Martin Anderson has been expelled from every school system in the area, so he is being sent to his last hope: Edgeview Alternative School. There he meets Torchie, his roommate, Bloodbath, the school bully, and Lip, the bully's sidekick. He also meets cheater and trash, two other people at the school who he becomes friends with. Everyone has a reason that they are at Edgeview, but some peoples reasons are more unusual than others. Cheater is there because on all the test he takes, he gets the same answers as the person sitting next to him, but he swears that he does not cheat. Torchie is there because he sets fire to all kinds of things all the time, but no one can find his matches or lighter. Trash is there because he destroys everything around him and throws things for no reason. Flinch has a special talent for dodge ball and is very lucky, but is always jumpy. Martin is there because he cannot keep his mouth closed and is always saying just the wrong thing.
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On his first day of school, Martin gets beat up by Bloodbath and Lip. Then he gets on all of his teachers nerves. His first class was math and the teacher asked him about himself. He said “Hi, my name's Martin Anderson and I'm not bald.” Mr. Parson, his teacher turned bright red and his face started twitching, but he went on and finished his lesson, breaking three pieces of chalk in the process. His next class was English with Ms. Nomad. He made it through the beginning ok, but when she was talking about how anybody can write, he raised his hand and said that just because anyone could write, that didn't mean that they didn't stink. She happened to think of herself as a poet but she could not write at all. She gulped but did nothing.
The rest of his day went about like this. Eventually, after enough days like this, he ended up in the principles office, where he said things that even made the principle upset. He got very strong punishment. After a while of him and his friends getting in to trouble, he realized that each of them had something strange about their problem. They all claimed to do it without trying to. He did some research and came to some very interesting conclusions, but will they be enough to get the group out of the alternative school?
The review of this Book prepared by cloud city
Tor, Jan 2003, 5.99, 224 pp.
When it comes to adult authority. junior high school student Martin Anderson cannot keep his mouth shut as he rejects the constant advice with smart answers and insults. He has been expelled from six schools, the boy scouts, and the little league. He rides the bus to his final destination the prison-like Edgeview Alternative School, an institution used to lock up the violent and other losers (where is Pink Floyd when you need them?)
Martin realizes he must be on the cutting edge to survive the ready fists of bully Bloodbath and the shock therapy of Warden, (make that Principal) Davis. On the plus side Martin meets four fellow weirdoes with special psychic powers. Torchy lights fires without matches or lighters; Cheater copies test answers from anyone sitting anywhere; Lucky steals anything; and Trash trashes stuff. Martin believes his only power is what adults label acerbic while he would say satirical tongue. The five losers band together as Martin discovers his HIDDEN TALENTS and try to stop a plot to shut the school of last resort down.
The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner