- Wini Ashooh
Michael Vey has a secret. He and his mother moved away from their home in California so that his secret would not be discovered. Michael has Tourette's Syndrome, but that is not his secret, though the facial tics that are associated with his condition often make him the subject of bullying and teasing. On the way home from school one day, Michael encounters some bullies who attempt to beat him up. At that moment, Michael's secret is revealed. He can harness electricity and send it out of his hands. This event is witnessed by Taylor, a popular cheerleader. Taylor confronts Michael at school the next day and questions him about what she saw. Taylor, it turns out, also has a secret. In the book, Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25, Richard Paul Evans, introduces us to a different breed of superheroes...teens with superpowers.
Taylor confides in Michael that she is able to "reboot" people. She is also able to read their minds when she touches them. Within a few days of each other, Michael and Taylor both receive notices that they have received scholarships to a prestigious academy in California. The Elgen Academy is located near where they were both born, coincidentally just days apart from each other. Further investigation by Michael's friend Ostin reveals that there was also a machine called Elgen in operation during both of their births.
The mystery does not stop here. After a dinner at which Michael informs his mother about the scholarship offer, she disappears as does Taylor. Michael and Ostin enlist the aid of two of the bullies--who historically have tormented them both but who now regard Michael differently after witnessing his electrical abilities--to drive them to California in search of Taylor and Michael's mom. Upon reaching the Elgen Academy, an elaborate scheme enables their entry to the highly-guarded facility. They encounter Dr. Hatch, the director of the academy and a clever manipulator of the minds of the teens who are held there. Dr. Hatch has corralled the teens and has created an army of sorts to do his dirty work. He is very skilled at giving the teens everything that they want...clothes, video games, money, elaborate meals, and they in turn do everything that he tells them to do.
Taylor and Michael want nothing to do with the dastardly plans of Dr. Hatch. They decide to escape and take like-minded teens who are being held prisoner with them. Oh, by the way, Taylor discovers that she has an identical twin Tara who is completely dedicated to Dr. Hatch.
If it is action, mystery, and science fiction you want, then this is the book for you. The action never stops and the mystery reveals itself as layers are slowly peeled away. The characters are believable and well-developed, and the teens form a nice cohesive group called the Electroclan. They learn to work together and to harness their powers for good and work against the evil forces of Dr. Hatch.