Martin has been expelled from school – yet again – and his parents, at their wits end, decide to send him to an alternative boarding school for delinquent boys. Martin ends up with a pyromaniac roommate – nicknamed “Torchie” who constantly sets fires, and then adamantly denies having done it. His other new friends, Cheater, Flinch, Lucky and Trash are also frequently in trouble, which they believe is totally unfair since they are completely innocent of the deeds they are accused of.
Martin soon realizes that his friends aren’t lying or in denial. They really didn’t mean to light fires or cheat on tests. It turns out that each of the boys has a special talent – a super power. Of course, after years of being told that they are nothing but bad news, the boys aren’t exactly eager to believe Martin’s seemingly far-fetched idea. But then circumstances – including another boy at the boarding school whose nickname “Bloodbath” is all too apt – forces them to learn control of their powers.
While not the most nuanced book ever written, this offering by David Lubar is a fun ride. The plot twists and powers, while conventional, are used creatively and to good effect. The boys are believable, and to be suddenly granted a superpower is certainly every kid’s dream. A solid, often funny, choice.