Zenn Diagram


Rating: 3 Crickets

Title: Zenn Diagram
Author: Wendy Brant
Illustrator: jacket design by Kate Hargreaves (CorusKate Design)
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Published: April 4, 2017

‘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.’


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 maths 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 phones, 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 hives 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…

After returning a book to the library I promised myself I wouldn’t get anymore out until I had made some work of my ever growing TBR pile at home. However, within only a few seconds I had three books in my hand and was still looking for more. Zenn Diagram was the first book I picked up that day, with it’s nice cover and quirky name.

I loved the concept of this book – having a math nerd with a sense of humour as the main character, who had some strange ability to sense things via touch. I’ve read a few books with the whole “nerdy girl” main character type thing, but Eva was unique and quite an interesting character. It was fun to see a character who had a passion for maths but also wasn’t a complete stereotypical character. Eva’s devotion to her family, especially her 4 younger siblings was great to see. Her backstory was also different to one I had seen before, and her view and feelings about what happened to her made her a stronger character, and I loved how she wasn’t all ‘woe is me’.

**Possible Spoilers** (character personality rather than plot)
In a similar way, I also loved Zenn. While his story has somewhat been done before, with the whole ‘rebel with a dysfunctional family’ thing going for him, I liked how the author made this unique with the backstory of how the family became dysfunctional. Again, Zenn was a strong character, taking on whatever life threw at him and making the most of it. His strong work ethic and artistic talent added to his charm, along with his ability to simply be there and listen when Eva needed someone to talk to – he helped without forcing anything or being nosy, and offered friendship when Eva felt alone.
**Possible Spoilers Over**

This book certainly had a few cliches – the most obvious being the nerdy girl and rebel boy main characters. There was also the single best friend of the main character and the typical “popular” group – although it was nice to not have the added drama of bullying throughout the novel. There were a few things that felt overused and so it was a little boring sometimes, and there were times in which things were a little predictable but mostly Wendy Brant did a good job of putting her own spin on these which kept the book fun and interesting.

**Possible Spoilers**
The relationship between Eva and Zenn was great. It started out slow, with the pair forming a gradual friendship and taking things step by step, although once they were in the relationship things moved pretty quickly. This has happened with a few books I have read recently, but it was good to see a healthy relationship formed between the characters. Although it can sometimes feel like things went a little too smoothly for them when it came to getting together, it’s been nice to not have a lot of drama between the pair due to trust issues or people meddling in the relationship – I’ve read a lot of stories involving that sort of thing and it was certainly getting tiring. But it was great to see two people who hadn’t really had friends find someone who they could trust and be themselves with.
**Possible Spoilers Over**

However, I did find the constant referral to Zenn’s eyelashes quite annoying. Personally I’ve never really understood the intense obsession people, characters, seem to have with a guy’s eyelashes. I get that someone might nice eyelashes but, to me, it just doesn’t seem like “life altering” feature. And at one point he’s even referred to as Mr Eyelashes! To be fair, she’s also obsessed with his hands, which definitely makes more sense – with the whole hands and touching thing, him being an artist and the effect that working a few jobs has had on them.

Eva’s ability to get ‘visions’ when she touches people and objects was certainly something that grabbed my attention when choosing to read this book. Again, there were a couple of times when things were a little predictable, but mostly it was a new and interesting concept. It’s certainly hard to imagine what it would be like to live a life in which you have to be careful of everything you touch, and exploring this idea was done well throughout the novel. I liked how there were times in which Eva would almost forget about her ability and this would cause her a few problems – because, hey, when someone forgets something it’s just natural to pick it up and try give it back, right? But little things like that are potential disasters for Eva and it was fascinating to watch how she navigated her way through the world and the precautions that she took. This also acted to highlight the importance of touch in our daily lives, and a lack of touch can affect someone’s life and can be quite isolating.

Overall, Zenn Diagram was enjoyable, I thoroughly enjoyed the quirkiness of the book and I recommend giving it a read. It was a light and fast read, but while it may appear to be a simple sort of romance novel, it does a good job of dealing with some ‘heavier’ themes.

* There is a language warning as it does contain casual swearing.  

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