What would you do if touching another human being meant discovering their pain, hurt or deepest darkest secrets?
For Eva (pronounced Ay-va) Walker, it means living a life devoid of human touch. It’s exactly what it sounds like – solitary confinement. She ensures that she never touches anyone or their belongings or she’ll be in for a hailstorm of emotions she never asked for. The only time Eva intentionally touches someone or their stuff is when she’s tutoring them in Maths. If it’s something as simple as a Math book or a calculator, the only emotions she’ll encounter is frustration from them not being able to solve an equation.
Everything changes for Eva when she gets a new student to tutor named Zenn Bennett. Unlike the wanna-be-cool guys in her school, Zenn’s swag is so natural that our protagonist, who constantly judges her peers, easily falls under his charm. To add to his existing good looks, Zenn has such a dark past that Eva braves her own fears of touch to uncover them. What she finds out not only disrupts her relationship with her mother and her cheery best friend, Charlotte but also brings her closer to Zenn.
I won’t deny how strong the pull was to read this novel. Have you ever saw a book, and while the cover is as enough a motivator as the blurb, become so eager to read it that you clear all your TBRs to be able to sit down and spend the day lost in its pages? That’s the feeling I had when I picked up Zenn Diagram. From the start, I was in love with Brant’s way with words as she described how Eva has lived with her mystical powers that no doctor can seem to diagnose. Thanks to Eva’s detailed description of the traits she admired about Zenn, it was even easier to fall in love with Zenn’s John Bender-esque character.
Also, I despise Maths but reading Zenn Diagram and learning about all the reasons Eva preferred to spend her time nose-deep in a textbook, made me relate to her on another level. From the get-go, I liked her spunky domineering attitude, but what really made me like her character was the fact that she was daring enough to brave her family’s past and the fear of Zenn discovering her powers to be with him. It could have just been raging teenage hormones that led her to make certain decisions, but the story flows in such a way that Eva’s decisions come across as a young girl lost in love rather than a nonsensical one-dimensional character. Brant writes all her characters with depth, and I can understand the reasons behind their choices and their anger.
The only part of Zenn Diagram that I really didn’t like was the ending. After everyone’s secrets and family history are exposed, the novel takes a quick turn downhill and goes from being witty and charming to soppy and nothing short of a fairy tale. It’s disheartening because I completely enjoyed the book up until those last dreadful pages where things became unrealistic. Regardless, I think Zenn Diagram is a great read if you’re looking for a light supernatural young adult book to indulge in this summer.