Kate's Reviews > Hidden Talents

Hidden Talents by David Lubar
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Jan 20, 11

bookshelves: teen-book-club, 2011, age-ya, age-middlegrade, paranormal
Read from January 18 to 20, 2011

Martin has just been sent to the Edgeview Alternative School for kids who have gotten expelled from everywhere else. Martin's major problem is that he just can't stop himself from saying really insulting and hurtful things to people. He seems to fit right in with most of the other kids at the school - his roommate Torchie, who burns things but says he didn't; and Cheater, Flinch, Lucky, and Trash. The school bully Bloodbath just sees Martin as a new punching bag. As the weeks go by, Martin starts to notice that his new friends have some interesting talents. Martin decides he needs to prove to them that they have supernatural powers if he wants to keep Edgeview from getting shut down by the town.

Despite Martin's issues, he's a likable character. The story was told in a light tone, and it was clean enough for a middle school audience. I liked the pieces of writing assignments, letters, and internal memos between each chapter - they added a little more to the story (mostly the subplot of the town wanting to shut down Edgeview). Martin's relationship with his father was interesting as well, and I would have liked to see that explored more. As a book club activity I'm planning on doing some experiments with Zenner cards like they did in the book.

One thing I did not like was the principal's use of electroshock treatment on Martin - having worked in residential treatment, I know this kind of thing is used but there are a lot of safeguards in place to protect the kids. All Martin would have had to do was tell his parents about it and there would have been a lawsuit.
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