“[A] rousing mash-up of military SF thriller and paranormal adventure . . . Scarlett is a resourceful and endearing heroine.”—Publishers Weekly
What if you had a power you had to hide from everyone—until now? In this bold sci-fi action thriller, a secret training program at West Point is turning misfits into a new generation of heroes.
Scarlett Winter has always been an outsider, and not only because she’s a hardcore daredevil and born troublemaker—she has been hiding superhuman powers she doesn’t yet understand. Now she’s been recruited by a secret West Point unit for cadets with extraordinary abilities. Scarlett and her fellow students are learning to hone their skills, from telekinetic combat to running recon missions through strangers’ dreamscapes. At The Point, Scarlett discovers that she may be the most powerful cadet of all. With the power to control pure energy, she’s a human nuclear bomb—and she’s not sure she can control her powers much longer.
Even in this army of outsiders, Scarlett feels like a misfit all over again, but when a threat that endangers her fellow students arises from the school’s dark past, duty calls and Scarlett must make a choice between being herself and becoming something even greater: a hero.
Praise for The Point
“An exciting military SF adventure . . . This action-packed military thriller keeps a fast pace and will appeal to fans of X-Men’s Charles Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters and TV military series such as The Unit and SEAL Team.”—Library Journal
“A thrilling mix of SF and coming-of-age story.”—Booklist
“This ‘school for superheroes’ sci-fi action thriller moves faster than a speeding bullet.”—Kirkus Reviews
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.80(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
John Dixon’s Phoenix Island and Devil’s Pocket won back-to-back Bram Stoker Awards and inspired the CBS TV series Intelligence. A former boxer, teacher, and stonemason, Dixon lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania, with his wife, daughter, and freeloading border collie.
Read an Excerpt
“You came here as children,” keynote speaker Senator Wesley Ditko said, “but you leave here as men and women.”
Mid-May was typically beautiful in the Philadelphia suburbs, but today the sun beat down mercilessly on the 411 graduating seniors seated before the stage. Their suffering families sagged along open bleachers.
Master Sergeant Charles Winter, U.S. Army, retired, gray-haired and bespectacled, sat ramrod straight on the top bleacher, watching the proceedings with a stony face that betrayed neither pride nor impatience.
Mrs. Winter, resplendent in a bright yellow dress, moved incessantly, fanning herself with the graduation program. She shifted in her seat and whispered to her son.
Sergeant Daniel Winter, U.S. Marine Corps, sat as straight as his father but failed to replicate the man’s stoicism. He beamed, proud and relieved. His kid sister actually was going to graduate after all.
“A plane in its hangar is safe,” Senator Ditko said, and smiled down at the fidgeting seniors, pausing to make eye contact with the valedictorian: his daughter. “But planes aren’t meant to sit in hangars. Ladies and gentlemen, you are clear for takeoff. Spread your wings and fly!”
Principal Santana returned to the microphone, her face shining with perspiration, and began calling students onstage. Douglas Abbey stumbled coming up the stairs but caught himself and gave the crowd a big grin before shaking the principal’s hand and accepting his diploma.
One by one, students crossed the stage. Whatever each had been—athlete or scholar, geek or dullard, stud or square—it was over now. He or she had run the gauntlet, surviving the thirteen years of institutionalized insanity that constitute the American public school experience.
Mrs. Winter fanned her face, which grew redder with each passing minute.
Principal Santana called, “Demarcus Winslow.”
Mrs. Winter tucked the makeshift fan into her purse and grabbed the hands of her husband and son. “Here we go.”
This was it.
After all these years, all these worries—troubles at school and problems with police and endless emergency room visits in which nurses cooed over her pretty daughter, the girl with a wild streak, a daredevil who seemed to have broken every bone in her body—her baby finally was graduating.
Wild but sweet, her Scarlett. Always sweet and loving, full of kindness.
Mrs. Winter loved her husband and son, but they were cold and self-reliant, as her own father had been. Not Scarlett. Scarlett was her heart, her only warmth in the Winter household.
The long suffering was finally over. At last, a new beginning.
Principal Santana called, “Scarlett Winter.”
Mrs. Winter laughed and leaned forward, her vision blurry with tears of joy.
There was a brief pause.
From the student seating, choppy bursts of laughter rattled like sporadic gunfire.
“Scarlett Winter?” Principal Santana repeated.
No one stood. No one climbed the stairs. No one crossed the stage.
More laughter rippled through the crowd, and for a frantic second Mrs. Winter feared she might join in with a peal of hysterical laughter.
Principal Santana cleared her throat. “Jeffrey Wood.”
A blond-haired boy whooped loudly, charged up the stairs, and Frisbeed his mortarboard into the applauding crowd.
Mrs. Winter dropped her face into her hands and sobbed.
Master Sergeant Winter, his mouth a grim slash across his sunburned face, stood and nodded to his son. Together they took Mrs. Winter’s arms and helped her to her feet. If not overtly sympathetic, the men were inarguably gentle and protective. Fiercely so, even.
As the family made its slow descent, people turned to watch with sympathy, amusement, or horror. Master Sergeant Winter stared straight ahead, betraying nothing.
The eyes of the broad-shouldered Marine, however, burned with rage. Marching stiffly toward the parking lot, he growled, “Where the hell is Scarlett?”
Stretched out high atop the stone quarry cliff, loving the bright sunshine baking her bare skin, Scarlett grinned, naked save for bright blue knee socks, aviator shades, and perhaps too many scars for a girl of eighteen.
Nick, the cute, inked-up vegan she’d been hanging with lately, lay beside her. His blond dreads spilled over his tanned shoulders as he sat up and took a deep pull off the pipe.
Scarlett liked the way that sunlight twinkled on his nose ring and glistened along the light sheen of perspiration covering his lean body. They’d broken a sweat climbing the cliff and had kept it rolling with a spirited celebration at the top. Life was good.
Her phone vibrated, rattling on the rocky ground between their towels.
“Uh oh,” Nick said, smiling slyly.
Scarlett’s stomach lurched. Picturing her mother’s face, she felt a pang of guilt. She started to reach for the phone, but then she pictured her father’s face and . . .
Nick capped the bowl with the red Bic. “You going to answer it?”
She just stared, her hand hovering there. The phone stopped vibrating.
“Guess not,” Nick said, and handed her the pipe.
She sucked in a deep hit of Super Lemon Haze. It was good weed. A little tart, a little sweet, like smoking Lemonhead candy. “It’s my life, not theirs,” she said, holding the citrusy smoke. “I’m the one who has to live with my choices.”
Mom wanted her to go to college, which right now held about as much appeal as chugging a gallon of spoiled milk. She was tired of rules and homework and sitting around, listening to people talk.
Her father wanted her to go into the Army.
Screw that . . .
Scarlett had plans. She and Ginny were going to backpack in Europe. Sleep in youth hostels, drink good beer, see the sights—Paris, Madrid, Rome—and meet up with Ginny’s dad in Amsterdam. They’d sail to the Caribbean and check out the yacht culture, rich people partying 24/7 and swapping business cards.
She just had to break it to her parents.
She handed Nick the pipe. Then she picked up a rock and pitched it over the cliff and watched it tumble down, down, down and smack into the quarry pond a hundred feet below. Impact rings pulsed across the surface.
Nick took another hit and held the pipe out to her again.
She waved him off and leaned back. “I’m good.” High above, an airplane glinted in the sky. She imagined the people sitting up there, doing crosswords and playing solitaire at several hundred miles an hour.
She stood and pulled on her shorts and bikini top. She had to shake this mood. Here she was, free at last, but she felt like she was being smothered.
“Don’t let it get you down,” Nick said. “We’re celebrating, right?” He unzipped the backpack and pulled out a pair of Yuenglings beaded with condensation. Smiling over his shoulder—the one tattooed carpe diem—he said, “Wanna do it again?”
“No,” she said, stuffing her phone and sandals into her backpack.
“I have to do something,” she said. “I have to shake things up.”
“But we were—”
Scarlett didn’t stick around to hear the rest of it. She took three running steps and leaped into the void.
Excerpted from "The Point"
Copyright © 2019 John Dixon.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As a real cadoot. The cover alone is wrong. We wear a different pair of pants with our full dress. If the girl was heading to class those pants are great! This book is cringey and the author should have created a fake academy under a different name. The only supernatural thing at West Point is the smell of the water treatment facility next to the two mile course during the summer, or the fish during "catch of the day" which tastes like catch of last week.
The characters came alive.
Exciting, interesting, fun and difficult to put down! Kids with "abilities" that are amazing make this book exciting, interesting and fun. Scarlett and her friends pull together to give this story a fantastic ending. Not a book you will want to put down.
Scarlett was a rebel without a cause, a daredevil, a born troublemaker, a teen with a secret and now she has met her match. She is about to become part of a secret training program hidden deep within the bowels of West Point, but is she ready to become a hero? THE POINT by John Dixon is a brilliantly edgy young adult science fiction tale that is jam-packed with action and danger, but where does the danger really lie? Teens with superhuman powers are being trained covertly to become the nation’s secret weapons, but is everything as it seems? Called “posthumans,” these teens are raw, untrained and possess potentially deadly abilities. They are also highly intelligent and something just doesn’t feel right. Scarlett will be forced to choose between her own survival and the survival of her fellow students and her country. John Dixon just blew me out of the water with his creative talents! THE POINT opened with a bang and never let up! Feel the emotional turmoil of young adults thrown into an unknown world, sense the tension that is building and witness some incredible characters rise to the challenges set before them. Personalities will clash, lies will be told, and blood will be shed as we become part of an incredible world filled with characters who come alive with the intensity of a fireworks display finale! Magnetic from start to finish, horrifying at times, mesmerizing at others, science fiction lovers, this one’s for you!
The Point starts with Scarlett skipping out on her high school graduation to party. She's a troublemaker and I did not like her whatsoever. Scarlett is given a choice, go to West Point, or go to prison... She chooses West Point. When she gets there, she discovers that she's actually a "superhuman" with powers and although she's attending West Point, she's actually attending The Point, the secret underground school for superhumans, where she's learning to control her superhuman power. This was kind of a military X-Men. I thought this was a really interesting premise and learning about the real West Point was fascinating. Scarlett's character arc was great and she really grew on me over the course of the book. I loved her friendship with her roommate. It was fun seeing the powers of the others, especially Dalia, who I hated. Dalia was a pretty scary character and I can understand why Scarlett tried to stay on her good side. Jagger... Wow! He was quite the villain and I was sure that this book would have to end on a cliffhanger as I was running out of pages. But, whew. There was a decent ending that had me sighing in relief. I'm not sure if there will be any sequels, but I'd like to see more of this storyline and these characters. *Thank you so much to NetGalley and Del Rey Books for the advance copy!*
I loved The Point! A great story that grabbed me right from the beginning. Scarlett Winter is an amazing character. I love West Point and the premise of the story I thought it was unique and very interesting. As a matter of fact all the characters were executed perfectly. I enjoyed this Authors writing and look forward to reading more of his work. I give The Point 5 stars for its thrilling read. I would recommend this book to Dystopian fans, YA lovers and anybody that just loves a good read. 3 likes
I received a free copy of The Point by John Dixon in exchange for an honest review. Scarlett Winter is in the midst of rebellion against her strict upbringing and the military code that seems so central to her abusive authoritarian father. Scarlett only wants to coast and waste her life wasted. However, Scarlett has an ability that sets her apart from others. When this ability ends up inadvertently thwarting a terrorist attack, Scarlett is outed to the military. Given the choices of attending a special program at West Point or have the terror attack blamed on her, Scarlett joins the military she has despised her entire life. This story tracks Scarlett’s first year at what is basically a military college for superhumans. The story was entertaining and moved along quickly. I enjoyed the tale of the reluctant heroics of Scarlett Winter. #ThePoint #NetGalley
I'm an X-Men fan, so obviously I couldn't pass up reading this book. Think military X-Men battling rogue X-Men, but the 'good' X-Men are under government regulation - the bone of contention in Captain America: Civil War - and are a secret. Scarlett is a great protagonist - an out of control, rules-be-damned, free-spirited teen who learns a hard lesson in responsibility and consequences. But once she commits to something, she's in it wholeheartedly. I thoroughly enjoyed her character arc. Clearly, the author did extensive research on West Point, and it makes the story feel more authentic. Nearing the last quarter of the book, I assumed there would be a sequel, but after a no-holds-barred climax, I was pleasantly surprised to see this novel is a standalone. All questions are answered, and no plot lines are left dangling. Although The Point doesn't really bring anything new to the genre, it's a fast-paced, action-packed read that will appeal to superhero and sci-fi fans. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.