Orson Scott Card just became one of my favorite authors, I think. Such an incredibly creative idea!
Ezekiel is one of a number of high school kids with a “micro-power,” or an unusual and apparently useless gift. In his case, the gift is that he finds lost objects, and inherently “knows” who they belong to and where that person can be found. The problem is, of course, if you return lost objects to their owners with no explanation for how you found it or knew it belonged to them, they’ll invariably leap to the conclusion that you stole it in the first place. Ezekiel learns to resist his gift after a number of run-ins with the police, but still has the reputation of a thief. Then Beth, a 10th grader who, as a proportional dwarf, looks like she’s about six, catches up with him and essentially forces him to walk her to and from school. She claims this is for protection: no one will bully her, as long as she’s inside of Ezekiel’s ostracism bubble. They become unlikely friends, very much against Ezekiel’s will.
Then a school guidance counselor matches Ezekiel up with a group of kids with other micropowers attempting to learn about the limitations and benefits of their gifts. And through this, a police detective finds and approaches Ezekiel with the case of a missing little girl. He asks Ezekiel to use his gift to try to find her. Ezekiel resists at first, not sure he can do it and also concerned that if he does, he’ll be accused of being in league with the kidnappers. But with Beth’s influence, he decides he has to at least try. It turns out he finds the girl without a lot of difficulty. I was surprised that this came as early in the story as it did, but this was just a setup for the real story. I won’t spoil it, because I really didn’t see it coming. It becomes a bit of a supernatural crime thriller, I guess, but a “micro”-supernatural thriller–totally different from your usual X-Men type of story.
Despite some of the darker ideas in the story, it definitely has a happy ending. I also love the characters. Card has a very recognizable narrative voice, having also recently read “Enchantment”– very dry and sarcastic, and yet poignant and compelling. (I read “Ender’s Game” years ago and also liked it, but can’t remember it well. I’ll probably have to check it out again.) Will be looking at his backlist for sure!
My rating: *****
Political Content: none
Language: none that I can recall — in fact he had some perfect opportunities to throw some in and didn’t
Sexual content: none, though there were some disturbing images in the crime section that were sexual in nature, though not gratuitous
Violence: present in the crime section, but not gratuitous