cover image The Other Ones

The Other Ones

Jean Thesman. Viking Books, $15.99 (181pp) ISBN 978-0-670-88594-7

""It doesn't pay to be different. Not even a little bit."" So concludes Bridget Raynes's best friend, Mitzie, after the two have made it through yet another demoralizing day of sophomore year. ""Different"" is something that Bridget has always been--she can move objects just by thinking about them, see the spirits of trees, even read other people's minds. But Bridget has worked hard to squelch her powers, to assure both herself and others that she's not different. Her aunt Cait, also marked by the family ""gift,"" and Bridget's ""threshold guardian"", xiii (pronounced ""shhh""), both try to convince her that by denying her powers, she is denying her true self. Bridget can't bring herself to believe them, even as her problems with the class bully and her wretch of a teacher mount. And when xiii and Cait tell her that by joining with the ""Other Ones,"" the wicce or witches, she could help both her friend Jordan, who's been abandoned by his father, and the new girl in school, the mysterious and painfully different Althea, Bridget still resists. Uncharacteristically clumsy, Thesman (The Moonstones) hammers away at her ""be true to yourself"" theme so relentlessly and stacks the deck so obviously against any other perspective that readers are likely to grow impatient. Only the climax is truly compelling, in which the Jordan and Althea plot strands come together in an unexpected way. Unfortunately, many readers may not stay with the book long enough to experience it. Ages 10-14. (May)