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Literature / Fingerprints

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Fingerprints is a series of young adult novels by Melinda Metz, author of Roswell High (the series Roswell was based on), and is written in a similar style.

Rae Voight is an Ordinary High-School Student. However, on her first day of high school, her head suddenly becomes filled with thoughts that aren't hers. After suffering a massive freak-out, she is sent to a mental institution.

A year later, Rae is out, having tricked her doctors into thinking she is longer hearing the not-her thoughts. However, on her first day back to school, someone sets a bomb to try and kill her. In the process of investigating why, she learns she isn't crazy after all: she has Psychic Powers. Whenever she touches someone's fingerprint, she hears what they were thinking when they left it.

...What kind of lame power is that, anyway?

Using her powers as best she can, Rae tries to discover who is trying to kill her. She gets help from a few of her friends. There's Anthony, a Troubled, but Cute potential Love Interest who was framed for the bombing; Jesse, his also-troubled honorary little brother; and Yana, a Cool Big Sis who was doing volunteer work at the mental hospital where Rae stayed. Together, they try to protect Rae and uncover the mystery surrounding a mysterious Group attended by Rae's dead mother, and meet a few other people with psychic powers along the way. In the end, Rae has to face down not only a Deadly Doctor, but unexpected betrayal from a source very close to her.

There are seven books in the series: Gifted Touch, Haunted, Trust Me, Secrets, Betrayed, Revelations, and Payback. In July 2010, an omnibus of the first three books is being released under the title Echoes. Gifted Touch has been renamed Echoes and Trust Me has been renamed Trust (probably so the entire series will have one-word titles).

This series provides examples of:

  • Adults Are Useless: In spite of the multiple threats on Rae's life, with real physical evidence that would in no way lead anyone to find out about her powers or lead anyone to believe she's crazy like a box of human remains sent to her house, threatening letters, etc., no one ever thinks to call the police.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Rae's old friends abandon her after her freak-out
  • The Atoner: Inverted with Steve Mercer, whose attempts to atone for his perceived past evil end up being a lot more evil than what he did in the first place.
  • Arc Words: "Erika Keaton"
  • Bad Powers, Bad People: While Amanda Reesce was by all accounts a nice person, Steve Mercer assumed that anyone with the ability to see people's fears must be evil...
  • Blessed with Suck: Rae. Even those with awesome powers get a raw deal, since they get hunted down by the organization and suffer side effects from overuse of their abilities.
  • Book Dumb: Anthony, who has dyslexia
  • Break the Cutie: Yana's ballerina story provides a hint of what a sweet girl she was before various circumstances caused her to become her current Tomboy self.
  • Broken Bird: She hides it well, but Yana is one at heart.
  • Cardboard Prison: Book 7 - the prisoner manages to just wander out during a computer failure, despite being heavily drugged. Way to go, Aiden, real tight ship you're running there.
  • Cast Speciation: Only one psychic power was repeated, and the repeat is a Posthumous Character.
  • Compelling Voice: Yana and Melissa
  • Contrived Coincidence: The power Mandy develops just happens to be the one they need to solve the current situation.
  • Deadly Doctor: Steve Mercer; later Layla Cascone, though the latter is less "hands-on" than the former
  • Deadly Upgrade: Excessive use of her psychic powers starts causing Rae side effects, making her worry she might die of wasting disease like her mother.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Getting revenge on the person who killed your mother? Fine. The murderer is already dead, so taking revenge on a relative who had nothing to do with the murder and didn't even know about it? Uh...
    "Someone dying isn't enough for revenge. They have to suffer. Don't you get it? And you can't suffer when you're dead. But I found someone who could suffer..."
  • Distress Ball: Yana in book 7. The large plot hole makes it clear how contrived the situation is (if the guards were all psychic-blocked, why did Sam's powers still work on them? So he could be a Big Damn Hero for the Damsel in Distress, of course.)
  • Easily Forgiven: Yana. It's a little unbelievable how easily Rae forgives her in book 7, considering the events of book 6.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: One villain, Yana, has a major mother complex as her motivation. Everything she does is to get revenge for her mother's death.
  • Evilutionary Biologist: Steve Mercer, who later tried to undo his work
  • Fake Memories: One of Yana's powers
  • Freudian Excuse: Yana had a really crappy childhood. The fact that her mother's murderer enjoyed a happy life drove her over the edge.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Yana, book 7. Rather abrupt, but consistent with her characterization; it's how quickly Rae accepts her as a hero that stretches Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
  • I Know What You Fear: Amanda Reese's power.
  • Insane Equals Violent: When Rae first starts hearing other people's thoughts, she willingly goes to a mental institution because she's afraid she might be crazy and turn out Insane Equals Violent. Turns out she has a reason for her fears: her mother (supposedly) also went crazy and then murdered someone.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Steve Mercer "correcting" his past mistakes.
  • Kill It with Fire: Book 7. Yana torches the Community Center. Fire solves everything.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: One of Yana's powers
  • Milkman Conspiracy: The Wilton Community Center. Offering classes in knitting, yoga, and Evilutionary Biology. Join today.
  • Mind Probe: Rae can do this by making direct fingertip-to-fingertip contact with a person.
  • Mind Rape: In the sixth book, Rae describes it as like "raping her brain" when a villain's power forces evil thoughts into her mind.
  • The Mole: Yana.
  • My Nayme Is: Rae's real name is Rachel; she began going by Rae as a way a reinventing herself when she started high school.
  • Parental Abandonment: Just try and find a character in this series who still has both parents.
  • People Puppets: Sam's power, though Yana's powers let her do it as well (and better).
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Two members of the Group (Erika and Melissa) attempted this, but failed. Later on, Yana and Sam succeed.
  • Posthumous Character: Melissa Voight.
  • Power Incontinence: Rae and Mandy can't turn off their powers. Rae starts wearing wax on her fingertips so she doesn't pick up every random thought in the world; it's not seen whether Mandy finds a similar solution or is just very careful.
  • Psychic Nosebleed: When Yana tries her powers on a psychic-blocked guard.
  • Psychic Powers:
  • Psycho Knife Nut: Yana. "I wonder how many cuts it will take for you to die? I bet thousands and thousands..."
  • Psycho Supporter: Yana to Rae, up through book 6; something of a one-sided Enemy Mine, since Yana wants Rae dead but needs her alive as bait as long as Mercer is a threat.
  • Pstandard Psychic Pstance: Averted; all of the characters are able to use their powers without fanfare.
  • Psychic Static: Rae has a harder time getting thoughts from older fingerprints, since they tend to be smudged or covered in dust. Rae also can't get any thoughts off the fingerprints of her nemesis, who is a more powerful psychic.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Aiden Matthews.
  • The Reveal: Book 6, "Revelations", appropriately enough.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Yana.
  • Romantic False Lead: Marcus
  • Shadow Archetype: In the seventh book, Rae spends a lot of time thinking about how easily she could have turned out like Yana.
  • Show Some Leg: When fake IDs fail, Yana uses this to gets Rae and Anthony into a bar.
  • Sins of Our Fathers: Rae hasn't done anything wrong, but her mother is already dead and she's the next best thing when it comes to getting revenge.
  • Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Mandy calls for Rae's help in breaking up her sister's wedding. This is a good thing, honest.
  • Stepford Smiler: Jackie
  • Super Serum: The power-amplifying N-Tetran. The earlier formulas may have been more along the lines of Psycho Serum, given the effect they had on Sam.
  • Supernatural-Proof Father: Rae's father never does learn about her psychic powers.
  • Superpower Lottery: Which Rae lost, big-time.
  • Superpowerful Genetics: All members of the Group passed psychic powers to their children, though there seems to be no correlation between the exact types of powers.
  • Synchronization: When Rae touches fingertips with a drugged person, she hallucinates. When she touches fingertips with an unconscious person, she falls unconscious. When she touches fingertips with a dead person... well, that's really not such a good idea.
  • Troubled, but Cute: Anthony.
  • Villainous Lineage: A major fear of Rae's, because she thinks her mother was a murderer.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Steve Mercer.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Rae's power of fingerprint-reading is pretty much the weakest of the lot, though she does find clever ways to make use of it. Lampshaded in book 6 when she tries to fight a psychic with a much stronger ability, who laughs at the uselesness of Rae's power.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Rae calls Anthony out before he can do much damage when he goes back on pot and joins some Delinquents for a robbery.
    • All the main characters have times like this throughout the series, mostly due to Poor Communication Kills, but also because each has a Fatal Flaw that makes them come off as judgmental jerks in certain situations.