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The exceptionals
Erin Cashman
Teen Fiction CASHMAN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

The long shadow of Harry Potter looms over Cashman's debut, a fantasy novel set at Cambial Academy, a boarding school for "special" students who can see the future, move objects with their minds, and so on. The idyllic school has a dark past: a former teacher once tried to subvert students for maniacal schemes. Fifteen-year-old protagonist Claire Walker presents herself as an ordinary girl at a school of freaks, but it's a lie. Claire understands animals' thoughts; she just won't admit it. While other students work on honing their "specials," Claire wanders in the woods, meeting a mysterious guy named Dylan who questions her relentlessly, but slips away before anyone else sees him. When the school's top students begin disappearing, the pressure is on Claire to master her repressed "special" and discover the truth about Dylan. It's a pleasant read, and while too much derives from the Potter universe and superhero teams like the X-Men, Cashman knows how to craft natural dialogue and empathetic characters. Ages 12-up. Agent: Erica Spellman-Silverman, Trident Media Group. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Cashman deserves credit for delivering a paranormal YA story with nary a vampire, werewolf, or zombie in sight. Claire Walker is the great-granddaughter of the founder of Cambrial, a boarding school for teens with "special" talents like telekinesis and clairvoyance. Although Claire isn't a "special," she can understand animals but downplays that ability. Naturally, that's the key to the secret prophecy involving a girl, a hawk, the school's destruction, and a death. When students start disappearing, Claire must stop it. Narrator Madeleine Lambert spends much of the book being either girlishly emo or boyishly nasal. She's more effective with the adults, though they are nearly all incompetent. The animals are the best-written and -voiced characters despite limited dialog. VERDICT YAs up to roughly 16 or so may enjoy this, but it's too simplistic and obvious for older teens. Public libraries that are substituting for school libraries will probably want it because it has a strong female heroine, almost superhero-ish, who saves the day.-Jodi L. Israel, MLS, Birmingham, AL (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Claire Walker
Age: 15
Born into a family of talented people; decides to live a normal life;.

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