My Splats: the angst of teenage rebel-dom sparked with the underlining thread of doing good.
Jeff is quite the dare devil. He likes the thrill of a good chase and the thought of getting caught, while doing something he shouldn't. Repeat: the thought of getting caught. It's mental adrenalin to his already overactive brain and physicality. He feeds on that high. And there's a reason.
It isn't far into the story that Jeff discovers he's different. That fact that he can start fires with his hands was definitely a clue, but it all seemed too far fetched. Soon, he learns that he's not alone, either. There are other teens like him. Kids with real unique talents. And the strangest thing of all is that they all attend SV Academy. SV meaning Super Villian. Yeah. That's the reason Jeff has a predisposition to being a rebel. It's in his genes.
I honestly wasn't sure I was going to like this premise. At first, I thought it was unique, but had no idea how the author would pull it off. What teen wants to read a book about how bad all teens are? (I mention this here, because I'm sure that same thought has crossed a few of your minds as you read my words.) Trust me. This story was well worth the read, and the author pulls the 'bad' aspect off with balance, structure, and - believe it or not - goodness.
The super powers Strand uses to create her characters' world are altered slightly from the norm, giving freshness. As these students engage within this school training facility for teen villians, their inner growth becomes as apparent as their outer changes. There's mystery in characters who aren't what they seem; then again, sometimes they are.
As complications weave the story towards it's climax - which, yes, has to do with dangerous bad-guy villiany stuff - Jeff discovers another power he possesses with the help of a few SV friends he's made. Only thing is SV's don't believe in true friendships. Remember, they're all villians. Or are they?
Read any good villians, lately? Who's your favorite villian?