The Other Ones

The Other Ones

4.4 7
by Jean Thesman

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For as long as she can remember, Bridget has been able to do things other people can't-read minds, move objects without touching them, hear the songs and stories the wind and rain tell. She has pushed her powers down for years, trying to be like her "normal" classmates. Then baffling, fragile Althea Peale comes to town, and Bridget is forced to choose. She is the

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For as long as she can remember, Bridget has been able to do things other people can't-read minds, move objects without touching them, hear the songs and stories the wind and rain tell. She has pushed her powers down for years, trying to be like her "normal" classmates. Then baffling, fragile Althea Peale comes to town, and Bridget is forced to choose. She is the only one who has the power to help Althea, or to hurt her.... "A quiet and thought-provoking coming-of-age story, delightfully flavored with touches of humor, romance, and teenage angst."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"It doesn't pay to be different. Not even a little bit." So concludes Bridget Raynes's best friend, Mitzie, after the two have made it through yet another demoralizing day of sophomore year. "Different" is something that Bridget has always been--she can move objects just by thinking about them, see the spirits of trees, even read other people's minds. But Bridget has worked hard to squelch her powers, to assure both herself and others that she's not different. Her aunt Cait, also marked by the family "gift," and Bridget's "threshold guardian", xiii (pronounced "shhh"), both try to convince her that by denying her powers, she is denying her true self. Bridget can't bring herself to believe them, even as her problems with the class bully and her wretch of a teacher mount. And when xiii and Cait tell her that by joining with the "Other Ones," the wicce or witches, she could help both her friend Jordan, who's been abandoned by his father, and the new girl in school, the mysterious and painfully different Althea, Bridget still resists. Uncharacteristically clumsy, Thesman (The Moonstones) hammers away at her "be true to yourself" theme so relentlessly and stacks the deck so obviously against any other perspective that readers are likely to grow impatient. Only the climax is truly compelling, in which the Jordan and Althea plot strands come together in an unexpected way. Unfortunately, many readers may not stay with the book long enough to experience it. Ages 10-14. (May) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
To quote KLIATT's July 1999 review of the hardcover edition: Bridget, a high school sophomore in a small town near Seattle, wants to be a normal teenager. But it's hard when you can read minds, make things move with your thoughts, and see spirits in nature—in short, when you're a witch. Bridget has been trying for years to deny her true nature, despite her kind witch aunt's coaxing. It's only when other people are in crisis—a neighboring boy is deserted by his father, a new girl in school turns out to be a falcon mourning the death of her brother—that Bridget at last accepts her powers and joins "the other ones" in order to help them. The eerie, mysterious cover of this novel matches its mood... it's a somber, spooky read that will appeal to fantasy lovers. The suspense and the well-drawn characters will keep readers turning the pages. An ALA Best Book for YAs. KLIATT Codes: J—Recommended for junior high school students. 1999, Penguin Putnam, Puffin, 184p., $5.99. Ages 13 to 15. Reviewer: Paula Rohrlick; September 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 5)
VOYA - Ruth Cox
While many teens would love to be able to move objects and read other people's minds, Bridget tries to deny her psychic abilities. She does not talk about xiii (pronounced shhh), her shape-shifting threshold guardian, or the tree spirits--but not speaking about them does not make them go away. They are a part of her. Soon, much to her dismay, Bridget must accept and use her powers or others will suffer. Bridget is a character many YA readers will relate to--a teenager afraid of who and what she is becoming. Bridget must accept that she is a witch and use her powers: to help Althea, a falcon shape-shifter, and Jordan, the boy she loves. Althea and her parents are caught in human form, trapped in darkness by their grief over the death of Althea's brother. Bridget creates the light they need to shape-shift and escape. She asks no fee for their freedom, but rather a favor. Jordan is dying, so Bridget asks them to take him "as far as the wind's gate and then let him go." Bridget lets go, too, of her fear of who and what she is. She can now see the humor in the situation when a cranky talking cat, her new familiar, arrives at her father's nursery while she is sweeping the sidewalk: "A witch and her cat and her broom." Thesman has created a quiet and thought-provoking coming-of-age story delightfully flavored with touches of humor, romance, and teenage angst. VOYA Codes: 3Q 4P M J (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9).
Children's Literature - Sharon Salluzzo
Although her Aunt Cait implores her not to turn her back on her nature, Bridget has not yet come to terms with the idea that she is a witch. During her sophomore year of high school, a variety of events come together to help her make her decision. First there is Althea, the strange new girl in the class, then the class bully goes too far, and finally Jordan becomes fatally ill after his father deserts him. Mystery and the occult merge as Bridget sorts out her inner feelings and the external events. In an interesting twist, the witches are the good people and the ordinary humans suffer from an assortment of foibles. Feelings of concern over being different from one's peers, so much on the minds of young teens, is an interestingly developed theme. Some readers may find Jordan's death, the release of his spirit, to be controversial while others will find it simply thought- provoking. Bridget's threshold guardian, Xiii, provides comic relief. Her parents are one-dimensional. This fantasy into the world of witches allows the reader to determine what it means to be human.
School Library Journal
Gr 7-9Although it is not immediately obvious, the main character of this odd novel is a witch. On the surface, Bridget is nothing more than an awkward misfit at her high school, an outsider with few friends. She is also one of the Other Ones, a circle of gentle, loving folk who possess great magical powers. The plot revolves around her struggle about whether to accept her true nature or be normal. She is watched over by a threshold guardian, a strange, cantankerous creature with an even stranger name, xiii, pronounced shhh. She also worries about her friend Jordan, who has been abandoned by his father, and a new girl at school who is taunted by her classmates and is, in fact, a shape-shifter who is really a falcon. As if all of this is not hard enough to swallow, the adults are strange as well. Bridgets Aunt Cait is a witch with two cats as familiars. Bridgets parents seem to care little for their daughter or her problems. Her English teacher and the class bully are irredeemably evil. There is excitement and suspense in the plot line, as Bridget must finally decide whether to use her powers for good or ill. However, while the story is well written, the characters remain black and white, with all of the Other Ones good and all of the other adults so reprehensible as to be unbelievable.Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In Thesman's latest story set in the Pacific Northwest, a child's stubborn efforts to suppress her witchly abilities nearly ends in tragedy. Bridget has tried hard since kindergarten to be "normal," hiding the fact that she sees and hears things others cannot. Her Aunt Cait, another witch, begs her to accept her true nature, as does xiii (pronounced "shhh"), her irascible supernatural guardian, who has also taken to uttering cryptic but increasingly urgent warnings. Thesman places her young protagonist squarely between two worlds: a nonmagical one filled with coldhearted, if not downright inimical, people, and another awhirl with spirits and wonders; as Bridget becomes violent classmate's newest victim, discovers that no one will take seriously her claim that a young neighbor has been abandoned, and learns that the odd new student Althea and her parents, werefalcons stricken with a private grief, are in danger, the pressure to intervene with magic reaches an agonizing level, released at last in a soaring climax. Once she gives in, Bridget discovers to her astonishment that she's no longer an outsider, but a welcomed new member of a loving Wiccan circle. Replete with intriguing conflicts, lightened by Bridget's wayward libido and humorously rude relationship with xiii, this tale is reminiscent of Patrice Kindl's Owl in Love (1993) for its strong casting and vivid storytelling. (Fiction. 11-15)

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Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.41(w) x 7.13(h) x 0.41(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

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