Saturday, May 19, 2007

Book Review - Hidden Talents

I received David Lubar's young adult novel Hidden Talents as a gift and my first impression was a little doubtful. However, from the first line, Lubar's quirky first person narrative grabbed me and wouldn't let go.

The novel revolves around a troubled 13-year-old boy named Martin (the narrator), who, after getting kicked out of every other school, ends up at Edgeview. Now, Edgeview is one of those places where they send troubled boys to rot - a place right above juvie hall, but Martin quickly finds things that he likes about the place. The biggest thing is his group of friends who he discovers have superpowers (creating fire, reading minds, telekinesis, and so on). These friends are rejects like him, so when the school is threatened with a shut down, they band together to stop it.

I have been a superhero comic fan for years, but I had never read a novel that handled superpowers as well as I would have liked them to (if you have some recommendations, pass them my way).

Hidden Talents on the other hand, handles the powers well, by keeping them understated. There are no huge super battles or looming world shattering destinies here, just some boys using what they have to keep their school open. Lubar does a wonderful job of keeping the story low key, and you feel like a member of the gang as Martin tells you of their exploits.

The one problem I had with the work is that it seemed like Martin moved toward his theory of super powers too quickly. Though I wanted more insight into the process of his discovery, the work as a whole moved on well and kept me interested even after my disbelief at Martin's initial claims.

I recommend this book to people of all ages, and right now Amazon has it for 3 bucks. I just bought my nephew one for his birthday. The sequel, TrueTalents is also out now in hard cover, though I have yet had a chance to read it.

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