Monday, July 11, 2011


PRISCILLA THE GREAT is filled with enough action to satisfy even a hard-to-please middle grade reader.  It's Fantastic Four type adventure but with a middle school twist.

Priscilla isn't particularly popular.  She is into video games and comic book heroes.  Her best friend Kyle offers her some competition, but most of the time he is afraid she'll beat him to a pulp.  She beats him in video games and basketball, but amazingly he keeps coming back for more.

When Priscilla begins developing some strange abilities even her extremely intelligent friend Tai can't figure out what is going on.  The first unusual characteristic Priscilla seems to be exhibiting is the ability to set things on fire.  It is an overheated feeling that accelerates to the point that Priscilla's finger tips become like flame throwers.  Next she notices a dramatic increase in her strength.  These powers are accompanied by other strange feelings, and keeping them under control is a challenge.

At the same time Priscilla is struggling to understand the odd changes in her body, her father is being his usual over-protective self and requiring her to check in multiple times a day and not allowing any sort of after school activities or social life.  Not having a cell phone is bad enough, but not being allowed to join in on the traditional festivities of middle school life is taking its toll. 

Priscilla has taken a sudden interest in one particular boy.  She would love nothing more than to have a woman to woman talk with her mother, but that's impossible.  Her mother is always away on business.  That woman's job is at the top of her priority list with her family way down on the bottom.  There is just something weird about hardly seeing her mom and having her father eyeing her every move and monitoring her every breath.  Imagine living in a house your entire life and never being allowed to set foot in basement.  That's what Priscilla faces, and she vows to get to the bottom of all the strangeness.

Author Sybil Nelson keeps readers turning the pages with plenty of fast-paced adventure, including superhuman powers, mysterious corporations, and shady scientific experiments.  Her endearing characters will capture readers and have them believing every wild and impossible situation that unfolds.

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