By Peter Lerangis
Ages 8 to 12
The promise of superpowers would prove irresistible to most kids. But Jack McKinley has a hard enough time thinking he’s good at anything. He must travel well beyond his Indiana home to realize that he has abilities that make him unlike other 13-year-olds.
Jack’s story starts on a typical morning. He’s hustling to school, worried about flunking a math test. But he doesn’t get a chance to answer a single question. He collapses and wakes up in a hospital on an unnamed island.
This place, the Karai Institute, isn’t a typical hospital. There are only three other patients: Marco, Aly and Cass. They’re teenagers like Jack, and they all share a strange mark — an upside-down “V” on the back of their heads.
The director, Professor Bhegad, explains that they are members of a tiny group called the Select. A rare gene allows the Select to develop a part of their brains that others cannot. Marco can master physical challenges, Aly can crack computer code and Cass can memorize a map in one glance.
But these powers will overwhelm their brains. The other members of the Select have died before they turned 14. The institute has a treatment, but it’s only temporary.
Professor Bhegad tells the four kids that there’s a cure tied to an age-old mystery. To solve it, they must find seven artifacts called Loculi from the lost city of Atlantis. They have been scattered around the globe, near the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Believing he has no power, Jack doubts that he can help. But Jack discovers that his own talents — while not obvious — are essential to keep the four alive as they hunt down the Loculi.
Young readers who enjoy ancient worlds might enjoy “The Kingdom of Wrenly” series by Jordan Quinn. The first book in the series, “The Lost Stone,” introduces readers to Lucas, an 8-year-old prince and an only child. He’s lonely because he isn’t supposed to play with the non-royal children in the village. His parents finally allow him to befriend Clara, the daughter of the queen’s seamstress. The children are hungry for adventure, so when the queen’s emerald goes missing, Lucas and Clara aim to track it down. But it won’t prove easy: They must search the lands of trolls, dragons and wizards.
If you have a suggestion for an “Out of This World” book, fill out our form, and we may include it in a future issue of KidsPost.
By Colin Meloy
Ages 8 to 12
On the edge of Portland, Oregon, is a seldom-explored wilderness. Prue McKeel, who lives nearby with her family, must journey into this dangerous territory after her baby brother is kidnapped by crows. She and schoolmate Curtis discover that the area, called Wildwood, is filled with animals and humans, many of whom don’t get along. Prue and Curtis become caught up in the conflict, which threatens to destroy everyone involved.