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This is a fabulous new YA read, but plenty for adults to enjoy too.

zeroesThis is a bit like Misfits meets Mission Impossible. Six otherwise-ordinary teenagers, all born in 2000, are coming to terms with their unlikely – and highly problematic – superpowers.

Ethan/Scam has a “voice” that knows exactly what to say to get what he wants, though he has no control over it and it gets him into terrible trouble. Riley/Flicker is blind but can see through other people’s eyes. Chizara/Crash can control and crash technology, but the sheer joy of it means the power gets away from her. Thibault/Anonymous is instantly forgettable, which makes friendship almost impossible. Kelsie/Mob can shape and intensify a crowd’s emotions, but feels lost without one. Group leader Nate/Bellwether – the least developed and least interesting character – can get crowds to follow him, but has no power on his own.

The action starts with a bag of drug money and a bank robbery gone wrong, continues to total technological chaos in a police station and ends with massive explosions.

It’s fast paced, with strong characters and it’s lots of fun. The trio of popular Sydney-based writers – YA best-seller Westerfeld, major fantasy award-winner Lanagan and short story writer Biancotti – have pledged a series. It’s hard to imagine it not being a success.

There are obvious echoes here of Salman Rushdie’s magnificent Midnight’s Children – where the children born closest to the moment of India’s independence were born with special powers – but it is a lot easier to read.

Book published in October, 2015

This review first appeared in the Herald Sun’s Weekend magazine.

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