Hidden Talents [NOOK Book]


American Library Association “Best Books for Young Adults”
American Library Association “Quick Picks for Young Adults”

Martin Anderson and his friends don’t like being called losers. But they’ve been called that for so long even they ...
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Hidden Talents

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American Library Association “Best Books for Young Adults”
American Library Association “Quick Picks for Young Adults”

Martin Anderson and his friends don’t like being called losers. But they’ve been called that for so long even they start to believe it. Until Martin makes an incredible discovery: each of his friends has a special hidden talent.

Edgeview Alternative School was supposed to be end of the road. But for Martin and his friends, it just might be a new beginning.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.

When thirteen-year-old Martin arrives at an alternative school for misfits and problem students, he falls in with a group of boys with psychic powers and discovers something surprising about himself.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
After being expelled from any number of schools, 13-year-old Martin winds up at Edgeview, a publicly funded boarding school and a last-chance alternative. Martin, who narrates, doesn't seem like a delinquent, but he just can't stop himself from taunting his teachers. By the end of his first day he has infuriated the whole staff. Of the kids, Bloodbath is a terror, as are his cronies, but Martin's roommate, "Torchie," is nice enough, although he constantly denies starting the fires that flare up wherever he goes. The other boys Martin gets to know similarly refuse to own up to the particular behavior that landed them at Edgeview. Readers expecting a typical resolution, wherein the boys accept responsibility for their misdeeds, are in for a surprise. Martin's buddies aren't liars and troublemakers at all; unbeknownst even to themselves, they're endowed with paranormal powers: Cheater is telepathic, Trash is telekinetic, Flinch is clairvoyant, etc. Led by Martin, who finally discovers his own hidden talent, the six use their abilities to save Edgeview from Bloodbath and his gang's attempts to sabotage a state inspection. The stakes are a little suspect would these boys really develop such passionate school spirit?, but on the whole Lubar Kidzilla serves up great fun, along with an insight or two for those whose powers are only too human. Ages 12-up. June Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Martin has a bit of difficulty respecting authority, so much so that the court sends him to the Edgeview Alternative School, a place full of teenage misfits wreaking havoc among themselves. There is only one chance to get out, to get sent back home; he quickly blows that opportunity. Now he must navigate his days among such interesting personalities as Torch, Cheater, Flinch, Lucky, Trash, Lip and Bloodbath along with a peculiar menagerie of teachers. Lubar has crafted a believable tale set in a run-down school in a town where the school and its residents are not welcome. Characters are well-defined and exhibit a multitude of traits that come together in an exciting and unexpected way to unite the tempestuous rebel-rousers. As they discover their hidden talents (psychic powers) and learn to use them to their advantage, the solitary freaks become a confident and trusting group looking to a future for more than themselves. 1999, Tor Books, Ages 11 up, $16.95. Reviewer: Mary Sue Preissner
Library Journal
Gr 6-8-Edgeview Alternative School represents the end of the line for Martin Anderson. At 13, he's been kicked out of every school in his district, and feels more than a little skeptical about making a new start in this lonely, gray place. Still, he begins to establish tentative friendships with his pyromaniac roommate, Torchie, and a few of the other kids. They band together to form some small wall of protection against the school's most disturbed bully, Lester Bloodbath. Soon, Martin suspects that his friends are far more than ordinary misfits, and he confronts them with his theories about their psychic powers. His excitement in his discovery turns to disappointment when they turn against him out of fear of being labeled freaks. Fortunately, a class science experiment finally gives Martin the evidence he needs to persuade his friends of their talents. He coaches them as they learn to control their powers and leads them as they face their greatest challenge: a battle with Bloodbath that will decide the fate of the school. This plot is the stuff of most teenagers dreams-the discovery that you and your friends have superpowers. Unfortunately, the story suffers from a frustratingly slow pace and an awkward writing style that alternates between Martin's first-person narrative and letters, memos, and brief boxes of dialogue. Also, the characters lack detail and definition. Stephanie Tolan's Welcome to the Ark (Morrow, 1996) is a darker, but more satisfying tale of extrasensory abilities.-Kelly P. Kingrey, Sabine Parish Library, Many, LA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An eighth grader discovers five schoolmates with psychic powers in this amateurish effort from Lubar. Martin, who was expelled from every other junior high in six counties for mouthing off, is consigned to prison-like Edgeview Alternative School, along with other violent or nerdy teens deemed hopeless misfits. While trying to avoid both the ready fists of hulking bully Lester Bloodbath and the shock therapy meted out by Principal Davis, he meets Torchy, who can start fires without matches or lighters, Cheater Woo, whose test answers are always identical to someone else's, and several others with odd, unconscious talents. Interspersing Martin's tediously self-analytical narrative with flat attempts at humor, trite student essays, repetitive memos to faculty, and mawkish letters from home, Lugar draws the tale to a paradoxical climax in which the self-styled "psi five" scuttle Bloodbath's plot to close the school down, but then do their best to earn releases. After realizing that he is psychic, able to read people's deepest fears and hopes, Martin abruptly acquires a sense of responsibility and resolves never to abuse his talent. Padded with aimless subplots and earnest efforts to drum up sympathy for the one-dimensional cast's brutal bullies and ineffectual teachers, this contrived story is a weak alternative to Stephanie Tolan's Welcome to the Ark (1996) or Willo Davis Roberts's The Girl with the Silver Eyes (1980). (Fiction. 12-15)
From the Publisher
"Lubar's first novel is wondrously surprising, playful, and heartwarming. A promising new author."—VOYA (5Q 4P)

"A good bet for readers who like offbeat fiction. The dialogue is right on target with plenty of humor."—Booklist

"Sure to be popular."—Kliatt

"Lubar serves up great fun, along with an insight or two for those whose powers are only too human."—Publishers Weekly

"I have never had a class so completely mesmerized by a book. The characters are witty, intelligent, genuine, and enchanting."—Mia Moen, 4th Grade Teacher Columbia Elementary School Annandale, Virginia.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429963237
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 2/6/2007
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 122,263
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

David Lubar

David Lubar is the author of True Talents, the sequel to Hidden Talents; Flip, an ALA Best Book for Young Adults and a VOYA Best Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror selection; five short story collections: In the Land of the Lawn Weenies, Invasion of the Road Weenies, The Curse of the Campfire Weenies, The Battle of the Red Hot Pepper Weenies, and Attack of the Vampire Weenies; and the Nathan Abercrombie, Accidental Zombie series. Lubar grew up in Morristown, New Jersey, and he has also lived in New Brunswick, Edison and Piscataway, NJ, and Sacramento, CA. Besides writing, he has also worked as a video game programmer and designer. He now lives in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
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Read an Excerpt

AII I needed was handcuffs. If my wrists had been chained to the seat, the scene could have been taken straight from one of those movies where they show the bus bringing the new guy to the prison. Of course, there wasn't any need for cuffs on this ride. Fill my pockets with rocks, add a couple more layers of winter clothes--wet winter clothes--and I might push the scale up toward ninety pounds.
The bus driver looked like he weighed three times that much. His wrists were thicker than my neck. He could probably crumple me up like a used tissue and still keep one hand on the steering wheel. No way I was going to cause him any trouble.
So I wasn't in cuffs--but the rest of it felt a lot like going to prison. I was the only passenger on the bus. After a long ride across three counties, we'd reached the main gate at Edgeview Alternative School. A guard out front holding a clipboard waved us inside, then talked with the bus driver for a minute. The two of them reminded me of a pair of dogs who stop for a quick sniff as they pass each other on their way to important doggy missions. I smiled at the thought of the driver wriggling around on his back in the grass.
Once the driver and the guard finished yapping, we rolled through the yard. The building even looked kind of like a prison--big, cold, gray stone, all wrapped up with a high brick fence. Edgeview was the sort of place where people kept broken machines, old tires, and other stuff they didn't need. Yeah, this was a place for things nobody wanted. End of the trip. End of the line. No way I could pretend it wasn't happening.
As the bus stopped near the front door of the building, J noticed all the windows had that dead look of glass filled with wire--the type of windows they use in a gym or a warehouse. A man slipped out from behind the door and walked stiffly down the steps. I got the feeling he'd been watching from inside for the bus to show up so he wouldn't seem like he was waiting. At first, I thought he was real old. As he got closer, I realized he wasn't that much older than my parents--he just moved like he was ancient He was wearing a dark suit with a bow tie. I never trusted anyone with a bow tie. I didn't trust anyone without a bow tie, either, but I especially didn't trust people who wore them.
The driver leaned over and pulled the handle, thrusting open the bus door. Then he glanced back at me. "Last stop, kid. Everyone out." He laughed. The big, stupid hunk of meat laughed like that was the funniest joke in the world.
I got up. My whole body made little cracking sounds as I straightened out. My spine was having its own Fourth of July celebration, six months late. Thanks to all the construction on the highway, the ride here had taken two hours. That wasn't counting the half-hour trip to the city to meet the bus. Me and Dad. What fun that was. Dad didn't say a word when he handed me over to the driver. He just gave me that where-have-I-failed? look. I didn't say anything, either. I just gave him my how-would-I-know? look. He couldn't wait to get out of there.
"Come on, kid," the driver said. "I ain't got all day."
I grabbed my bag out of the overhead rack and scooped up my jacket from the seat. Mom would have made me wear the jacket. Probably a dorky scarf, too. But it wasn't all that cold for the beginning of January, and Mom wasn't around.
"Move it, kid."
I took my time strolling down the aisle.
"Have a nice life," the driver said as I walked past him. He laughed again, wheezing like a donkey with asthma.
"Have a heart attack," I said. Then I hopped to the ground before he could grab me.
Behind my back, 1 heard the door slam hard, cutting off the stream of swear words the driver was spewing at me. Some people sure are touchy.
I looked at the stiff little man with the bow tie.
"Hello, Martin," he said, smiling the sort of smile that doesn't mean anything. "I'm Principal Davis. Welcome to Edgeview."
I had no idea what he expected me to say. Gee, nice place you have here, thanks for inviting me. I waited. He didn't seem like the sort of person who would run out of words, I'm sure he had all sorts of wisdom to share with me. I hadn't met an adult yet who didn't have essential advice to pass along.
"Well, you have a bit of settling in to do. We'd better get started." He creaked his way up the steps toward the front door, muttering the basic facts of my life as if to prove he knew and cared. "Martin Anderson, age thirteen, grade eight, hometown is Spencer, recently expelled from Spencer Heights Middle School. Previously expelled from Upper Spencer Junior High, expelled before that from…"
I tuned him out. To my right, the bus rolled out through the gate and rumbled down the road, carrying the driver back to the free world. I followed Principal Davis inside the building. The entrance was dark, barely lit by two weak bulbs that hung from the ceiling on frayed cords. The air hung down over me, too. Warm and heavy air. I felt like I was breathing soup.
We climbed a steep flight of stairs to the left of the front door. The steps ended in the middle of a long hallway. Something that might have been a carpet a million footsteps ago clung to the floor. More dim bulbs made a halfhearted attempt at lighting the area, revealing walls covered with scrawled graffiti.
"I assume you understand why you are here," Principal Davis said.
"I got on the wrong bus?" I figured a very stupid question deserved an extremely stupid answer.
He ignored my guess and kept walking, leading me up a second flight of steps. The wall felt rough, and the dull green paint had flaked away in a couple of spots. The odor of old varnish on the second floor gave way to the sharper stench of unwashed clothing as I climbed higher.
I tried again. "I won a contest? I wrote the winning essay? I'm the tenth caller? I got the highest score in Final Jeopardy?" This was fun. And as long as I kept talking, I wouldn't have to think about where I was going.
"These are the living quarters," he said, still ignoring my guesses. "After you've gotten settled, I'll have someone give you a tour of the school." He stopped where he was and 1 caught up to him. Actually, I almost ran into him. His suit smelled like dusty mothballs.
"I know," I said as the perfect answer hit me. "I'm here because you need an assistant. The place is too much for you to handle by yourself. You just aren't up to the job."
Oops. That one got rid of his smile. His face turned mean and angry for an instant--the sort of meanness that needs to lash out and cause pain. I could almost hear his teeth grinding together. Unlike the smile, this was an honest expression. This was Principal Davis at his finest. If he'd been a cartoon character, steam would have shot from his nose and ears. But, like a true professional, he hid the anger quickly. "Well, now…no point standing here chattering. Let's get you--"
He never finished that sentence. From down the hall, we were interrupted by a shout: "FIRE!"
* * *
Richard Anderson: Hi. It's me. I got the kid to the bus. I stopped at the office on the way home.
Dorothy Anderson: Do you think he'll be okay?
Richard Anderson: Who knows? I hope this place does him some good. Heaven knows nothing else has worked. I'll tell you, my old man wouldn't have let me get away with anything. He'd have smacked me a couple of good ones with his belt. That always kept me in line. I don't know where the kid gets that mouth of his.
Dorothy Anderson: Martin's not that bad.
Richard Anderson: Tell that to the fast three schools he's been kicked out of. Tell that to the scout troop that threw him out. And while you're at it, try telling it to his Little League coach. You know how bad that made me look when he mouthed off to the coach?
Dorothy Anderson: It's my fault. I just know it. I saw this psychologist on a talk show, and he said--
Richard Anderson: Forget that nonsense. And don't blame yourself. Or me. It's not our fault. It's his fault. We're good parents. His sister is turning out fine. We did everything we could. Listen, want me to pick up a pizza on the way home?
Dorothy Anderson: I guess. Yeah, that would be nice.
Copyright © 1999 by David Lubar
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 57 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 57 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2008

    A review

    This book is awesome! I read it very fast because it is so good. It is an awesome book for someone like me who likes fantasy/science fiction books, especially if they have to do with superpowers or something similar. It is a great book for someone who doesn't particularly like fantasy/science fiction because it is funny and interesting. But if you don't like those sorts of books and you think they make stories boring, don't bother to read it. And I'm not going to tell what the story's about because if you want to know just look on this page.

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2006

    This book was great

    Ok I would recommend this book to almost everyone because it was great. This book is kind of Suspenseful and takes a while to get to the exciting parts, but it is really interesting in what goes on in the book. There are a lot of great parts throughout the book it is a pretty easy read through also. It is amazing how fast you actually get through this book it is like watching a movie that you really love. In this book there are five main characters and they all take part in certain objectives, each having a different talent, each talent amazingly used. Please read this book.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 8, 2009

    Hidden Talents by David Lubar

    Do you enjoy a good book that you can't put down? If so then you have to read Hidden Talents. Martin has run out of options he has been kicked out of every school around so now he has to go to the only school that will take him Edge View Junior High. That's where bad kids go and martin is not a bad kid but he knows how to get under the skin of his teachers. When he meets his new roommate named torchie who is all the time getting in trouble for starting fires. Torchie insists that he doesn't start them. He meets the bully of Edge View named Bloodbath Martin tries to stay away from him. Then Martin meets this kid nicknamed cheater because people think he cheats on everything but Cheater says that he is super smart and knows everything. He also meets Trash who throws things Lucky who steals stuff but he says he finds the stuff Flinch that is really jumpy. With all of them there he discovers that Cheater can read minds, Flinch can see into the future, Trash who has telekinesis, Torchie who can start fires with his mind, Lucky knows where hidden things are. Martin has no power till he discovers his special powers are able to hurt people with his words. All six of them are trying to stop Bloodbath from ruing inspection of edge view. This is a great book for anybody who wants to get some adventure and comedy. Read this book it was great.

    This review was by Justin Durr

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2006

    Hidden Talents

    This is an awsome book to read if your into the whole supernatural thing like me... and TRUST ME there are those with the same powers of that in the book. Anyway, if you don't enjoy a book where you cant put it down cuz u wanna find out what happens next, its not for but if u like a good book with exciting twists and interesting characters I reccomend this book to you.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Fine misadventures of youth

    When it comes to adult authority. junior high school student Martin Anderson cannot keep his mouth shut as he rejects the constant advice with smart answers and insults. He has been expelled from six schools, the boy scouts, and the little league. He rides the bus to his final destination the prison-like Edgeview Alternative School, an institution used to lock up the violent and other losers (where is Pink Floyd when you need them?) Martin realizes he must be on the cutting edge to survive the ready fists of bully Bloodbath and the shock therapy of Warden, (make that Principal) Davis. On the plus side Martin meets four fellow weirdoes with special psychic powers. Torchy lights fires without matches or lighters; Cheater copies test answers from anyone sitting anywhere; Lucky steals anything; and Trash trashes stuff. Martin believes his only power is what adults label acerbic while he would say satirical tongue. The five losers band together as Martin discovers his HIDDEN TALENTS and try to stop a plot to shut the school of last resort down. Though the climax seems out of character for the magnificent five, the Harry Potter crowd will enjoy their misadventures. The quintet is at their diabolical best when they interrelate with one another. Although much of the key secondary cast seems stereotypical, readers will enjoy sharing a pizza with Martin¿s beleaguered parents as they and the young audience will wonder what will he do or say next. Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2006

    Is there anything exciting going to happen?

    I really disliked this book because it was extremely boring. It is about this kid named Martin, who gets dumped at this school for bad kids. I mean that is as exciting as it gets. There are other kids that are at the school that becomes his friends. Martin figures out that they all have psychic powers. They didn't want to believe him. This is one of the most stupid parts. Eventually, you find out that inspectors are coming to see if the school is worth staying open. Martin and his friends try to help the school to stay open. Trust me this is one of the most horrible books I have ever read. You don't want to read this book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2006

    Hidden Talents

    Hidden Talents Hidden Talents was a good book. It has a cool twist in the book. It¿s interesting to see the world from Martins eyes. I liked how they have letters and school assignments in the book. This is an original book. I like it when Martin has a really bad day and manages to tick off every single teacher. I didn¿t like it when Martin spent almost a whole day in the library. I would suggest that you read this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2006

    Great book!

    This book was great! It had a great story line to it and even ended with a twist. It was very interesting at points but i could not put it down. The characters were my favorite part of the book. Once i learned about a new character, i immediately became attached to him. I would have to say that my favorite part of the book was the ending. It was very unpredictable. I would recomend this book to those with a great imagintation and who like to read fictional books. If this sounds like you, i would go out and buy this book right now!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2006


    I really liked this book. The writer mase it fun and exciting. It may look hard, but it's awsome. I really how it relates to my life and makes me dream. I would recomend this book to anyone.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2005


    'Hidden Talents' is an absolutely thrilling book! It is such a page turner. If you like to read exciting stories about psychic kids, I advise you to read 'Hidden Talents'.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2005

    Read This

    I thought the book was ok. It is about these kids with special powers. They are in a school to help kids with their problems. At first the kids don¿t know that they even have special powers. So they get in trouble for something they don¿t know they are doing. The worst part about the book was the ending. It ended too soon. If you like books with people having special powers then I recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2005

    A Really great book

    This book was great! I really liked all the amazing powers that the book tells about. That is why I would recommend it to anyone who wanted to read about physic powers, and how they help a bunch of kids save there school. In the book six kids team together to fight against bully's and face a bunch of commitee members who want to shut down their school. They are the only kids that can help, so they have to act fast. This book is so good. I am glad I read it and I bet you will enjoy it if it is the book you pick. It is definitely one of the best book ever

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2005

    This book is awsome!

    This is a really awsome book! If you havn't read it before then you need to! This book is about a kid named Martin that has to go a new school called Edgeview alternative school, and while he is there he has to deal with many things and finds out talents that were hidden. Find out more by reading the book! I promise you will love it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2014


    I read the book and thought it was what it says in the headline... okay. I liked how lovable the characters were, and the interactions between all of of the characters. I thought that the story, however could have been a little better. For example, when Marvin is figuring out that his friends have powers, don't just throw it on the reader and say, "Hey, we're just some people who became friends, but yet we all have powers." I just felt that the author could have done a little better with introducing them. Also, when you find out that Marvin has powers as well, I didn't like how it just felt thrown at you at the end. I would have liked to have that come sooner in the book, like maybe when he tells the group that they have powers. These are just my personal feelings, don't let these keep you from reading the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    David Lubar have a fallowing with this book. I relate to the cha

    David Lubar have a fallowing with this book. I relate to the charaters even though it's fiction to the core. Funny and witty I absolutly reconmend it to anyone who loves life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2013


    My brother is reading this he said it is a great!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2012

    A bloodbath is..

    A lot of blood such as if you cut open someones juggler... A juggler is a vein in your neck which has a lot of blood going through it

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011


    I found this book entertaining

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2011


    I think that this book is very interesting. I would certainly recommend this to a friend. I liked this book because it always left me thinking What will happen next? This book has many things but in small amounts. It has mystery, adventure, fantasy, and science fiction. This book would be great for a person that likes super hero comics but other genres too. This is a book that you can't put down after one or two chapters. It will leave you making predictions, wondering, and asking questions. I have read other books by David Lubar but one that I would really want to read is Dunk. I read a review and it sounds really good. I really like this author and I am sure that if somebody else reads this novel, they will also fall in love with this wonderful author's books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2011

    Read this book.. . NOW!!!

    I know that reading is very, very boring and that's what i think too! But this is such a good book that it makes me not want to stop and go do something else. When I read this book, i absolutely could not stop reading it! It was so suspenseful. By what I wrote you would think that i would recommend this book to everyone but I wouldn't. I think that this book is fit for a person that likes super heroes and of course super powers and fantasy. Like my cousin Andres, he is obsessed with super heroes and thing like that. Not a person who likes romance and comedy. Like my mother that is also very obsessed with soup operas. What did I like about the book? Well pretty much everything. I liked the beginning, the middle the plot, the characters, and the ending. I even liked the boring parts where pretty much nothing happens. But in this book, just when the story is getting pretty boring, something exiting happens. That's what I like about this book. Other books I might read by this author? Well I have read many by this author like for example: Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie, Punished! The Curse of the Campfire Weenies, and Invasion of the Road Weenies. If I would read another book from this author it would be Dunk. I would read this book because of its rating and the customer reviews it has. I read the review and most of them say it is good so I guess I would read that book. Over-all, this is a good book. You should read this book.. you'll thank me later.

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