Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant, Kids Can Press, April 4, 2017. ISBN: 9781771387927. Reviewed by John R. Clark, MLIS.
Feeling alone or lonely isn’t unusual for teens, but for Eva Walker, those terms rise to a whole different level. Whenever she touches someone with her hands, the emotional/visual images she receives are so strong, she freaks out. Even her adoptive parents fall into that category. It’s been that way all her life and she’s been to multiple psychiatrists, therapists and doctors with no luck. She’s resigned herself to living a live of aloneness and using her freakishly good math skills to get a scholarship so she can eventually do neuroscientific research and maybe find a cure.
In the meantime, she gets some emotional sustenance from her three year old quadruplet siblings. Little kids are safe to touch because they run on simple emotions, not the massive, dark fractal images she gets from teens and adults. Eva also uses her talent to assess struggling math students. Her rule is that prospective tutoring candidates must bring their calculator to the first session. She can handle the diminished fractal images gleaned that way and these usually tell her in what areas the person is struggling. It’s a good way to earn money for college and to help with family finances, because her adoptive dad is a minister and sometimes funds are tight.
On the day she starts tutoring two new guys, her life changes, but it takes a while for her to realize all the ramifications. The first, Josh, happens to be someone her best (and really only) friend, Charlotte is crushing on. Despite reservations after what she sees in his fractal, Eva helps her bestie by having her appear at a couple sessions and that’s all it takes. Guy #2 is Zenn and when she discovers she can touch him without anything scary happening, it rocks her world. Those changes involve pain, joy, a huge sacrifice, rebellion at home and her discovering that some of the things she believed about her deceased parents deadly accident weren’t as she thought. This is an excellent book, one that many teens will savor and is well worth adding to any library. I really love the epilogue as it makes for a perfect ending.