I am giving this book a 29. I don't know on what scale, it just seems like a random scale to match the randomness of the book. I am not in a narrative mood right now so I am going to bullet it out (wait do I always do that?)
I should have followed Landee's advice to write it as soon as I read it.
What I liked:
- One-dimensional bad guys. You could tell Dr. Evil was going to be bad from the get-go. Even her name.
- The cricket. I was sad to see the early demise but what a cool talent, to unshackle chains from the heart.
- The uncovering of the healing talent by stuttering kid. I was moved.
- Conrad. I had a student named Connor who was super genius and his father was a super nice guy but couldn't handle the genius his son was. Once I invited the dad to come be a guest speaker and the night before the kid ran away and woke up high in the local park. The kid came to school in shambles and his dad was exhausted from staying up all night with worry. The dad, to his credit, kept his commitment and was filled with sorrow and relief when he found his homeless-looking son in my class. My heart strings are still pulled when I hear about a genius named Conrad (which reminds me of Connor) and a dad who never understood. This book brought it all together for me and the fact that he ended up living with Piper and his talent was appreciated got me pretty emotional.
- Rainbow girl. She had the coolest talent.
- Conrad selling his soul to whatshername thinking his parents still wanted him. Then his regret. Then Piper's forgiveness. All pretty.
- Piper herself. I didn't think there was anything wrong with her being a hero. Her number one skill was persistence-like she did to learn how to fly, make friends, etc. She was super persistent and that makes anyone smarty.
- Silver-spotted giraffe. Total disconnect. It was a cool idea but he really didn't play a role. None of the animals did so that fell short for me except Sr. Cricket who died.
- The cricket being a threat to the bad guys because his talent undid the bad stuff. I would think that a really scary animal to the bad guys would be one that had an actual harmful skill.
- The byline of House on Prairie meets X-men. There were no good v. bad x-men teams and that is what I was expecting. As a huge fan of Magneto and the blue body chick, I was really disappointed that we didn't have a house divided.
- J. Of course he was dr. evils bro.
- Speaking of Dr. Evil, dumb that she could fly. DUMB.
- The rainbow girl never recovering. That was inexcusable.
- I agree with Markie that there was a huge incongruency between the intended audience of the book and the very heavy themes.
- Sequel: must contain romance, must end the whole concept of the school being a shelter, and must create a bad-guy. Perhaps rainbow girl can come back and be bad, like the trick is that once the talent is treated with this drug, it is dormant as a bad evil and then emerges all at once, a whole community of people who once had a talent to do good that becomes wicked awesomely evil. I will likely read it otherwise because I don't have a reason not to read it.
Not a waste of my time. I enjoyed it, it was fun, I retold the story to my kids in the car who are now interested in reading it. Thanks for the recommend and can't wait for the next book in the club. Thanks to everyone for keeping me reading so I can go to conferences with high school teachers and have read the same stuff as their students.