Special by author Chino Chakanga
This is the spoiler full review of Special, a YA story about a young girl who lives in a world of super powers without any of her own. If you would prefer to stay spoiler free but still want to read about why you should read this cute tale please visit here.
Thank you so much to author Chino Chakanga for providing me with a copy of Special in order to give an honest review.
Special takes place in a world where nearly everyone has special abilities similar to what we would normally think of as super powers.
Hope is a young girl in this world who was born without any powers. Her dad can fly and has super strength and healing. Her best friend can phase through matter and turn invisible. Others have telekinesis, psychic abilities, can shape-shift, or any other power you could possibly think of.
Hope cannot do any of these things. Her ability gene is dormant and she’s undergoing extensive and painful treatments in order to attempt to activate it but after years they still aren’t working.
Hope is considered a “maladroit,” someone without powers or abilities. The adroit are the kids with the strongest and most varied powers. They pick on her at school for being different.
The adroit discover that Allie, Hope’s best friend, has the power to sneak them into cool clubs or theaters and they begin to buddy up to her. At first Hope thinks this is her ticket to being less of an outcast but she quickly realizes it’s a faster way to losing her best friend.
There is an announcement at the school that a student has gone missing. Asher is a fellow maladroit and he vanished without a trace.
With everything that is going on at school Hope continues to suffer through her treatments despite hating needles and feeling completely hopeless about the outcome.
In addition to her personal problems she is also worried about her parents. They are in the process of getting separated and Hope believes it’s her fault for being less than a perfect adroit daughter.
One day the doctors tell Hope and her mother that the treatments may actually be working but she still has no powers that have developed, just a positive brain scan.
On the way home from the hospital they get in an accident when something causes a sort of surge that deactivates everyone’s abilities for a brief period of time.
During this surge we see this universe’s ultimate villain and ultimate hero. The Marauder executes a raid on the hospital and Titan, a masked hero, attempts to stop him. We find out later that the only thing stolen in the raid were vials of Hope’s blood.
Hope decides that in spite of her recent positive brain scans she no longer wants to receive the treatments. She’s tired of trying to force something that she isn’t. She just wants her parents to be happy with who she is.
With this revelation she goes back to school and is asked to the dance by a nice boy named Gael who can manipulate the growth of plants. She accepts and appears to be on a new path to happiness.
She also gets Allie back from the cool kids when she finally realizes they were just using her. They asked her to steal money for them and her strong moral compass said absolutely not!
Things are really starting to come up for Hope when the most popular kid in school, Eric, asks her to the dance as well. Since she has some decency she says thanks but no thanks and continues to plan to go with Gael.
She does, however, agree to go with Eric for him to show her something. He flies her over to an isolated location where he has some sort of laboratory set up.
He explains that he’s the one who stole her blood from the hospital. He’s been using it to build a virus that will inhibit everyone’s abilities. He wants to do this so that everyone will be equal.
She doesn’t understand why Eric, an adroit who always bullied her, would want to do this. It doesn’t make sense.
Eric, turns out to actually be the missing boy Asher. Asher’s treatments worked very well and he developed a strong shape shifting ability along with other powers. He accidentally killed Eric by sucking up his powers and his very lifeforce so he’s been living as him ever since.
Hope escapes and contacts her family. Her mom immediately teleports to where she is to help and her dad shows up as the masked hero Titan. Asher manages to set off the inhibitor right before Titan restrains him.
Since all of the adroit are now disabled, maladroit Hope is the only one who can save the day. Hope de-activates the inhibitor. Everyone’s powers return and Hope is powerless but a hero.
After this climax everything comes to a quick conclusion.
Her family accepts her and loves her.
She accepts herself.
She gets to go to the dance with a nice boy. The students all agree to not crown a king or queen and simply have a good time.
Overall, this is a very cute YA story about fitting in and accepting yourself. We all have our strengths and weaknesses but you need to learn to define yourself by your strengths alone.
Hope is relatable and the story is just familiar enough to make it a solid comfort read. It would be like being a human in X-Men or a Muggle in Harry Potter.
It’s a simple and quick read, I finished it in two days but it could easily be completed in a single Saturday. Most importantly, it has a nice clean happy ending that is sometimes exactly what we need. It’s uplifting and sweet.
I recommend this book to anyone looking for a nice distraction from whatever is bothering them. Hope saves the day and gives us… hope.
3/5 syringes 💉💉💉
For more super hero young women check out Ms Marvel.
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