An eighth grader discovers five schoolmates with psychic powers in this amateurish effort from Lubar. Martin, who was expelled from every other junior high in six counties for mouthing off, is consigned to prison-like Edgeview Alternative School, along with other violent or nerdy teens deemed hopeless misfits. Well-meaning but far too accustomed to getting her way, Aunt Patty buys the children unwanted new clothes, enrolls them in a Bible day camp for one disastrous day, and even tries to line up friends for them. While politely tolerating her hovering, the two inseparable sisters find their own path, hooking up with a fearless, wonderfully plainspoken teenaged neighbor and her dirt-loving brothers, then, acting on an obscure but ultimately healing impulse, climbing out onto the roof to get a bit closer to Heaven, and Baby. Lightening the tone by poking gentle fun at Patty and some of her small-town neighbors, the author creates a cast founded on likable, real-seeming people who grow and change in response to tragedy.
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By David Lubar. Martin Anderson and his friends don't like being called losers. But they've been called that for so long even they start to believe it. Until Martin makes an incredible discovery: each of his friends has a special hidden talent. Edgeview Alternative School was supposed to be end of the road.
But for Martin and his friends, it just might be a new beginning. Upload Sign In Join. Create a List. Download to App. Length: pages 3 hours. Start your free 30 days. Page 1 of 1. I'd have advised Lubar to make a few different choices Iow, the following opinions are my own persnicketiness, not an objective reaction to the book's appeal to the target audience. For example, I wonder if kids 'get' the message that they might have strengths, too, that they can use to cope with school and not get into so much trouble, even if those strengths aren's paranormal powers.
I also have trouble understanding Martin's family - if his mom is such a doormat to such a bully, how is the family not despairingly dysfunctional? I would also have liked to see the humanity of the teachers more - they were almost cardboard bad guys.
Otoh, I did really enjoy the structure of the book, the dialogue, the characters, the humor, the suspense And I can definitely see why kids age 9 up and teachers like this. For example, even the best schools have bullies. And Martin is a good role model. I have read others by the author and will continue to do so.
In this book Martin is sent to the districts special school for kids who have behavioral problems. When Martin first gets there he makes friends with his roommate, Torchie, a kid who is constantly accused of setting fires. Torchie introduces him to Lucky always accused of stealing , Cheater always accused of cheating , and Flinch talks out of turn in class. Eventually Martin realizes that his friends have special powers; Torchie can set fires with his mind, Lucky hears the items talk to him, Flinch can see into the future, and Cheater hears other people's thoughts.
When Martin first tells his friends about their special powers, they are in denial and get angry with him. For the next few days, Martin sits with Trash at lunch, a boy who is always accused of throwing things around it turns out he is a telekinetic, he moves things with his mind. Martin helps his friends get control of their powers all the while feeling left out.
He introduces his friends to Trash when they sort out their disagreements. There is another student named Bloodbath who is constantly torturing everyone. He doesn't have powers, he is just cruel. Eventually the school comes up for review and Bloodbath plans to sabotage the review so that the school will close and they will all be sent elsewhere. Martin and his friends with the use of their special powers manage to stop Bloodbaths tricks setting off 20 roman candles throughout the school and starting huge fights.
Then the committee decides they want to speak to a student and Martin is selected. The principal is very worried because Martin has a tendency to say extremely rude things to people. Martin's friends explain to him that this is his power. He can see into people's hearts, their worst fears and their greatest dreams. They tell him to try and use his powers to say nice things to the committee.
Martin decides to tell the committee the truth. He explains how helpful the school really is, but that there are some students that are much more violent and cruel then the rest of them that make it hard for the kids who want to change. He also explains that the students should get the opportunity to be evaluated more then once, because it isn't fair to only give people one chance. The committee makes the changes Martin suggests. After two months Martin goes home.
He has realized that his father is a bully and that his sister needs him. Eventually all of his friends go home as well. Interspersed throughout the book are illustrations of notes and memos that are from the teachers and principals desk. Some of these memos help the reader figure out that Martin has a power as well. Martin also realizes that his friends standing up for themselves with a bully in town they sneak out every Friday to play pinball in town who ended up being the mayor's son.
But Martin knows how important it is that they finally stood up for themselves so he doesn't say anything. As one might suspect from the title, this book is about a group of misfit kids who have been kicked over to an "alternative school" for what appear to be various disciplinary problems, but who discover that what they actually have are out-of-control psi talents.
The ending seemed just a bit rushed to me, but I doubt readers in the target age range would notice that. I'd recommend this for anyone from about age 9 up. Great characters and a great storyline made this book an enjoyable read. Martin Anderson's big mouth has gotten him kicked out of every school he's ever attended and also the Boy Scouts and Little League.
So he's sent to Edgeview Alternative School, which is full of delinquents and misfits. It doesn't take long before he's insulted all his teachers--he seems to know just the right words to tick them all off.
As he starts to make friends with the other boys, he realizes everyone has issues: his roommate Torchie is always starting fires although he denies it all , Cheater is accused of cheating on every test although he's really smart and he insists he's never cheated , Lucky has a knack for "finding" things although he is always in trouble for stealing things.
Martin begins to realize that there is more to these boys than meets the eye--they actually have hidden talents that even they dont know about.
Nice writing. I kept looking for hints as to what the talents were - semi-spoiled - but it's interesting in itself too. The payoff is great - I knew what Martin's power was a long time before they said it, and the reversal was obvious, but the way he actually handled it surprised and impressed me. The graphics in the book actually contributed - usually they're either unimportant or actively annoying, but here they were interesting and mildly useful to the story. Probably my favorite choice for struggling or disengaged students,Really, this book is a great read for just about anyone -- it's probably targeted at 4th-8th graders, but I know plenty of adults who have enjoyed this book about reform school "misfits" who discover hidden powers just as much as their children.
There are lots of other people here posting reviews that go into detail about why this is such a great book in general. This book has done such a good job getting students like this that I've know to be actually excited about reading something that it has really been amazing.
I just keep hoping they will come out with a manga series based on these books. That would be even beyond amazing. I first found David Lubar when I picked up Flip on a whim. I only wish I had heard of him before. Hidden Talents is wonderful. It manages to be life-affirming without taking life which seems to be the theme in the "award-winning" books for young adults.
I found that when I finished this book I felt changed for having read it. Perhaps only slightly, but changed I was. This change I feel happens with every single Lubar book I've read. I honestly wish that classrooms were filled with books like this instead of the depressing titles that seem to be considered "high literature.
Children can learn to see the wonder of things without reading about someone who has had everything taken away from them. Children can realize that different does not mean bad without showing the person who is different suffering. David Lubar manages all of these things spectacularly and without undue drama. This is book one.
Martin and several other boys have been sent to Edgeview Alternative school because of their disruptive behaviour. Martin figures out a way for each of his friends to channel their "problem" and make their talent useful.
Although I liked book two much better, this was still an enjoyable read.
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The first book follows the adventures of Martin, a smart-aleck sent to Edgeview Alternative School, a correctional facility. Here he meets the aptly nicknamed Torchie, a supposed pyromaniac; Cheater, an Asian and Nerdy boy sent to the school on accounts of cheating on tests; Flinch, a future comedian with hair-trigger reflexes that make him a disruptive influence in school; the introverted Lucky who was sent to Edgeview for kleptomania; and Trash, a loner artist and past vandal. They become close friends as they evade ruthless bully Bloodbath and attempt to stay out of trouble, with varying results on both fronts. However, as Martin gets to know better this Ragtag Bunch of Misfits , he starts to notice that something's unusual about his friends: all five appear to have psychic abilities. Although they initially disbelieve him, even to the point of ostracizing him when he persists in his theory that they are not delinquents as the rest of the world presumes, Martin manages to make them accept their gifts.