Delcroix Academy, Book One: The Candidates by Inara Scott
Hardcover: 9781423116363, $16.99, Harper, Pub. Date: August 2010
Another perpetual search: teen reads suitable for non-teen readers (and teen readers as well). Here's a new one to add to that list, and you know what I like best about it? The paranormal powers discussed in this book have nothing to do with vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, necromancers, ghosts, angels, or fallen angels. Don't get me wrong, I like me a good vampire/werewolf novel just like almost everyone else. But it's nice to break away from that every now and again, with your good, old-fashioned, unexplainable paranormal ability.
Danica Lewis tries her best to be the most mediocre person around. She dresses in neutral colors so she can literally blend into the background. Her desire to go unnoticed doesn't stem from a place of hostility – rather, she's afraid to care about people too much. When she does care, and she sees someone she likes being threatened in some way, bad things happen to those doing the threatening. Bullies have tree branches suddenly dropped on their heads. A man threatening her grandmother "slips" and ends up in a coma.
As inconspicuous as Danny wishes to be, certain people are watching. Two recruiters for Delcroix Academy, the prestigious private academy on the other side of town, show up on Danica's grandmother's doorstep, offering Danica a full scholarship for all four years of high school. Danica knows she would be crazy not to accept, but why would Delcroix – the school that collects the best of the best – want ordinary her (well, ordinary minus that special power she's not thinking about)?
Danica's freshman year begins, and against her better judgment, she begins to make friends. Maybe this is a place where anything's possible. But just as she's beginning to let down her guard, her new friend Jack reveals Danica's not the only one with a power, and they both may have been specially chosen to attend this school. Delcroix's students excel at gymnastics and are computer whizzes, but what if some of them have special powers too? Danica doesn't want to believe it but what other explanation could there be for receiving a full scholarship and for Cam, the hottest guy in school, to hang around her a lot? He must be part of the group of Watchers, evaluating her on the power she struggles to keep hidden. It can't possibly be that he likes her. Could it?
Now I have to be honest. I know most girls out there will probably be drawn to Cam, the perfect, charming, handsome older man, but I can't help but hope that Danica's friend Jack, the pierced, tattooed, misunderstood classmate of hers, gets the girl in the end. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Book 2.