The Exceptionals

The Exceptionals

4.9 18
by Erin Cashman, Madeleine Lambert

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In a famous family of exceptionally talented people, fifteen-year-old Claire Walker is ordinary...or so she leads everyone to believe. Yet the minute she steps out of line, her parents transfer her to Cambial Academy: the prestigious boarding school that her great–grandfather founded for students with supernatural abilities, or "specials." Although Claire can… See more details below


In a famous family of exceptionally talented people, fifteen-year-old Claire Walker is ordinary...or so she leads everyone to believe. Yet the minute she steps out of line, her parents transfer her to Cambial Academy: the prestigious boarding school that her great–grandfather founded for students with supernatural abilities, or "specials." Although Claire can't see ghosts or move objects with her mind like the other students, she does have a special she considers too lame to admit. Just as she is settling in, one by one the most talented students—the Exceptionals—go missing. In an attempt to find out what happened to them, Claire uncovers a dark prophecy foretelling a mysterious girl who will use her ability to save Cambial students from a dire fate. Could she be that girl? Does the gorgeous but secretive boy she meets in the woods know more than he's letting on? After years of ignoring her special, Claire decides the time has come to embrace her ability...before it's too late.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The long shadow of Harry Potter looms over Cashman’s debut, a fantasy novel set at Cambial Academy, a boarding school for “special” students who can see the future, move objects with their minds, and so on. The idyllic school has a dark past: a former teacher once tried to subvert students for maniacal schemes. Fifteen-year-old protagonist Claire Walker presents herself as an ordinary girl at a school of freaks, but it’s a lie. Claire understands animals’ thoughts; she just won’t admit it. While other students work on honing their “specials,” Claire wanders in the woods, meeting a mysterious guy named Dylan who questions her relentlessly, but slips away before anyone else sees him. When the school’s top students begin disappearing, the pressure is on Claire to master her repressed “special” and discover the truth about Dylan. It’s a pleasant read, and while too much derives from the Potter universe and superhero teams like the X-Men, Cashman knows how to craft natural dialogue and empathetic characters. Ages 12�up. Agent: Erica Spellman-Silverman, Trident Media Group. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Shirley Nelson
Claire thinks her world is ending the night of the prom when she and her friends are arrested for having alcohol in the car. Although she swears she was not drinking, her parents take her out of Lakeville High School and send her to Cambial Academy where they are headmasters. Her brother and sister go to school there, but like the others students, they have special powers. Claire's only special ability is understanding what animals are thinking, but she has long pretended she did not have a special ability because she thinks hers is worthless. She hates the thought of attending Cambial, but soon begins to fit in with the others. She even meets Dylan, a very handsome young man she sees in the forest. Then gifted students begin to disappear. Her parents are acting mysteriously and leave on a top secret mission. Could Dylan have something to do with the disappearances? Claire soon learns of a prophecy that a girl who communicates with animals saves the school from those who want to destroy it. She is successful but dies in the process. Could Claire be that girl? If so, does she have the courage to save her family and friends? Reviewer: Shirley Nelson
Library Journal - Audio
As up to roughly 16 or so may enjoy this, but it's too simplistic and obvious for older teens. Public libraries that are substituting for school libraries will probably want it because it has a strong female heroine, almost superhero-ish, who saves the day.—Jodi L. Israel, MLS, Birmingham, AL
School Library Journal
Gr 7�10—Fifteen-year-old Claire Walker comes from a long line of exceptional people: mind readers, clairvoyants, mediums, telepaths, and mathematical geniuses. Unfortunately her special talent, hearing the thoughts of animals, doesn't rate quite highly enough to earn her entrance into Cambial Academy, a school for exceptionally talented young people that her great-grandfather founded, her siblings attend, and where the family lives since both her parents work there. However, when a disciplinary infraction forces Claire's parents to enroll her in the Academy, a series of mysterious disappearances sets off a chain of destruction long foretold in the visions of the clairvoyants. Claire must use her exceptional skill to discover the missing students and save her school, her family, and her home. Debut novelist Cashman delivers an engaging, exciting twist on the school story, introducing readers to a whole new set of supernatural skills and adventures. With its varied and intriguing cast of characters, The Exceptionals will appeal to a wide range of readers, all of whom will be eager to see if there will be forthcoming adventures at Cambial Academy.—Sara Saxton, Wasilla Meta-Rose Public Library, Wasilla, AK
Kirkus Reviews
Mysterious goings-on at a boarding school for paranormally talented students feel very, very familiar. Alone in her family, Claire is unexceptional. While Claire has attended the public high school, telekinetic brother Billy and medium sister Charlotte go to Cambial, a boarding school for children with paranormal abilities, and her parents (father: code breaker; mother: truth seeker) are administrators there. A night of partying gone wrong finds her enrolled at Cambial. She quickly settles in with teachers and students, most agreeable, some not. But it turns out she is exceptional after all: She can hear animals' thoughts. While secretly practicing in the woods, she encounters Dylan, a mysterious and "exceptionally handsome" young man with "long, dark eyelashes framing beautiful green eyes." Even as the students prep for the annual telekinesis tournament, some of their most talented begin to disappear. It appears an enemy of Cambial is not dead but instead determined to bring it down. It will take a Chosen One to thwart him. Well-worn characters and plot churn their way toward a climax with the deranged villain, who explains his entire plot to the gathered protagonists. Readers will likely find Claire's embarrassingly instantaneous attraction to Dylan both stupid and distasteful. Claire's entertaining exchanges with a campus cat stand out as fresh and enjoyable; the rest is painfully derivative. (Paranormal romance/mystery. 11-15)

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Product Details

Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 5.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

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