Hidden Talents

October 28, 2008 at 11:44 pm (book review, library, Uncategorized) (, , , )

Thanks to Unshelved I read another great book.  Hidden Talents by David Lubar is an instantly  engaging book.  First line: All I  needed was a pair of Handcuffs.  This is our introduction to Martin,who is on his way  to Edgeview Alternative School.  Edgeview is full of kids who have reached the end of the road.  However, some of the kids don’t seem bad, maybe  just a little odd.  Actually, some of  the odd kids seem to have some unexpected talents.  Like setting things on fire  without matches…  And then there seem to be some other problems at Edgeview, of the more  mundane sort.

The narrative is peppered with scraps of  letters, pieces of homework , and reports and evaluations.  There are elements of SF, mystery, and the YA problem novel.  Although the ending is happy, it isn’t overly neat.  There are lots of ways you could approach this novel in a book discussion  group.

When I  flipped the book over, it said that it was recommended for ages 10  and up.  Well, not the ten year olds in my book clubs.  Not that they wouldn’t like it.  and not that I wouldn’t tell them not to read it — there wasn’t any thing ‘too old’ for them.  However, most of  them lead a  more sheltered lives.  We read one  book ( Hoot) where there was a bully as a major character.  Some of them  had never encountered a real bully.  They  understood that bulling was wrong, but they never quite understood the fear.  I don’t think they would get the book.

So how do I pick books for them.  Lots of action is a must.  That way  you can ask questions like favorite part, or funniest scene, or would a different  ending be better.  Then I look for a book where motives are clear, if not obvious.  And finally, I  look for one character that  they can imagine as a friend.

I  think if my  book clubs read Hidden Talents, they would find friends.  However, I’m not so sure they  would get that  far in the book.  Actually, I ‘d say 12 would be  a better age.  Mostly  because I see a lot more kids that are willing to  understand that are different ways to look at  the world.

Bonus post:  book review and book club  talk

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