Author: Erin Cashman
First Book (Unknown # of books)
Publisher- Holiday House Inc.
Published- April 1st, 2012
Claire Walker comes from the most famous line of the Cambial Academy school. Her great grandfather founded the school for children with genius capabilities in science and math. He also discovered some children with special powers which make the school's real intentions even more secret than it was. At Cambial there is not just math and science geniuses but people with clairvoyance, telekinesis, truth seeking, and mediums.
Claire doesn't have any powers or that's what she would like her parents to think. Her actual power is pretty lame and couldn't be taught so she just told them she didn't have the power anymore. Her power is hearing animal's thoughts. Thoughts like hungry, thirsty, and walk. One day she goes to a dance with a boy she's had a crush on forever and her friend and her boyfriend they get caught with beer in their car. She gets accused by her parents (mostly her mom) of having bad judgment calls and of drinking when she wasn't even drinking, she's never gotten in trouble before, and she's always getting top marks in her class. But it's decided. She's going to Cambial whether or not she has a real power or not. While there she finds friends and a mysterious boy in the woods. Then the exceptional students start disappearing and her ability might be the only thing that saves them.
It took me half the book to understand this cover which is ridiculous. She's hearing the thoughts of the bird! Duh. I love her hair and the style of the cover. She looks like she's from the 60's or 70's. Claire isn't very happy with her ability to hear animals. They might tell her when someone is coming but beyond that it's not a very good ability to her. I couldn't say anything bad about her. She went through things like a normal teenager would. Her mother's always on her back about everything and wants to keep an eye on her. She has the terribly invasive ability of hearing her thoughts and since she hasn't found a way to block her she's scrutinized even more. It's not like she does anything terribly wrong either. Her mom is just way too worried about her.
People welcome her right away. She befriends Winny who would be a total outcast in her old school with her super peppy and talkative attitude but fits right in her new school. At Cambial no one cares what you look like because everyone is an outcast. The "freaks" of their society. She also befriends Ally who seems sweet but mess with her and you'll be in trouble. Her brother Billy who can only move small objects no matter how hard he tries is always there for her. It's really sweet how protective he is of her and how close they are. Her sister who might become the youngest Exceptional ever is a medium, she speaks to ghosts, and boy is she ever the tattle tale at eleven years old. I imagined her much younger for some reason. She seemed more like a six year old than a eleven year old.
So what's an exceptional? An exceptional is when you are more powerful than the rest of the kids. The teachers figure this out with competitions throughout the school year and a final one towards the end. It's actually pretty cool when you read about the telekinesis competition. Clair had only one person who thought she shouldn't be here which was Jane who was the top in her field but other than that no one gave her trouble. I don't know if I would have wanted more of that conflict or not.
The mysterious boy in the woods she meets a couple of times and of course he's gorgeous. Now I understood for most of the way why she wanted to kiss him. When you have a crush and you think they like you back it's nice for that to be confirmed with a kiss and I got that even if they only met with each other four short times. BUT and I hate to say this... I didn't get in the last half why he would like her so much. Don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with Clair and her attitude. She was a great main character. It's just I didn't see his attraction to her to that extent that the book went into. So the first half felt more natural to me concerning their relationship. If they would have met more I think I would have been more okay with how things went.
The second half just didn't feel right to me. I couldn't say exactly what it was. I can only pin down the relationship with mystery boy and maybe that's what made everything seem a little bit off to me. I think it was just my state of mind because I was so captured by most of the book and I do want to read the second book. I'm looking forward to it. I couldn't tell you what it was but I still recommend reading this book and seeing for yourself how you feel about it. Many things going on and mystery of where the exceptionals were going as well as who was behind it. Claire met my expectations even more with her decisions. Her power was actually pretty cool and I'm hoping that new powers come up more than the usual ones. Other than that hiccup in the second half this book was exceptional (pun intended).