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KLIATTYou see them in any big city, usually where crowds gather. They are the artists who cloak their humanity and have perfected the art of posingaperfectlyastill. Sometimes it is almost impossible to distinguish them from the stone effigies or store mannequins they imitate. Nick stumbles upon a group of them the day he leaves home for good, deciding that living on the street is better than staying in a house with an angry stepfather and a mother who won't come between them. Needing to make a living, Nick thinks he has what it takes to be a still performer and puts together the persona of Mozart, falling in with the other buskers, including the beautiful Swan, who make a living as human statues. In their company he learns about the trade and about "The Watcher" who lurks in the shadows. Nick realizes he isn't the only one who thinks he has extraordinary talent when he is "selected" to join an elite group at a one-of-a-kind training academy. However, something sinister resides in the decaying old mansion where he, Swan, and the other "selected" performers are trained, watched and warned to have no ties whatsoever. When it becomes clear to Nick that Antonin, the master artist, has lost his mind, and that the next step in training means leaving everything behind, he decides that he and Swan must escape. Gross has created an eerie and Gothic-inspired atmosphere, perfectly suited to his unique subject, and readers will never look at human statues the same way again. KLIATT Codes: JS—Recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, Penguin, Dial Books, 224p., Ages 12 to 18.