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Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
The Essentialz by Paul Cicchini throws the spotlight on four groups of teenagers living in four different parts of America; Nevada, New Jersey, Florida, and North Dakota, and who are gifted with some great superpowers. These groups, Gliders from New Jersey, Diggers from Nevada, Surfers from Florida, and Bunsens from North Dakota, are unaware of the existence of each other and are insanely clever and talented. Angela, Marco, and Rockwell (Nevada), Gabrielle, Flynn, and Sarah (New Jersey), Connors, Hudson, and Lark (Florida), and Blaise, Kiara, and Max (North Dakota) take readers on a fascinating adventure where they finally realize there are others like them who possess superpowers and with whom they can join hands to save the planet from destruction. Will these teens meet each other and if they do, how does it happen? Do they respect each others' powers, and will they be able to work together with respect and trust to deal with the impending doom that looms ahead? ISIS? Russia? China? What is it or is it something bigger than all this?
The Essentialz by Paul Cicchini is compelling and the author very deftly weaves the four groups into the plot without sounding forced. There is a lot of drama and action that adds to the urgency in the plot and keeps readers glued to the story. The author does an excellent job portraying the characters and the gifts of each group and there is not one boring moment in the story as the teenagers channel their superpowers and work toward a common cause. The narration is detailed and descriptive, making the story vivid and palpable to readers. The various layers and dimensions in the plot are fascinating and they give it a good pace and movement. It is interesting to see the characters developing their powers, practicing them, and learning how to control them.