Motion is part one of Penny Reid’s new series Laws of Physics and it is classic Penny Reid - smart, funny, and romantic with a little bit of mystery thrown in. Mona Da Vinci is a nineteen-year-old physics genius enjoying her structured life - meditation, yoga, journaling, dental checkups - all while interviewing to attend the most prestigious PhD programs in the country. In the middle of her interview at Caltech, she receives a collect phone call from her twin sister, Lisa, who has been arrested. Lisa begs Mona to drop everything, fly to Chicago and impersonate her for a week until she’s released from jail. Mona is stunned – Lisa wants her to drop everything, get to Chicago, live at her empty parents’ house with some guy – Abram - who is a friend of her brother’s and supposed to watch her? No! But Lisa lays a guilt trip on her and Mona can’t refuse.
Mona and Lisa’s parents are celebrities and have little interest in their offspring (apart from giving them ridiculous names - Mona and Lisa – heh! - and worrying how their kids appear to their fans). The girls haven’t lived together in eight years and barely know each other any more. At the age of eleven, Lisa was sent to boarding school and Mona and her brother Leo were taught at home by tutors, and Lisa has been getting in more and more trouble - dropping out of high school, dating rock stars and now getting arrested. Mona, on the other hand, went to college at fifteen, had a guardian to take care of her until she turned eighteen, and has lived a scandal-free, well-planned life. Until now.
Mona heads to Chicago and is coached by Lisa’s best friend Gabby on how to be Lisa - makeup, styled hair, tight clothes, pouty attitude - and not Mona. Gabby also drops a hint that Lisa and Abram have some questionable history. Against her better judgement Mona goes to her parents’ Chicago home ready to pretend to be her sister.
Abram is not thrilled to see Lisa, but he’s promised Leo that he’ll keep her out of trouble for the week. After seeing Abram - “Abram had won the genetics lottery. Or Powerball. Or whatever. The point was, this guy probably received congratulations cards for his face” - Mona decides sticking to one word answers is her best strategy for surviving her week as Lisa. Nope, whatever, sure. And refraining from adding her usual rejoinders:
But at what cost?
In this economy?
So...it has come to this.
Is this why fate has brought us together?
...And then the wolves came.
Abram and Mona settle into being housemates. Abram is confused because this Lisa is not like the Lisa he thought he knew, and Mona is confused because she’s normally touch averse but doesn’t flinch when Abram touches her. She’s not romantic, so why is she thinking about him all the time? How the heck is she going to keep this charade up and shouldn’t she just tell Abram the truth anyway?
Motion is told from Mona’s point of view and boy is she fun to keep up with! Her internal dialogue is full of scientific jargon, mental lists, hilarious quips, and whispers of fear. She’s brilliant, kind and beautiful, but socially awkward and lost in her own bubble of academia, self-doubt and male-avoidance. Her ideal humor is physics jokes and she has a poster above her bed - “Heisenberg may have slept here”. She’s also plagued by guilt - to help Lisa and now to be truthful with Abram.
Abram is also a terrific character - smart, patient, honorable - trying his hardest to help out a friend and be nice and respectful to someone he thought he didn’t like.
So what will happen when Lisa gets out of jail and comes home? I have no idea!
That’s the thing. This is part one of three in the Laws of Physics series and by the end of Motion there hasn’t even been a kiss. But there is a great deal of sexual tension. The story continues in Book Two - Space and Book Three - Time. Each story is about 200+ pages. Will you be satisfied by reading just one? No, this is a commitment to the all three parts.
How to rate Motion though? Well, for me it’s a DIK, even though the storyline is unresolved at this point. Why? I couldn’t put it down once I started. I am still wondering how Lisa ended up in jail, how Mona is going to tell Abram the truth and if Abram will forgive her. And I am having a book hangover. I will definitely be reading Space and Time to find out what happens next!!!
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