Young psychics learn to harness their powers at an elite Bay Area school in this first of a series.
Teddy Cannon feels like a born misfit. Single, kicked out of Stanford, and still living with her adopted parents, Teddy’s only real talent is gambling. In fact, she’s so good she’s banned from every casino on the Vegas strip. She’s not a cheater—she’s just gifted at reading people, and she can’t resist the challenge, even when it gets her into trouble. One evening at the casino, she's approached by Clint Corbett, a retired cop who urges her to leave her life behind to study at Whitfield Institute for Law Enforcement Training and Development. He explains that her gift for gambling is actually a manifestation of her psychic abilities and that Whitfield will teach her to use those skills in the service of elite government organizations. Skeptical but eager for a chance to start over, Teddy heads to San Francisco, where she meets a motley crew of 20-somethings whose gifts range from pyrokinesis to communicating with animals. Though Teddy’s abilities are slow to blossom, when they do, they astonish not only her fellow psychics, but the instructors, too, who are eager to train her. But, as Teddy soon discovers, she may need her powers much sooner than anyone expected. Archer attempts to mix an origin story that will feel familiar to fans of X-Men or Harry Potter with a cast of millennials, but the novel reads like it’s written about teens for teens. From the boarding school antics to the characters’ immaturity, Whitfield feels more convincing as a high school for wayward adolescents than as a training ground for top-tier operatives.
Implausible characters cast a shadow over a promising premise.