Mind Games tells the story of 11-y-o Matthew who recently lost his
mother. Matthew thinks his father abandoned him and his mother. He now
lives with his aunt who makes it no secret that she is just doing her duty
by having him live with her and uses every opportunity to criticize his
father. In addition to all other odds stacked against him, Matthew now
attends a new school where he becomes the target of bullies due to his
However, Matthew is no ordinary boy. He has a supernatural ability that
he is careful to keep secret. Matthew has the uncanny ability to influence
people’s thought processes, sometimes unintentionally. To defend
himself against the bullies, Matthew is eventually forced to use his special
The story turns deadly when some boys become aware of his powers,
befriend him and coerce him into playing dangerous games of criminal
The story is so effectively written that what is unreal becomes believable.
The dialogue is effective, the narrative flows smoothly and descriptions
are detailed and clear.
Matthew is an eleven year old boy with amazing mental powers. He has
the ability to influence the thought processes of others. He discovers his
powers in Grade 1 when he realizes he can force someone to give him
something he wants just by commanding them mentally to do so.
Although nobody realizes what really happened, Matthew gets in trouble
with his teacher for forcing the other child to do something against his will.
Matthew stops using his powers because of this negative experience.
Now years later, Matthew is living with his aunt as his mother has passed
away. He transfers from his preparatory school to an all-age school
where he is in Grade 6. Being a new boy, having come from a prep
school and being smaller than most of the children in his class, Matthew
is a prime candidate for bullying. When the story begins, several
incidents of bullying have already taken place. He has been beaten by
the bullies and now they are demanding money from him.
The book begins with one such confrontation. Literally backed into a
corner, Matthew feels compelled to use his powers to get himself out of a
dangerous situation. Having not used his extraordinary ability for so long,
he is unsure whether it will work. To his surprise, it does. He commands
two of the bullies to back off and the third is left puzzled as to the strange
behaviour of his friends while Matthew makes good his escape.
Rumours about what happened start spreading. The story reaches the
ears of RC, an older boy who is in Grade 8. He helps Matthew after
another attack and seems to befriend him. He has ulterior motives
however. One day, Matthew unintentionally reveals to RC that he has
these strange powers. RC is very excited at this revelation. He persuades
Matthew to come to his house where he can ‘practise’ his powers on two
Matthew’s best friend in the book is 9 y.o. Christina, who is a chatterbox.
He uses his power on her but when, as she puts it, ‘he is talking in her
head’, she is mad! He explains his powers to her and she wants him to
teach her how to do it but he can’t.
The playing of chess features quite a bit in the book. It is one of Matthew’
s favourite games and he and Christina play it often. He also plays with
RC. To help Christina learn to play chess well, he mentally tells her what
moves to make. So she will not be offended that he is ‘talking in her
head’, Matthew learns to couch his commands as suggestions so
Christina feels that these are her own thoughts.
When Matthew starts ‘practising’ on RC’s friends, the boys are hostile
when he gives them commands, yet they are unable to resist. Matthew
decides to use what he has learned with Christina and instead of
commanding one of the boys, he mentally suggests to him that there is
nothing wrong with following the commands. This boy subsequently does
what he is told without feeling resentful or hostile. The other boy, who
tries to resist the mental commands, is resentful and ends up having a
One day, RC and friends trick Matthew into ordering a man on the street
to hand over him his wallet. This incident scares Matthew as he realizes
RC’s true motives. He tries to avoid the boys but they use what he had
done in the first incident to blackmail him into helping them ‘one last time’
according to them. He manages to foil their next attempt by mentally
warning the intended victim.
However, things escalate and RC frightens Matthew into using his powers
to help rob a food store. Matthew is even more reluctant to participate in
this because this store is owned by Mr Kim, the father of his school friend,
Mark. Matthew manages to warn Mr Kim what is going to happen.
Enraged, RC stabs Matthew. Matthew watches Mr Kim struggling with RC
but is in too much pain to give any specific mental command. He can only
manage a ‘mental scream’ which turns out to be stronger than any mental
suggestion or command he has ever given. This mental scream
While recovering in the hospital, Matthew is visited by his father who lives
in the USA and who has just discovered he has a son. His father had
been contacted by his neighbour,
Mrs Blake, after Matthew begged her to help him locate his absent
Amazingly, Matthew discovers that his father has the same power that he
does. Father and son of course are happy to have found each other. His
father promises that they will never again be separated.
ISBN: 978 976 638 167 7
Carlong Publishers (Caribbean) Limited
Carlong Publisher (Caribbean) Limited
38 First Street,
Tel: (876) 923-6505-7, (876) 923 7008
or (876) 923-7019
Fax: (876) 923-7003
The book is intended for the younger
young adult, i.e. readers 12 to 14
years. Mind Games will be an excellent
addition to classroom literature texts
suitable for use at the upper primary
and lower secondary levels. It will also
be a welcome addition to school and
Tags: Jamaica, young adult, bullying,
supernatural, chess, Black, African
American, Caribbean, Carlong,
Expressions Young Adult series, action,
boys, children’s fiction, sci-fi, young-