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by Erin Cashman

Age Range: 11 - 15

Pub Date: April 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2335-4
Publisher: Holiday House

Mysterious goings-on at a boarding school for paranormally talented students feel very, very familiar.

Alone in her family, Claire is unexceptional. While Claire has attended the public high school, telekinetic brother Billy and medium sister Charlotte go to Cambial, a boarding school for children with paranormal abilities, and her parents (father: code breaker; mother: truth seeker) are administrators there. A night of partying gone wrong finds her enrolled at Cambial. She quickly settles in with teachers and students, most agreeable, some not. But it turns out she is exceptional after all: She can hear animals' thoughts. While secretly practicing in the woods, she encounters Dylan, a mysterious and "exceptionally handsome" young man with "long, dark eyelashes framing beautiful green eyes." Even as the students prep for the annual telekinesis tournament, some of their most talented begin to disappear. It appears an enemy of Cambial is not dead but instead determined to bring it down. It will take a Chosen One to thwart him. Well-worn characters and plot churn their way toward a climax with the deranged villain, who explains his entire plot to the gathered protagonists. Readers will likely find Claire's embarrassingly instantaneous attraction to Dylan both stupid and distasteful.

Claire's entertaining exchanges with a campus cat stand out as fresh and enjoyable; the rest is painfully derivative. (Paranormal romance/mystery. 11-15)