The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind by Jackson Ford

June 20, 2019

For Teagan Frost, sh* just got real.

Teagan Frost is having a hard time keeping it together. Sure, she’s got telekinetic powers — a skill that the government is all too happy to make use of, sending her on secret break-in missions that no ordinary human could carry out. But all she really wants to do is kick back, have a beer, and pretend she’s normal for once.

But then a body turns up at the site of her last job — murdered in a way that only someone like Teagan could have pulled off. She’s got 24 hours to clear her name – and it’s not just her life at stake. If she can’t unravel the conspiracy in time, her hometown of Los Angeles will be in the crosshairs of an underground battle that’s on the brink of exploding . . .

There has been a trend over the last couple of years when it comes to book titles, you may have spotted it. In fact, this phenomenon has become so common I have given it a name, I call it The Person With The Thing effect. Don’t believe me? There are plenty of examples – The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Boy on The Bridge, The Girl on The Train and The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making to name but a few. I’ll admit that last one comes close to being the best example so far, but with the arrival of The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind by Jackson Ford, I feel we have reached peak book title. Is it possible to top this tremendous name? I suspect not. Setting aside this potentially controversial statement the biggest question that remains is does said book deliver on the promise that the title suggests? Good news my bookish chums, it does and then some.

Teagan Frost is a psychokinetic; by sheer force of will alone she can move non-organic material. Part blessing, part curse, this unique ability finds her part of a clandestine group working for the US government in Los Angeles. I was immediately won over by her character. Teagan is a little bit snarky and brittle, a little bit broken, but also doggedly determined to live her life by her rules. I think it is fair to say Teagan is a bit all over the place. She is a jumble of conflicting emotions. Part of her wants to be left alone but she also has a profound desire to belong to something greater than herself. This depth of uncertainty makes her character feel polished, nuanced and human. We’ve all been in similar situations at one time or another, unsure of just where it is we fit. Ok, perhaps not the bit about having the ability to move sh*t with our minds, but you get the gist. The author does an expert job of revealing the different component parts of Teagan’s character. We discover our protagonist’s hopes and dreams, strengths and weaknesses in a very natural fashion. Nothing feels like it has been shoehorned in. Later in the narrative there are also a handful of chapters that offer some additional insight into Teagan’s backstory. There are still some important gaps though. I think we can safely assume these are going to be explored in the future.

The team who assist Teagan are an eclectic bunch. They have been brought together by a shadowy government operative and most of them have had no choice in the matter. There are tensions within the team that are barely contained. Put it this way, things get fraught.

For me the standout character is Annie Cruz. To suggest Annie is not a fan of Teagan may be the biggest understatement I make this year. It probably doesn’t help that when the book begins they are both falling out of a skyscraper due to one of Teagan’s bright ideas. That sort of trauma is bound to rub someone up the wrong way. Watching how their relationship evolves is one of the book’s many highlights.

The internet reliably informs me that Jackson Ford is a pseudonym for a critically acclaimed science fiction author. Consider me suitably intrigued. I’m sure in the fullness of time some clever so-and-so will let us know exactly who that is. Part of me wants to write down who I think it is now, and then when all is revealed I can open an envelope and reveal I had correctly guessed all along like a suitably smug magician. Then again, perhaps not.

The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind is a great deal of fun. It acts as the perfect introduction to the characters and the story has enough twists and turns to keep you on your toes. In fact, plot wise, I think I was visualising something akin to the Ant-Man movies. You know the sort of thing, a bit tongue in check in places but with some dark moments scattered throughout for good measure. There is so much potential for further stories in the Teagan Frost universe. This could easily spiral into something much, much larger. It’s almost as if multiple superheroes and interconnected stories could be a thing? Maybe that will catch on? Perhaps we’ll be lucky enough to get a movie version of the book. That would be all kinds of awesome. Until then, I will just have to content myself with the books. I can’t wait to find out what happens next. There is a nice little moment in the final chapter that made me particularly hungry for more.

In a small break from tradition, mostly due to my own indecision, I have two musical recommendations to accompany The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind. While reading the novel I found myself flip-flopping between X-Men: Dark Phoenix by Hans Zimmer and the soundtrack to Runaways by Siddhartha Khosla. Both do a grand job of capturing a heroic vibe that complements the book perfectly.

The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t With Her Mind is published by Orbit and is available now. Highly recommended. A sequel, Random Sh*t Flying Through The Air*, is set to follow.

*With a title like that the second book also promises something quite special and, let’s be honest here, I think we can all admit we’ve had nights out like this.

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