When first contacted by the author (yes, I did receive a copy gratis) of this book to review it, I was in the midst of a dozen projects with deadlines looming. I reluctantly agreed to read it when I got the chance … until I read the first page! The plight of Everett and his mother grabbed my attention immediately and struck a chord with my own life experiences.
Set one hundred years in the future, this story has the familiarity of a young adult fantasy/sci fi novel similar to the Artemis Fowl series; but, as an enchanting tale of a boy unaware of his origins and unsure of his future. Ringing dystopian for some and utopian for others, the main character – Everett – lives in a world where gifted children are sought out for their intellectual gifts and talents, and then whisked off to a residential school where they are rarely ever allowed to see their families again.
Much of the story weaves Dabrowski’s theories of over-excitabilities into Everett’s orientation week at the School for Gifted Potentials. The reader will find his theories much easier to understand as presented by author, Allis Wade, than in more traditional academic works. We watch as Everett begins to discover his own giftedness and his realization that his entire life up to this point has been affected by his mother’s attempt to shield him from that discovery.
But Orientation is more than just a story about a gifted boy … it is a novel filled with intrigue, mysteries yet to be revealed, subplots of ‘coming of age’ issues and everyday challenges faced by gifted children. More importantly, it offers the reader strategies on how to meet those challenges.
Orientation is a book that will appeal to the entire gifted community – kids, their parents, teachers of gifted students as well as gifted adults who have struggled with understanding their own giftedness. Many parents, I suspect, will use the book as a way to help their own children learn about social-emotional issues and how to deal with them.
I did not hurry through this book. I read every word. You could skim it; it’s an easy read … but you shouldn’t. This is an excellent first novel by Ms. Wade; her years of experience as a teacher of gifted children shine through the pages of Orientation. I highly recommend this book and hope that it makes its way into the curriculum of gifted programs in our schools to open discussions surrounding the needs of gifted children.
The best news is that Orientation School for Gifted Potentials is the first in a series. You are left at the end of this book wanting more … and there is more to come!
Buy the book; it’s a good investment both in terms of good fiction and great information with a solid foundation in current gifted research. Read the book. It will make you think. Share the book. The recipient will thank you. I’m already planning to buy additional copies!