Born into a famous family of exceptionally talented people, fifteen-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. Despite her attempts to blend in, Claire stands out at Cambial simply because she is normal. But unbeknownst to her new friends, she has a powerful gift she considers too lame to admit. Suddenly, the most talented students in school the Exceptinals begin to disappear. In an attempt to find out what happened to them, Claire comes across a prophecy foretelling a mysterious girl who will use her ability to save Cambial students from a dire fate. Could she be that girl? Claire decides there is only one way to find out: she must embrace her ability once and for all.
Not Your Average Paranormal
Claire Walker is the only normal girl in a family full of exceptional people. Everyone in her family--and everyone in the school her family founded and runs--has a unique supernatural ability. Some can tell if others are telling the truth. Some can heal. Some can perform telekinesis. Some talk to ghosts. The list goes on. But Claire can't do any of that. All she can do is hear the thoughts of animals, and she's kept that a secret because it doesn't seem like a very useful skill. Until she gets caught up in a plot to destroy the school and a prophecy that seems to indicate she's the girl who can save everyone.
I liked Claire. She's brave and she also sounds like a teenage girl--concerned about boys and her friends. She has a conflicted relationship with her mom, and that rang very true as well. I also liked the characters around her. They all have distinct voices and personalities and contributed well to the overall conflict.
This book feels like a YA younger readers would enjoy. The writing is smooth and doesn't have the complexity or graphic quality some of the grittier YAs have. I was a bit put off by the fact that every teen is introduced as amazingly gorgeous, and I never really felt the warm fuzzies from the romance, but again, I think it's highly appropriate for readers who enjoy a clean book or younger readers who want to dip their toes into the YA genre. The story kept my interest and is a solid debut. I'm looking forward to the sequel.