13 year old 8th grader Martin Anderson arrives at Edgeview Alternative School, a locked facility, after being expelled from three schools, a scout troop and a Little League team. Martin is put in a room with Philip, also called Torchie, who keeps having fires start near him even though he claims he doesn’t do anything. Through Torchie Martin meets and becomes friends with Cheater, who’s really smart but gets accused of cheating frequently, always claiming innocence. Other friends include Finch, who’s great at kickball and physically very adept, and Lucky, who gets accused of stealing because he always finds stuff including coins, wallets, etc. Martin recruits a boy called Trash for their group, even though he’s treated as a loner because he’s known to throw stuff all the time. Martin figures out they each have psychic powers and researches at the school library what they are. Together they have to decide what to do with this awareness and their powers.
I especially liked this book because of the author’s attention to developing each of the characters. For readers who get drawn into their stories, the author wrote a sequel calledTrue Talents to find out what happens to them after the ending of Hidden Talents.
Review by Ellie Goldstein Erickson