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This story of a psychically gifted eleven-year-old girl and her coming into her powers is the first in a trilogy, and much of the story, too, seems a setting-up for bigger things to come. The story has two strains: on the realistic level, Justice fiercely anticipates the Great Snake Race for which her brother Tom is organizing the neighborhood boys; she practices secretly for a bike trick she will perform for them all on the way to the snake swamp; and, it turns out, she misunderstands the terms of the race, which almost leads to her mortifying embarrassment. The other current, the supersensory one, begins with Justice's suspicion of a psychic bond between her older twin brothers, and we glimpse its nature as cruel Tom-Tom enters and controls brother Levy's mind. This is intriguing; but the sudden leap to Justice's being trained in mind power by a neighboring, adult Sensitive lands us, less seductively, in the realm of believe-it-or-not science fiction. The Sensitive's son Dorian has powers also--but his mother's suggestion that he should have intervened to save Justice's face in the snake race would seem a trivial misuse of them. In the end, the four special children--Justice, her brothers, and Dorian--sit with clasped hands as Justice explains, by mind-tracing, that "we four are the first unit," presaging a future in which everyone must be so joined. Tom of course resents Justice's newly revealed superior powers (but one feels for him for the first time when he complains, "I won't become a unit. I'll be me, alone, if I have to"). There will, it is suggested, be trouble from him and serious illness for Levy in future volumes. Perhaps now that Hamilton has assembled her unit, we can look forward to its pioneering ventures.
Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1978
ISBN: 0590362143
Page count: 282pp
Publisher: Greenwillow
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1st, 1978


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