Review of The Ability (Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books)

VAUGHAN, M. M. The Ability; illus. by Iacopo Bruno. Trade ed. ISBN 978-1-4424-5200-8 $15.99

R Gr. 5-7 

Reminiscent of early Harry Potter novels with its neglected hero, oddball teachers, eccentric assortment of classmates, and secret school where students learn to harness their powers, the novel still manages ultimately to feel fresh and original, and the narrative strikes a delicate and effective balance between light-hearted wish-fulfillment, fun, dark moments of heartbreak, and genuine suspense. Occasional chapters from the point of view of the Genever brothers, the boys carrying out the evil plot, provide readers with a chance to learn more about the secret behind the attacks and create a second level of intrigue and suspense. Those looking for a read-alike to Stewart’s The Mysterious Benedict Society (BCCB 5/07) will be delighted with Christopher’s adventure. Final illustrations not seen. AM