Published by Kids Can Press on April 4th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson | Booktopia | Barnes & Noble
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The more I touch someone, the more I can see and understand, and the more I think I can help. But that’s my mistake. I can’t help. You can’t fix people like you can solve a math problem.
Math genius. Freak of nature. Loner.
Eva Walker has literally one friend—if you don’t count her quadruplet three-year-old-siblings—and it’s not even because she’s a math nerd. No, Eva is a loner out of necessity, because everyone and everything around her is an emotional minefield. All she has to do is touch someone, or their shirt, or their cell phone, and she can read all their secrets, their insecurities, their fears.
Sure, Eva’s “gift” comes in handy when she’s tutoring math and she can learn where people are struggling just by touching their calculators. For the most part, though, it’s safer to keep her hands to herself. Until she meets six-foot-three, cute-without-trying Zenn Bennett, who makes that nearly impossible.
Zenn’s jacket gives Eva such a dark and violent vision that you’d think not touching him would be easy. But sometimes you have to take a risk…
Zenn Diagram was a book that I picked up off the shelf because the main character is a STEM girl and that’s definitely something that I look for in YA novels. I really enjoyed the story and thought it was really adorable but I did find some aspects of it to be a little bit lacking.
The book follows Eva, who is a math genius and has this strange ability to be able to learn about somebody’s past and secrets just by touching something that belongs to them. The book starts off with Eva tutoring some guys who are in need of math help and this is where she meets Zenn Bennett, who automatically intrigues her. On top of that, his jacket gave her the most intense ‘fractals’ that she’s ever felt in her life. After spending more and more time around Zenn, the two develop a romantic relationship that threatens to be torn apart by the secrets that surround their pasts. I really, really enjoyed the plot of the book and found a lot of it to be unexpected and interesting but I did feel like most of the themes in the book weren’t taken to their full potential. I was really intrigued by this ‘ability’ that Eva had, especially since it was tied to the idea of mathematical fractals, which I’ve had some experience with since my research is on visual perception and, as a psychology major, I’m interested in neuroscience as well. There was never really any explanation for why she had this ability and it felt extremely unresolved at the end. I felt like I had waited the whole book to find out what happened but there was no explanation provided other than a side effect of a traumatic accident. I also felt like there wasn’t enough mathematics in the book, and I was quite disappointed because I was really looking forward to the whole STEM aspect of the novel. But besides tutoring some underachieving students in trigonometry, there really wasn’t any evidence that Eva was even good at math. Having said that, I did still really appreciate that the main character was a lady in STEM, and that’s something that I’m always going to advocate for.
My favourite aspect of the book was probably the romance. I really enjoyed Eva and Zenn’s characters together and found that they really complemented each other well. Even though they were quite the opposite in many ways, they had the same sense of humour and I found them both to be really likable, especially together. Their romance developed at a nice pace and never came across as insta-lovey. There were a few things about the romance that irked me though. I really did not like the fact that Zenn was the only person who Eva could touch without experiencing her ‘fractals’ and I was not a fan of the explanation that was given for why this was the case. But all in all, I loved Eva and Zenn together and could easily read a whole other book about them.
I also liked their characters separately. I found Eva to be easy to relate to and I loved learning more about her family. She has three-year old quadruplet siblings and I thought they were extremely cute! I wish there had been more of them in the novel because they honestly made my day (especially when they dressed up as the Teletubbies for Halloween). I really enjoyed how level-headed Eva was and how responsible she was. My only real criticism of her character was that I found her to be a little bit too detached from the accident that had occurred when she was just a baby. I found her dismissal of the event to be really strange, especially considering the impact that it had on her family and those around her. Overall, I just found some of her decision processes to be a bit weird. Zenn was probably my favourite character in the book. He was very artistic and just an all-around great guy and I enjoyed every scene that he was in. He was another level-headed and responsible character and I enjoyed the way that he interacted with the other characters in the book.
Overall, while I enjoyed Zenn Diagram, I found many elements to be a bit underdeveloped and unresolved. I would’ve liked to have seen a lot of the themes in the book taken further and there were a few things that were brought up but not resolved. Having said that, the romance and the characters were likable and relatable and I really liked the reading experience.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
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