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The Exceptionals

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  518 Ratings  ·  124 Reviews
Born into a famous family of exceptionally talented people, 15-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.

Hardcover, 236 pages
Published February 1st 2012 by Holiday House, Inc.
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Stephanie Leydon
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing

The Exceptionals is fabulous. It is that perfect mix of fantasy, romance and suspense. It’s about fifteen year old Claire Walker, a seemingly average girl born in a family of gifted people. You see, Claire’s great-grandfather, a math and science genius, founded Cambial Academy, a school for exceptional students. There are plenty of math and science geniuses there, but there are other, more unique students too – mediums, clairvoyants, teens who can practice telekinesis. All these “powers”, aren’t
Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Exceptionals is the debut novel of Erin Cashman. This is a gem of a story from start to finish, with excellent narrative flow, excitement and drama. She has managed to capture the combination of suspense, discovery, and action as well as a love interest. Her characters are all fascinating, each one with his or her own special power and the descriptions are vivid and imaginative. Claire's interaction with the animals, in particular the hawks, was especially endearing. It was a page turner as ...more
Sarah Mielke
Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing

The Exceptionals is a fabulous YA fantasy novel. It tells the story of Claire Walker, a fifteen year old girl. When she gets in a bit of trouble at high school, her parents force her to attend Cambial Academy, a boarding school founded by her great-grandfather, where both her parents teach. Claire hates Cambial, calling it a school for freaks. The reader soon discovers that Cambial is NOT a school for people with supernatural powers -- no wizards, werewolves or vampires here – but a school for p
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I wasn’t sure I was going to like this book at first, the whole communicating with animals thing sounded a bit hokey. But I heard a lot of good things about it, so I decided to give it a try. The author had me at the prologue. I was dying to know how Claire ended up dying – and why she had no regrets. I read on, and ironically, the parts of the novel with Claire and Ferana (the hawk) ended up being some of my favorite scenes. They were absolutely magical.
The best thing about the book was the ch
Kelly Ryder
Jan 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. As soon as I read the prologue I was hooked, I was dying to know how Claire ended up dying, and more interesting, why she didn't have any regrets. I am a big fan of YA fantasy, but the Exceptionals is very different. The students at Cambial Academy are Special, because they can use a greater percentage of their mind. So some are mediums, some can do telekinesis, some are math was really intriguing. I loved the setting, the writing is very descriptive so ...more
May 10, 2012 rated it liked it
The theme is somewhat common; regular girl becomes heroine because of her supernatural talents which seemed small at first. The school is interesting in that it caters to students who have begun to develop a supernatural gift. I liked the explanation and development of the students and their gifts. Yes, it can be genetic, but really the talents are a result of students using different regions of their brains then developing it with practice. Claire's talent is understanding animals. This is uniq ...more
May 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a book targeted to young adults but I must say that I found it to be very enjoyable. I am not usually one for books in this genre but something about the synopsis called to me and I decided to read it and I am very glad that I did. It's not a very long book and I don't think it took me much more than half an afternoon to breeze through it but I met a very intriguing cast of characters that I would very much like to meet up with again for another adventure.

The heroine, Claire is, she thin
Aug 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Exceptionals by Erin Cashman is a fantasy adventure for pre-teens through young adult readers. The main character, Claire Walker is an ordinary high school student at public school. Her father is a professor, and her mother is the vice-principal at Cambial Academy: a boarding school for students who have special abilities and talents. The students at Cambial do not have magical abilities, but rather exceptional and sometimes a bit paranormal qualities.

I really liked Claire, and her new frien
Ellen Sathe
Mar 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I just finished my second read of The Exceptionals, the first (hopefully of many!) titles to come from Erin Cashman. Cashman has something for every young reader here - intrigue, romance, mystery and above all, an incredibly creative and engaging narrative. As a parent of two teens, I have tried to keep up on whats out there for them to read. Cashman's entry into the genre sets a bar for others to follow.
Especially appreciated is the fact that the main character in The Exceptionals is a girl. T
Jun 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My niece Morgan (who is in grade school) sent me a copy of The Exceptionals, which she couldn't put down. I couldn't either!

Claire, the 15-year-old protagonist, is pulled out of her regular school to attend Cambrial, a school for gifted students. And we're not talking snotty prep school gifted - these kids are gifted with things like telekinesis, clairvoyance and communicating with the dead. Claire's "special" is that she can hear animals talk ' "hungry,thirsty" - but it's nothing she can prove,
Jan 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing! I just finished the advanced
copy and I couldn't put it down! The main character, Claire is such a strong female character. The twists and turns kept me guessing to the very end!
Purchased - 4 stars/5 stars

Claire Crane Walker knows she isn’t as talented as the rest of her family. Her mother is a truth seeker, her father is a math genius/code breaker, her older brother is telekinetic, and her younger sister can commune with the dead. All Claire can do is hear the thoughts of animals, a skill that makes her feel like a fraud since can’t really prove her abilities to those around her. Consequently, Claire has always resisted enrolling in Cambial, a school for the supremely
Andrea at Reading Lark
Review Posted on Reading Lark 5/20/12:

Imagine that X-Men weren't mutants, but rather humans with exceptional mental talents - add in a boarding school for the gifted and a compelling mystery - and you'd walk away with The Exceptionals. I had never heard about this book until I agreed to review it for a book tour. I didn't know what to expect since it is also by a debut author. What I found between these pages took over my mind (and weekend) like a whirlwi
Kathleen (Kat) Smith
I know most of us know who the X-men are? But what if there really was a school for gifted children, not mutants, that were "special" from others. Had unique abilities that they could work on becoming stronger at, used for good and not evil and they could attend a school designed to help them in those abilities as well as the standard high school subjects as well?

Well look no further than Cambial Academy! That's just what you will discover if you are lucky enough to be chosen to attend this scho
Ken Kugler
May 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Exceptionals, by Erin Cashman, is a fun read. Clare Walker is unusual in not be exceptional. That is because her sister, brother and parents are. That is they have special powers and all work or go to a school with others with powers. The book opens with Clare being busted for being in a car with a six pack of beer in it and even though she has not drunk any she was in the car when it was found. Her punishment is to be pulled from her old school and sent to school for exceptional with no pow ...more
Coleen (The Book Ramblings)
Aug 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magical-realism
I read this book within a day and a half because I couldn’t close it! It’s fast paced with mystery and adventure, along the way romance blooms with an unknown fate, and action hits a high nearing the closing chapters. Claire is the heroine in this novel, like most would expect, but she had help from those who came together to defeat the evil.

As I began to read, maybe midway into the book, I thought I knew the ending, which characters would be involved in such an evil plot, and how the outcome wo
Diana Renn
Jan 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful characters, suspense, and a dash of mystery, within a unique school setting: students at Cambial Academy are gifted -- some with intellectual talents, and all with "specials," unique skills that tap into different areas of the brain, such as telekinesis. Claire's "special" is the ability to hear the thoughts of animals, and I love how Cashman has Claire slowly realize her gift and learn how to tap into it, not unlike a latent talent for music or dance. A gift she once thought was usele ...more
Martina Boone
Erin's writing is beautiful and fluid, and while this sounds a bit like some other books out there, it's deeper, richer, and more finely drawn. Claire is a wonderful character and there's a bit of her in all of us: the ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances who is afraid to admit that perhaps she isn't so ordinary after all.

I adored Claire and the premise of the book. I love the setting and the way that Erin weaves everything together. Readers will eat this up like a bowlful of dessert.
Feb 24, 2012 rated it it was ok
Great concept. Weird book.

First of all, Henry is a billion times better than Dylan, because, um, WE STILL HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHO THE HECK DYLAN IS. Honestly. It was possibly the worst written teens-falling-in-love thing I've read. It was-

INSTA-LOVE. (gasp)

And it wasn't the semi-acceptable kind like, "I just absolutely knew he was perfect for me!" thing that you roll your eyes at. It was the kind that is literally "Oh, hey there! I love you 5ever now, that's longer than 4ever *giggle*." F
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2012
In The Exceptionals , Clair Walker was born into a family of exceptionally talented and well known family. Her grandfather, having founded the prominate and prestigious bording school, Cambial, for those gifted with "special" talents. She has chosen to ignore her "gift," in favor of being a normal teen, since there is no way for her to prove it, but when things go wrong the night of Spring Fling her parents make the decision to transfer her to cambial. It was refreshing to see that the students ...more
Sep 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Claire Walker was a very interesting character. She wanted to be normal and blend in with the “normal” students at her old high school, but now she just wants to learn more about herself. She is a character that learns to be confident and is also how to action. She is a rebellious character at least with her mother, not so much her father, but that made her seem more realistic and real because we are all a little rebellious. My favorite character had to Talrin though. I loved how he stayed loyal ...more
Jun 29, 2012 rated it it was ok
I really liked the beginning of this book and I was all excited to read it. But what kept me from really liking this book was some of the character's reactions. (view spoiler) The story ends just as interesting as it began which was pretty good. I just hope that if the au ...more
R.J. Gonzales
Jun 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Reviewed For: RJ Does Books!

Claire has a special ability, much like others in her family and community. However, she chooses to look the other way, wanting to live a "normal" life, and she does, up until something causes her parents to take her from that life and send her to Cambial Academy, a school for students like her to learn more about their abilities and strengthen them. When students start vanishing, Claire must tap into her powers and discover the true reason for these disappearances.

Danica Page (One Page at a Time)
This is a condensed version of my review. To see the expanded version, please visit this link.

My Overall Thoughts/Impressions: First off, let me thank Tara and Lisa for setting up the 2012 Debut Author Challenge Book Tours. Without them, I wouldn't have got to read this novel. So thanks again!

The moment I started reading this novel, I was absolutely enthralled. As soon as I read the first page, I knew that this was a book that was going to occupy my thoughts until I finished it.

I love this ge
Book Him Danno
The only reason I didn’t give this book 5 out of 5 stars is because, while I enjoyed the story, it didn’t seem so original to me.

If you like Young Adult Fiction, then this is a great book to pick up. It is a coming of age story about a girl with an unusual gift that to her, seems rather useless. She attends a school for people with special abilities but hides the fact that she even has her own "special." She is surrounded by extremely gifted friends and family who have powerful specials. But sh
Sara Strand
Jul 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
I am a big fan of books that have supernatural stuff in it, though I never would have thought so. I flew through this book within a handful of hours because this book was that good. It's obviously set up for at least a sequel, but I would love it if this became a three book series. But this is basically about a young girl who has to go to a school that she doesn't really want to go to and she doesn't really fit in. Everybody has a really cool special talent or ability, but she doesn't. She can h ...more
May 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
I know these stories tend to be a "thing" in the supernaturally, teenage-y kind of setting, but this one was really good. I think I liked it so much because it really pulled me back to the initial awesome feeling I had reading the first couple of Harry Potter books. Now, there's not any magic or wizardry, so I'm not sure why I relate them, maybe it's the telekinetic games that are played towards the end of the term as a test for the students who "specialize" in telekinesis -- it involves getting ...more
Lena Goldfinch
Fell into this book and didn't want to come back out! Claire came alive to me with a very real sounding voice. Her conflict with her mother felt authentic. Loved the school setting and the cast of characters. I especially loved Claire's connection to the hawk and all the other "specials". All the supernatural elements felt so real and fell into place so organically. Engrossing, emotional, intriguing, with just the right touch of romance. I just hope there's a sequel...? More please!
Stephanie Williams
Aug 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I am at lost for words right now, I started this book today and finished it today. Lol it was that good, I love everything about this book, well not everything Claire's parents should have explained her gift to her and had her training., but it all worked out in the end. I do wonder if they will make another book to continue the story. If you haven't read this book you should check it out.
Mar 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book is a Young Adult novel with all sorts of paranormal in it. Loved the book. It was well written and it's about a girl that has special abilities as well as her family and goes to a special school for kids that have different abilities. There's a little romance, suspense. Very good.
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Erin Cashman writes young adult fantasy novels full of danger, mystery, and romance.

UNCHARTED will be published in fall, 2018, and THE EXCEPTIONALS, a Bankstreet Best Children's Book of the Year, is available now.

She'd love to be your friend on Goodreads!