discovers he is not the “normal” he thinks, which turns not only his own life upside down, but also the lives of everyone in his family. Scott has to learn how to acclimatize himself to this new gift and attempt to balance college, religion, his relationship with Nick, and his worry about what is happening at home.
Kelly Haworth does not do things by halves; Read My Mind is an alternate world, biracial, young adult, paranormal romance! Haworth has clearly considered how she is going to connect her reader to these characters, particularly when many of the events in the story are so unusual. In my opinion, she accomplishes this by creating two protagonists who are so open and perhaps Scott is made more so by his telepathy. The world Nick and Scott live in may be unlike our own in the sense that it is an “empire” (I still don’t understand the relevance of this) and there are eccentrics and normals, but they are also attending college, attempting to make friends, and dealing with real-life issues with which many of us will be familiar: grief and the breakdown of a family unit. Nick and Scott may have the gifts of telekinesis and telepathy, but even this does not make it any easier for them to deal with their hurt and confusion and I think it is significant that Haworth acknowledges this.
Relationships are something Haworth focuses on in Read My Mind. Obviously, there is Scott’s relationship with Nick, which is intense, but with the flaw that they fail to define it with a label and this causes issues for them both later. I think their relationship works in terms of the story and Haworth succeeds in developing what happens between them in a way that feels natural to the reader.
Both characters also have their families to consider. Nick does not get on well with his father and this is a relationship that has deteriorated following his mother’s death. Nick’s father puts pressure on his son to succeed and it appears that Nick is rebelling against this, but is also happy to spend his money frivolously. I am not sure whether I felt differently about Nick because of this, although I think it certainly highlights his immaturity.
As I have mentioned previously, Scott is very close with his family, but their relationships with one another are jeopardized when Scott’s telepathic gift is revealed. Haworth chooses to make this a preoccupation for Scott and though I think this made Read My Mind a little too angsty, it does highlight the fact that leaving home is difficult for a young person and again succeeds in creating a connection between the reader and Scott.
Another important relationship to consider is that between the characters and religion. For me, this is when the story became tricky and not because I am anti-religion; I have no particular belief system and am respectful of those who do. Haworth’s collection of fictional gods and goddesses and the legends that surround them reminded me very much of Hinduism. However, within the plot of Read My Mind, I felt the roles of each deity became confused and the histories were complicated. This threw my enjoyment of the novel off kilter instead of being absorbed in the story. I think Haworth attempts to bridge the gap between the reader and the religious aspect because Nick has previously only shown interest in the comic books, but then I just kept picturing the gods and goddesses as DC and Marvel characters so this didn’t work for me!
Read My Mind did not entirely live up to the hopes I had for the story after reading the blurb. The series title leaves me with unanswered questions about the role of the empire, but I would not be in any rush to read the sequel. This is only a tentative recommendation from me.