Book Review: Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant

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Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant ★★★ 1/2

Summary: Eva Walker is a math tutor with a strange gift. When she touches someone, or something, she can read that person’s feelings, their secrets, their insecurities. When she tutors Zenn Bennett and accidentally touches his coat, she nearly passes out from how dark her reading of him is. But when she touches his skin- nothing.

Fractals usually creep up slowly, like a migraine, and then spread like when your hand had fallen asleep and starts to regain feeling one tingly bit as a time. But this one, it does not creep. It does not tingle. It hits me like a cement truck of inky-black lighting bolts, a crimson hurricane, and I am on my knees on the linoleum floor before I even realize what caused it. 

Genre: Romance/Contemporary/Young Adult

Plot

Zenn Diagram was a sweet, melancholy read that is perfect if you’re the mood for something light. I loved the concept –  that Eva could sense a person’s emotions through touch – and I thought it was carried out very well. Her “fractals” as she called them, were colorful shapes and masses of emotion, and I loved how instead of taking the artist route with her character, she was a very logical and methodical math genius. I was into it from the very start, and when Zenn is introduced to the story, with his darkness that takes Eva’s breath away, I was sold on the mystery. The progression of their relationship and the romance is very sweet, and almost…relaxing, perhaps because both of them have rather understated, quiet characters.

However, most of the stars came off my rating toward the end of this book. It takes care to wrap up the romantic plotline, but everything else feels like untied strings flapping in the wind. The book gets very plotty about halfway through, which in itself could have been alluded to more because it takes so long to get there, but then it just… fades and does more to further the romance than answer the actual questions it raised about backstory and the mystery behind Eva’s gift. That, and Eva makes some decisions I couldn’t quite get behind.

Ultimately, this is a story about self-sacrifice, and it uses religion as its backing point, but to be honest I felt a little let down by the religious theme. Perhaps it would not incense someone who doesn’t care for religion all that much, but it bugged me that Eva would use Christianity to defend some of her actions and decisions as good, selfless ones, while other times disregarding it as untrue or dumb. I didn’t expect this to be some great Christian novel or anything, but the balance was off-putting and left some of Eva’s convictions feeling weaker than they should have because of it. I would have liked more closure with this- but like I said, this book was not so great at closure.  But MOSTLY I’m disappointed that the parallel between Jesus and a girl who can sense that state of people hearts wasn’t utilized to its full potential.

Overall this book was a sweet, light read, great if you want an easy romance, but it felt a bit like a steep hill that levels out halfway.

Characters

While I was conflicted about Eva, I did like her, and I loved getting to read a YA character who was crazy about math for a change. Both she and Zenn were very…muted characters with their own burdens to carry, and both very modest in a sweet way. While they fall for one another pretty quickly, it wasn’t insta-love, and the book takes the time to establish a friendship between them, which I loved.

While Eva was kind and extremely selfless, there was a strange disconnect between these things and how very judgmental she could be. When she could sense someone was unhappy or hurt and understood the causes of it, and even when she wanted to help them, she still reserved a lot of judgement that was off-putting. There was a lot of “not like other girls” going on and was never really resolved, and I really wished the author had utilized Eva’s forced empathy more. But I think what keeps me from loving Eva’s development is the discrepancy I have with the religious themes of the book and the fact that I wasn’t a huge fan of her choices, or Zenn’s- it spoiled the romance near the end for me a bit. I understand what the book was trying to teach me, I just was kind of “meh,” about it.

Lastly, shout out to Eva’s toddler quadruplet siblings. They were cute.

Writing

The writing was breezy and easy. I loved the colorful descriptions of Eva’s fractals, and I thought dialogue in particular was written very well.

Was I satisfied?

I liked the romance, and I loved the fractal stuff, but overall, not exactly. That plot needed to provide me with more resolution in order for me to walk away happily. Still, it was a cute, quick read.

 

Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book for an honest and unbiased review. 

 

10 thoughts on “Book Review: Zenn Diagram by Wendy Brant

  1. Wonderfully written review Steph – really insightful. Likewise, I don’t really like when books seem like they’re going to be a breeze and then like midway through they take an awkward turn and become way too complicated. I feel like that really confuses readers and negatively affects the overall experience.
    I really like the premise of this story as you described it so I just may check it out!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you!! I think if the plot had kicked in sooner and was resolved a bit better, I would have given this book a higher rating. But it’s still a pleasant read and worth giving a shot!!

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  2. Ohh this sounds so interesting! The plot is very unique, although I am having doubts about the Christian tone… will check the book out and form an opinion 😀 thank you for reviewing it, I didn’t know this book!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is a very unique plot! Definitely worth giving a shot even if it wasn’t done amazingly, especially if you’re in the mood for romance. I think if the author had taken a more concrete stance on Christianity, one way or the other, I would feel less iffy about it. It’s not really something most other readers have taken issue with, judging by other reviews, but I enjoy religious themes and have a personal relationship with Christianity so it stood out to me.

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    • Oh my gosh thank you for commenting! And thank you for taking the time to read my review!! I did enjoy it, and I read it while tough real-life issues were happening (my cat was having health problems and we ultimately had to put him down) and Zenn and Eva’s romance was a very sweet and lovely thing that took my mind off my stress and sadness. So thank you!! ❤ ❤

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