When I first read about The Predicteds, I thought I had it figured out. I dropped it into a category, thinking ‘it sounds like Minority Report‘. But oh, how wrong I was. Because while the premise is similar, The Predicteds is unlike anything you’ve read or seen before.
Your future is not your own…
“We wanted to know what makes a good kid good and a bad kid bad. Can you blame us for that? We found an astoundingly, marvelously simple answer: The brain isn’t so much a complicated machine as it is a crystal ball. If you look into it, you will see everything you want to know.”
-Dr. Mark Miliken, senior researcher at Utopia Laboratories
Who will it be?
Will the head cheerleader get pregnant?
Is the student council president a secret drug addict?
The whole school is freaking out about PROFILE, an experimental program that can predict students’ future behavior.
The only question Daphne wants answered is whether Jesse will ask her out…but he’s a Predicted, and there’s something about his future he’s not telling her.
Daphne is the only point of view in this book. She’s a junior at a new school. Her first week she almost dies once, is threatened with violence and/or death once, and meets a hot guy in glasses who saves her both times. So already it’s shaping up to be a great year, as you can tell. And this is all in the first chapter!
The book’s plot quickly picks up after PROFILE is mentioned for the first time. Daphne has no knowledge of this program since she wasn’t attending this ISD when they were tested, so we get to learn about PROFILE at the same time that she does. The program itself is one of those that sound great in theory, but trying to predict human behavior is, as Stephen Hawking said in Black Holes, Baby Universes and Other Essays, ”just too difficult.” Of course he was trying to prove free will in the essay where he mentions this, but the theory behind behavior prediction is sound. Without knowing the fundamental equations that govern the brain, we are unable to use them to predict human behavior. But with PROFILE, those fundamental equations were found. So the question becomes, is it a ‘prediction’ if you know about it beforehand? Are you fulfilling your ‘destiny’ or making choices based on what you already think will happen regardless?
Amazingly, The Predicteds only deals with PROFILE on the fringe of the main plot, which centers around Jesse and Daphne as she tries to figure him out. There’s an entire violent mystery story going on during the unveiling of PROFILE at this high school that Daphne is unwillingly caught up in, which keeps your attention just as much as the sub-plot of what’s going on with the “Predicteds”.
The humor in this book (yes, there’s humor!) was very sly. There were several times I was surprised by the witty one-liners, usually about Daphne’s mom, which had me laughing quite loudly. As I read the majority of this book on an airplane, I would like to take a moment to apologize to the people sitting near me. These moments helped lightened my mood as I read and worried over all the characters I’d grown attached to, Jesse in particular. (It’s the glasses… and the skinny tie… I was imagining a young Zachary Quinto the entire time. I mean, just look at this picture, then read this book and tell me you don’t see it too.)
Anyway, the only thing I wasn’t too keen on was the ending. It was very open-ended, as far as PROFILE was concerned. Christine Seifert could very well take this idea and spin an entire series off it, basing it in different schools across the nation as one teen or a teenage couple deal with the outcome of the PROFILE tests while laying down an overall arc that reaches an amazing complex in the last book when the characters from the first book (meaning Daphne, Jesse and maybe even Daphne’s mom) take down the entire system! Clearly Christine and I (like that won’t get confusing at all) need to have a talk about future plot lines for what could be an awesome series.
When I interviewed Christine, she did say she wanted to go deeper into the new world PROFILE establishes, so we should definitely talk.
Overall, fascinating premise both psychologically and emotionally, great set-up for a series, super cute male interest… my recommendation? You should read this.
The Predicteds is published through Sourcebooks and available in bookstores nationwide and anywhere they sell books online, so go read it!