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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
"Another stupid day at the bottom of the pit where the driverless bus was heading." — from The Other Ones
Do you ever wish you could just will things to be the way you wanted them to be? Heal an injury with a thought, or repel a bully with a glance? Fifteen-year-old Bridget Raynes can do all sort of things that other people can't, but she chooses not to. Because as helpful as it might be to use her special powers, who wants to be different? Life in high school is hard enough!
But when a new girl named Althea Peale joins her class, Bridget's days of denying her powers are numbered. The Other Ones opens with a description of Althea's initial impact on Bridget: "I was the first one who saw her," Bridget narrates. "I didn't hear the door to the English class open, and she stood so still that she didn't even seem to be breathing. I caught my breath, too, and it was as if I had sudden knowledge of a strange place I'd never imagined. I gripped my hands together so hard that they hurt." Immediately, everyone recognizes that Althea Peale is different. Her long hair is somehow strange; she wears the same beige, flowing clothes every day; and she seems impervious to the taunting of her cruel classmates. But most unusual of all, Bridget finds that with Althea, her usual ability to read thoughts is completely blocked.
But Bridget has other things to worry about. Her classmate Jordan, a handsome, fragile boy, has apparently been abandoned by his father. As her concern for Jordan grows, Bridget turns to her parents for help, only to be met withcompleteindifference. Her parents have the same 'turn the other cheek' attitude to Bridget's problems at school, which include her hostile English teacher, Mrs. Munson, and a violent classmate called Bone.
Bridget does, however, finds solace in her quirky Aunt Cait, a witch who encourages Bridget to cultivate her powers despite her mother's vehement disapproval. "Most of the time I felt as if I were on a speeding bus that didn't have a driver. If I hadn't had Aunt Cait, I wouldn't have known what to do. I could tell her what I thought about anything and not worry about ridicule or blame. Unfortunately, our friendship was one of the things that drove my mother crazy." Also urging Bridget not to turn her back on her gift is her other-worldly guardian named xiii (pronounced Shhhh), who warns her to accept her supernatural skills before disaster strikes. "You should be careful these days. How many times must I tell you that trouble's coming. Trouble is coming! You'd know that yourself if you weren't stubborn and stupid." Exasperated by Bridget's reluctance to claim her powers, xiii can only utter vague clues and warnings about the danger lurking behind the seemingly small problems that bubble around her.
As her world grows increasingly chaotic and perplexing, Bridget realizes that it is only a matter of time before she will have to heed the advice of xiii and accept her true nature — before it's too late. But if she embraces her powers in order to help her friends, will she permanently forfeit her chance to be "normal"?
Enchanting and uniquely imaginative, The Other Ones celebrates the virtue of being true to one's own self — and the rewards awaiting those who are not part of a crowd, but instead among the "other ones."