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The School of Possibilities


This import explores themes of education, family, freedom, and rebellion through an innovative and entertaining narrative. Labeled an impossible child because of his skateboarding and other impulsive behaviors, 12-year-old Storm is sent to the School of Possibilities, where desperate children learn obedience. The boy soon experiences bizarre methods of discipline that include an assigned best friend who is clearly an enemy and a variety of subtle and overt humiliations from school staff and model students. As Storm's status worsens, he meets India, the enigmatic leader of a small group of homeless outlaw kids who oppose the school. Using stealth and graffiti, they challenge the authorities and try to uncover the ominous secret that lies in the school's basement. Storm's wry narration shifts smoothly from humorous irony to fear and desperation, matching the satire and suspense that run simultaneously through the novel. His words and behavior are never predictable, making him an especially engaging protagonist. The evil counselor, also Sto's new stepmother, makes a formidable lead villain, while the robotic students and the boy's frustratingly apathetic parents serve as further threats to his freedom. The strongly developed urban setting has a surrealistic feel, with the looming, sterile school buildings literally and figuratively opposing the dark factory that the outlaws use as their refuge. Black-and-white line drawings neatly reflect the chaos of Storm's world. Foreshadowing occasionally delays forward progress of the plot, but the fine characterizations and palpable atmosphere are dynamic enough to hold interest, and build to a satisfying conclusion.

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Tags: Possibilities, School, school, Storm, subtle, methods, discipline, include