by Lindsay Smith
Yulia lives in Communist Russia, and her family is hiding from the government. She is able to see past memories of people and things when she touches them, and she uses this skill to bargain in the black market until the KGB finds her and forces her to work in their program training psychic spies.
I liked the premise of the book, and it’s different than a lot of books I’ve read. The writing was fairly fluid, though at times, I wish some events were tied together more fully. I also would have preferred more training sessions. Yulia gains psychic powers without the reader really knowing, and that made it slightly confusing, which could have been helped if some of the training sessions were shown instead of mentioned in passing. Some of the psychic powers were a little inconsistent, which also may have been helped by some training session scenes.
The characters themselves were pretty consistent, though. Yulia had understandable motivations, and her actions were in character. I liked the backdrop, and the other characters were distinct and well developed.
This is a 3.6. I liked the idea, and it was fun to read despite a few continuity hitches. Like oatmeal, it was satisfying enough. There were patches of brown sugar that were great, but also small bits that weren’t quite cooked and made it so the texture wasn’t quite uniformly good. But it’s only a couple bits, and there’s enough brown sugar, and the rest of it is just about the right texture that it’s pretty enjoyable.