My Rating: 4/5
Author: Mark Tullius
“Across the nation, telepaths are rounded up and sent to the beautiful mountain town of Brightside. They’re told it’s just like everywhere else, probably even nicer. As long as they follow the rules and don’t ever think about leaving. Joe Nolan is one of the accused, a man who spent his life hearing things people left unsaid. And now he’s paying for it on his hundredth day in Brightside, fighting to keep hold of his secret in a town where no thought is safe.”
Brightside is a story about how a telepath, Joe, comes to Brightside—a special town built on a mountain that contains all known telepaths in America. He spends 100 days in this town trying to cope with having no secrets and wanting to leave. The story starts on day 100 and flashbacks to his earlier days at Brightside (with a few flashbacks to his childhood.) It is a different twist to dystopian books.
Brightside is written in first person following Joe, a telepath. Joe has had a troubled past starting all the way back to his childhood (age five). He struggled through life as a telepath, unable to let others know about his ability. Eventually, the world found out that telepaths exists, and the government decided these people were a threat—an exposure to everyone else’s thoughts. Therefore, Brightside was created to mimic the rest of society. The telepaths were given a place to live and a job to earn their way. However, one wrong move and the Boots would come and send you to the cabin where you would become sedated to remain unthreatening. Joe is a complex character that is trying to cope with being turned in as a telepath. He wants to do the right thing, but everything he tries (past and present) seems to go wrong. The other characters in the book are also multi-dimensional, which makes the characters alive and realistic to the reader.
The plot takes the reader on a journey from a glimpse into day 100 at Brightside to his first impressions and days there. It also flashes back to his childhood from his first exposure to a group as a child going to the day where he was turned in as a telepath. Although there are flashbacks throughout the first part of the book, I followed along well enough that I knew where I was—and what point I was reading about in Joe’s life. The plot takes some twist and turns and eventually leads to an exciting ending. I think the book could have done with an epilogue at the end, especially to let the reader know what happened to some of the other less important characters that are left out at the end and how things followed through with the main characters’ relationships and future.
The Bottom Line:
Overall I enjoyed this book. I was a little busy when reading it so I didn’t finish it as soon as I normally would have – about two days. If you like dystopian stories with a twist, then you might want to try this book.