Wells, Robison. Black Out. HarperTeen, 2013. 432p. $17.99. 978-0-06-202612-5.
Everything is going great for Aubrey at her first high school dance. At least until her date manifests superhuman powers and the army comes to take all the teenagers away on buses. Although Aubrey manages to escape and meet up with her friend, Jack, they are not safe—terrorist attacks are occurring throughout the United States and the army is investigating all teenagers for a strange virus that gives them superhuman powers. When Aubrey and Jack encounter the army, they must decide whether the military can be trusted. Meanwhile, the book also follows the parallel story of two other teenagers, Laura and Alec. These teenagers have been trained their entire lives to be terrorists, but will they accomplish their goals?
This fast-paced book will keep readers guessing. It is not the virus that creates superhuman powers that makes this book interesting, but rather the characters’ reactions to it. Some are terrified, some delight in using their powers, and others work to manipulate it to their own ends. Readers will be kept wondering about the true intentions of many of the characters. Many readers will also enjoy the romantic element. The action, character development, and fast-paced plot will make it an appealing choice that can be enjoyed by a wide variety of young readers.—Erika Schneider.