The Exceptionals by Erin Cashman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Goodreads: 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.
My thoughts: The theme is somewhat common; regular girl becomes heroine because of her supernatural talents which seemed small at first. The school is interesting in that it caters to students who have begun to develop a supernatural gift. I liked the explanation and development of the students and their gifts. Yes, it can be genetic, but really the talents are a result of students using different regions of their brains then developing it with practice. Claire's talent is understanding animals. This is unique as nobody else can do it but there are also prophesies about her. That was interesting. Then it kind of went downhill for me.
The story and character development was adequate although I never really cared much about any of the characters. Still, it was a good introduction to them. When the conflict went into affect and the action started, I lost interest. It seemed very contrived and not as well thought out as the beginning of the book. For instance, when an idea occurred to one of the characters a dialogue ensues like this: "But wouldn't Mom or Dad have mentioned it to us?"
"I just remembered! Dad did mention something last week..."
I am not a writer so take my thoughts with a grain of salt but it seemed like the story should have introduced this information in a previous and unrelated discussion to give the reader clues and some predictability. Same with the secret room in the house and tunnel. They find themselves in a pickle but quickly remember how to access a secret bomb shelter that the reader didn't know about. It was a good solution but seemed random.
The story has merit and promise. Enough of the loose ends are tied up at the end to satisfy me but clearly there are others that need to be addressed in a sequel. It is a pleasant enough read and I believe the author is one to watch in the future as her skills develop. This particular book had its flaws but not enough to detract from an enjoyable story. But for me it was somewhat forgettable.
*I received a free copy of this book from publishing company in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.