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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Exceptionals by Erin Cashman (Review + Giveaway)

Genre:Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Paranormal
Publication.Date  February 1st 2012
Published By:  Holiday House | 
WebsiteErin Cashman

The Exceptionals - Goodreads
My review copy:A copy of the book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Where to get:

Born into a famous family of exceptionally talented people, 15-year-old Claire Walker has deliberately chosen to live an average life. But everything changes the night of the Spring Fling, when her parents decide it's high time she transferred to Cambial Academy--the prestigious boarding school that her great-grandfather founded for students with supernatural abilities.

They say your life flashes before your eyes when you are about to die. Mine didn't - well, not exactly, anyway. My story played out in my head, at least the part that led me to where I am now, lying peacefully on the forest floor.
Suddenly, I felt like I was on a roller coaster flying at a break-neck seed, and I'd left my stomach behind me. 
What's my special? I can hear animals talk. Actually talk is too grand a word. I can hear their thoughts - usually thirsty, hungry, tired, frightened - but I can't communicate with them.

     Featuring cool superpowers and extraordinary abilities, secrets, prophecies and dangerous quests, The Exceptionals is a greatly enjoyable and thoroughly captivating novel. It's well-written and emotionally engaging. Fast moving. Fresh. Most of all, though, it's just insanely entertaining and fun to read. Erin Cashman is an exciting new voice and she delivers a fantastic YA paranormal debut, and one that is sure to satisfy your craving for action and adventure

     Fifteen-year-old Claire comes from a family of talented people, and by talented I mean people with special abilities, not just someone who is good at playing flute or draws beautiful pictures. Her mom is a truth seeker, she can tell what you're thinking almost as if she was reading your mind like an open book. Her dad is a brilliant mathematician and a code breaker, and he can count and code faster than any computer. Her brother, Billy, is telekinetic, albeit not a very talented one (he can only move small objects), and her sister, Charlotte, can communicate with the dead. Claire's parents run the Cambial Academy, a school that helps people with "talents" develop and strengthen their abilities, and when Claire gets into trouble with her high school friends, they make the decision to transfer her there (just to keep an eye on her at all times). Claire, too, has a special ability, though she isn't at all proud of it. She can hear the thoughts of animals. The problem is.. animals don't talk too much, it's mostly "hungry" or "thirsty" all the time, and Claire is too embarrassed by her useless talent to even admit to having it. She keeps it a secret. After all, how could she  even think about competing with the most talented students at Cambial, the Exceptionals? It isn't until the Exceptionals start disappearing, one by one, and she learns about an old prophecy (involving her and her unique ability), that she realizes that her talent isn't as useless as she originally assumed and the safety of the entire school lays in her hands. Can she embrace her ability in time to save everyone? 

     What I love the most about this book is its extreme readability and undeniable charm. This story flows effortlessly, its swiftly moving plot and likeable characters ensure you won't be able to put it down until you turn the last page. It's a quick and easy read, a great little book that could be enjoyed on the beach, in your backyard, or while you're travelling somewhere. It's not a demanding read per se, but it's not a meaningless one, either. There are some parts of this book that are cute and funny, but you'll also be able to find some meaningful messages within its pages. The Exceptionals is a magical coming of age story and it tells you how important it is to believe in yourself, never give up on your dreams, and keep on trying. It's definitely a great story for younger teenagers, but also a really cool read for adults. In other words, it's a fantastic, engaging and positively energetic novel that can be enjoyed by just about anyone. 

     The main character was likeable enough, though I can't say that I connected with her on a more personal level. She was a nice girl, a little bit shy and insecure, but overall sweet and caring. I thought she was too naive at times, but then again, I don't think I was any different at her age. It took her a while to figure out what was going on, but once she made up her mind to try and develop her ability, she achieved it in a blink of an eye, and while I appreciated the character growth, I also thought it would have been nice to see her practice and struggle with embracing her talent for just a little bit - it would have been more believable. These are all minor issues, though, and they're easily overlooked. Other than that I had a great time reading about Claire's adventures, her conversations with animals, and her quest to save her parents and new friends. I especially loved Claire's failed attempts to communicate with her dog and Principal Grogan's cat. These were some funny moments and I laughed out loud a couple of times. 

     Overall, The Exceptionals is a great new addition to the genre and I'm happy I got a chance to read it. The story ended on a bitter-sweet note, which leads to me to believe there might be a sequel coming on the way, and I really hope there is one, as I would love to spend some more time in the beautifully imagined world of Exceptionals. Erin Cashman is a promising new talent and I can't wait to see what else she has in store for us.


Holiday House has generously provided one beautiful hard cover copy of The Exceptionals to give away to one lucky US/Canadian reader!

Ends: August 17th
Enter via Rafflecopter below!

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About the Author
Evie is the Blogger behind Bookish. She enjoys reading many different genres, especially YA, Paranormal, Contemporary Fiction and Fantasy.
She loves talking to authors and is always happy to welcome them for interviews, and guest posts. She also likes spreading the love for awesome books and  chatting with fellow book-worms.
You can find Evie here: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Shelfari | The Library Thing


Caitlin said...

Boarding school for kids with powers is my kryptonite. I will read them all!

Must have this book. Thanks for bringing it to my attention Evie!!!

Erin Cashman said...

Thank you so much for reviewing The Exceptionals Evie. I am thrilled that you enjoyed it so much! I'm glad you laughed during the scenes with Tabby and Darwin. They were so much fun to write!

Tiffany Mahaffy said...

Bitter-sweet ending... Ya I am a total sucker for them even if they do drive me nuts lol Great review <3 I am totally looking forward to getting my hands on this one now!

C.J. Listro said...

Hey there! I found your blog through Doodle and it's really nice! I love how you break things down into blurbs and quotes. It's really easy to get a good feel of the book. The Exceptionals sounds awesome. I love sort of old-school paranormal books that have a ghost-story feel, even without ghosts. Maybe it's the cover, but that's the atmosphere I get from this.

Sarcasm&Lemons said...

This book sounds interesting! I love that she can hear what animals think ... I'm eager to give it a try!

Megan said...

This one sounds awesome! I can't wait to give it a try!

Gale Nelson said...

thank you for the chance to win this book it sounds like a great read.

starryblue said...

Claire's father has some amazing abilities.

aatweens said...

This book sounds like a fun and thrilling read that would help me wind down and relax. Erin sounds to be a very excellent author and I can't wait to read her books! Thanks for the giveaway and this very interesting review.

Julie Reece said...

This book sounds great! Thanks for the chance to win :)

Amy said...

I haven't heard of this one before, but it sounds really awesome!! Thanks for the fantastic review!! I love books about people with special powers. :)

Bonnie said...

Ah Blogger attacked my comment :( Anyways basically what I was saying is that this sounds like a super fun read... Kind of like X-Men for jrs. (at least the boarding school aspect of it). I think it would have me a little more excited if the characters were super engaging (you know I'm a sucker for a strong character) but it still sounds like a great read none the less!

Thanks for your thoughtful review and of course for the giveaway Evie! <3

Nicole said...

Great review! The main character being able to read the thoguhts of animals reminds me of Todd in The Knife of Never Letting Go! This book sounds really interesting.

Jessica said...

This looks like a great book. I have not heard about it before your review. Thank you for the information and the great giveaway.

Holly said...

This is the first that I've heard of this. It sounds really good! Definitely adding it to my TBR list!

Christine said...

I've read a lot of books with this premise before, but it still sounds like it might be something a little different, so I'll be sure to give it a try! Thanks for the giveaway :)

Tore said...

Thanks for the giveaway. I would love to read this book. It sounds good.

Erica Coslop said...

I was on the fence about this book since discovering it on Goodreads because the blurb doesn't entail too much. I'm definitely looking to read it now! And thanks for the giveaway ^_^

Holly Bryan said...

Great review, thanks! I had not heard of this book but saw the title of your blog post in my RSS feed and jumped on it! I love a good fantasy and it sounds like you really enjoyed the author's world-building. Yay! Another one to add to the TBR pile!(though I probably shouldn't be *cheering* about adding to that pile since it's about as tall as the Empire State Building...)

Molli @ Once Upon a Prologue said...

Wow, you've made me really interested in this one, Evie! I like that you described it as a coming of age story. Before, I didn't really want to read this - there's just TOO many books coming out - but now I do. Thanks for the honest and awesome review, and for the chance to win!

Mom Blogger said...

I also had a chance to review this great book. Glad to see we both liked it - It kept my interest and had some surprising twists.

Jaime Lester said...

I have seen this at the library for the past few months, but I have passed it right by. I am not even sure why, because it is normally the type of story that I would jump on. Now that I have read your review, my first for this book, I think I might pick it up next time I hit the library. It sounds like it could be a great read for me. Thanks for the review!

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