The Candidates, vol. 1 of Delacroix Academy, by Inara Scott (NY: Hyperion, 2010).
Dancia Lewis knows something is amiss when recruiters from the exclusive Delacroix Academy show up at the home she shares with her grandmother. Why would they want her, an average student in every way? She's cultivated her mediocrity throughout middle school to blend in, so she won't care about anyone. She's sure high school will have to be the same. That's because she's found that when she cares about someone, she can make things happen to protect that person. In fact, that's how the Delacroix people found her--the article in the paper about how she saved her grandmother from the homicidal lunatic at the hospital. She'd tried to shrug it off as dumb luck, but...now these two people are here, and the guy is really cute. And he seems to care about her, his eyes drawing her in, making it hard for her to resist the idea that Delacroix Academy was the right choice for her, the only choice.
Her grandmother sees it as a golden opportunity for Dancia, so Dancia reluctantly decides to give it a try. She makes a few friends and continues seeing the student recruiter, who still seems to care about her. Plus there's Jack, another new student, who seems dangerous yet vulnerable. Still, she's not gifted, talented, or smart the way the rest of the students are. Nor is Jack. So why are they there, and on full scholarships? What kind of a school is Delacroix Academy?
Despite its utter transparency from the start, the novel manages to draw the reader in with believable characters who have unbelievable powers. Recommended for ages 13 & up. Sex, violence, language.
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