Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Paranormal Publication.Date February 1st 2012 Pages: 236 Published By: Holiday House | Website Erin Cashman|
The Exceptionals - Goodreads My review copy: A copy of the book received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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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.(Goodreads)
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
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About the AuthorEvie 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.