L.S. Matthews,
The Outcasts
(2004; Delacorte, 2007)

Five very different teens are chosen to attend a special class trip to an old home in Dorset, England, where rumors of an ancient burial ground and a mysterious screaming skull reside.

Mia has some severe social issues. Iz and his friend Joe, while virtually harmless, can't seem to stay out of trouble. Helen has a secret and little time for a social life. Chris is really smart but a little lazy. These school misfits, who have nothing but their outcast status in common, all jump at the chance to go on this trip and embark on an unforgettable journey.

What I liked best about this story was that I think every reader can identify with at least one of the characters. The uniqueness that seems like a hindrance back home actually helps them on this trip, and characters each get to step beyond the outcast label and prove their worth during the adventure.

This is a fanciful story about five unlikely but loveable heroes and another side of life as they know it; filled with obstacles, nets and dimensions. But don't be fooled into thinking this is light reading with little substance. There are some important lessons and discoveries along the way. I absolutely LOVED this book. L.S. Matthews weaves a flawless fantasy that captures your heart and sends your imagination into new and sometimes scary territory.

review by
Cherise Everhard

12 January 2008

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