Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Blackout

Blackout

Robinson Wells
Fiction
For ages 13 and up
HarperCollins, 2013   ISBN: 978-0062026125

For years Aubrey was the quiet studious girl whom no one noticed. She was the girl who had very few friends and who lived in a trailer with her alcoholic father. Then her life changed. To her shock Aubrey acquired the ability to become invisible, and one of her classmates, Nicole, saw her do her disappearing act. Now Aubrey is a member of Nicole’s popular girl clique, and in exchange for her favor, Aubrey serves as Nicole’s spy. She listens in on conversations and then reports back to Nicole.

   Aubrey is listening to what some boys are saying at a dance, per Nicole’s wish, when all hell breaks loose. Soldiers surround the dance venue and start rounding up all the teenagers present. One of them, Aubrey’s date, Nate, suddenly turns into a freakish Hulk type being and starts attacking the soldiers. As the horrified teens watch, Nate is gunned down by the soldiers and killed.

   After this traumatic event, the soldiers begin loading the teens into buses and taking them away. Still invisible, Aubrey makes a run for it. She has no idea what is going on, but she does not like what she is seeing. She meets up with Jack, who was her friend for many years when they were children. The duo manage to get to the trailer where Aubrey lives. Then, for beer money, Aubrey’s alcoholic father hands over his daughter and her friend to the authorities.

   Jack, Aubrey and many other teens from their area are taken to an enormous military facility where they are treated like enemies of the state, and they soon find out why. Apparently teens all over the world have been getting a virus, the Erebus virus, which can, in some cases, give them abilities, abilities like the one Aubrey has. For some reason some of the teens with powers (Lambdas) have been attacking military and civilian targets, and for the last few weeks the United States has been rocked by appalling acts of terrorism. Thousands of people have died. Until now Aubrey had no idea that the terrorists were teens.

   The military set about testing all the teens that they have taken into custody to find out which of they are infected with the virus. Thanks to her ability Aubrey is able to fake her test and she is safe. To his horror, Jack finds out that he is positive. He has never shown any sign of having “powers” and he is convinced that the test was inaccurate, but he is quarantined with the other Positives all the same.

   Aubrey and the other Negatives are taken to a different quarantine area and there Aubrey bides her time until she decides that she has waited long enough. She escapes and tries to rescue Jack. She almost makes it, but is eventually caught and now the authorities know that she too is a Positive.

   After being put through some excruciating tests, Jack’s power comes to the fore and he finds out that he is super sensitive to sights, smells, sounds, and touch. He is like a human listening device, and his eyesight is so powerful that he can even see celestial bodies as if he were looking at them through a telescope.

   After their abilities have been properly studied and they have been categorized, military representatives invite the Lambdas to join them in the fight against the terrorists. Who better to fight against Lambdas than other Lambdas.

   Readers who enjoy stories that have a futuristic feel are going to be enthralled by this tale. The author carefully reveals more and more information as the story unfolds, so that we experience things much as Aubrey and Jack do. We, like then, are not always sure who to trust, and what the real truth is.

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