"A new breed of magical human in a young adult novel with taste."
Reviewed by Ashleigh Compton
Posted April 11, 2015
Young Adult Science Fiction
Alison McKye is different. It's not that she's
adopted or that she's shy or anything like that. She has
a special ability: she can influence the thoughts and
actions of those around her. Though she does actively use
the power, she uses it so she will not be noticed. She
hides herself from her peers by wearing nondescript
clothing. Shortly after a disastrous first day of school
beginning her senior year, she discovers that she's not
the only one. It turns out there are many dewings—
children of Atlantis—who have mental powers beyond
imagining. Her mother and father were on the run when she
was born and put up for adoption, and now Alison must
fight those her mother fled from in order to protect her
family and new friends in ATLANTIS RISING.
The idea of the dewings is very interesting. The
idea that people coming from Atlantis have mental powers
which elevate them above the normal humans is fascinating
and wonderful. This concept has a lot of power and I
think this novel makes an excellent use of it. Alison is
a very strong character and her power is very central to
her character. She is talented and smart, and
refreshingly honest with herself if not with her family.
My only real complaint about this novel is that
other than the dewings, everything else is relatively
predictable. The adopted girl with a mysterious past
turns out to have a power. The cute boys and their
friends also have the power. She's in high school and
she's dealing with crushes and magic powers at the same
time. I could have told you all of this just by reading
the blurb on the back cover of the book.
Overall, it's a good young adult novel. It's not
necessarily giving us something brand-new and dangerous,
but that's okay. It will be well received by people who
enjoy magical stories with good pacing and good
characters. ATLANTIS RISING is a very nice book with a
great heroine and an interesting new creature.
I am different. I have always been different, but no one
know or my life will be in danger. So I hide in plain
wearing drab clothes and thick glasses and trying to be
invisible. I’m so good at hiding, no one has ever noticed
me. Until Ian…the mysterious and oh-so-cute boy I know I
need to avoid.
I am an expert at being invisible. But while I live
you, I am not the same. I am a Dewing. One of the
of Atlantis. We heal quickly, learn faster, and have
gifts that allow some of us to manipulate and sense
humans don't. I knew I wasn't alone. But now there is Ian
Palmer—and he, too, is different. Now I have been seen.
And more terrifying still, I am wanted...by those who
destroy everything and everyone I love.
ExcerptI left my house the first day of my senior year thinking
I had everything under control. Fillmore High, better
known as Feel-Me-More High, wasn’t a complicated place to
navigate. I’d spent the last few years observing my
classmates with a kind of hungry curiosity, so the social
network wasn’t difficult to steer through. The plan for
this year was to get decent grades, keep my head down,
and stay out of trouble. I didn’t like my life in the
shadows, but lives depended on me staying as invisible as
The problem was, my mom stopped at the main entrance of
my school rather than the side entrance like she’d
promised, and we were in her candy-apple-red Porsche
Carrera. Several kids had gathered in groups on the lawn.
They all turned to see who would get out of such an
obnoxiously expensive car in front of a run-down public
school in a sketchy part of town. It was a valid
question. I’d attended a nicer school closer to our house
until my sophomore year, when I’d begged my parents to
transfer me out of district. I’d wanted new start where
no one knew me. To be honest, I’d come to like the
crumbling monstrosity that was Fillmore High School.
People tended to mind their own business and there was a
certain charm to the old architecture in the area.
Cursing my luck and my adoptive mom’s insistence that I
be chauffeured around like a twelve-year-old, I grabbed
my backpack to get out. Mom gripped my arm, stopping me.
“I’ve got to teach a yoga class this afternoon,” she
said. “You can catch the bus to work, right?”
I rolled my eyes. “Why didn’t you just let me drive
myself? I have my own car. I’m ridiculously responsible.
I even pay for my own car insurance.”
Mom patted my knee. “Don’t be mad, Alison,” she said,
looking reminiscent. “I wanted to drive you one last
She could be aggravating, but then, I’d heard most
parents could be. A ride to school on the first day was a
family tradition, and not much topped tradition when it
came to my mom. Catching the bus to work would be a major
pain, but it was impossible to stay angry with her. I
smiled. “Sure,” I said. “I’ll manage somehow.”
As she pulled away in her flashy car, the stares of a
least ten kids zoomed in on me. I formed a thought—
The flag is on fire—and pushed it into their
minds. Expressions of shock and astonishment crossed
their faces and their heads turned quickly toward the
flagpole in front of the school.
I sighed in relief. The results of my thought
transference were mixed. Sometimes it worked like a
charm; other times I had a hard time making it stick.
Fortunately, it worked this time, and no one gave a crap
about me as I continued on.
I switched my backpack to the other shoulder while the
sun’s heat beat down on my back like a death ray. It was
seven thirty in the morning and already eighty-five
degrees. That’s how August in Las Vegas was. You accepted
it after a while, but you never got used to it.
I opened the heavy glass doors at the front of the
school, and a gush of cool air hit me. Fillmore might be
a crumbling pile of bricks, but the air-conditioning was
top-notch. It had to be, or the student body would die of
heatstroke. Several people watched me come in, so I kept
my expression bland, and their eyes glazed over with a
lack of interest.
Dressed in my usual camouflage—jeans and a nondescript T-
shirt—I wasn’t much to look at. I wore thick-rimmed
glasses and no makeup. I also pulled my dark hair into a
bun at the back of my neck, which added greatly to the
blah factor. I’d designed my style to look like paint on
the wall—there but rarely noticed.
Putting my earphones in, I turned up the volume on my
iPod and stepped into the crowd. The place reeked of
cheap cologne, drenched on the boys with reckless
abandon. People were wearing their best, which in Vegas
was usually a new pair of shorts and an overpriced T-
shirt. Everyone was trying to impress but appear casual
at the same time. Not many managed it. I watched the
smiles and conversations around me, feeling the familiar
bubblings of envy.
I didn’t have friends at Fillmore High, not a single one.
I wasn’t friendless in the sense that I couldn’t make
them. I practiced good personal hygiene and could carry a
conversation. I’d been a sociable and outgoing girl once,
but that version of me had gone into storage years ago. I
kept things as impersonal as possible now.
I pushed and dodged my way through groups of talking kids
until things started to thin out around the north hall.
Only a few people had gathered there, and most of them
stood alone, working the dials on their lockers.
Skirting around a janitor wielding a mop and bucket, I
tried not to gag on the pungent odor of industrial
cleaning supplies. The north hall always smelled funny
because it was home to maintenance and supply closets. It
was long and dark, too, giving it a creepy feel. It
wasn’t anyone’s first choice for a locker assignment.
Except for me. I’d wanted one there because the majority
of the metal boxes around it would stay empty for the
I found my locker and flipped the dial back and forth. I
didn’t need a written reminder of the alpha sequences…or
anything else, for that matter. One of the benefits of
being like me was perfect recall. Since my eighth
birthday, everything I’d seen or heard had been stored
away in a neat filing system in my brain. The lock
clicked under my fingers, and I stacked some notebooks on
the bottom shelf. Then I stuck a mirror and a picture of
my dog to the inside of the door. The result wasn’t
homey, but it appeared occupied and that was good enough
for me. I would open it a couple of times each day, but I
would never leave anything I actually used inside it. One
of the rules I lived by was keeping my personal things
with me at all times.
Halfway down the stairs to my first class, a gangly boy
and a girl who was round in all the right places were
putting the Feel-Me-More back into Fillmore High. It was
impossible to get around them, so I cleared my throat
loudly. When they didn’t look up, I tapped the boy on the
shoulder. He mumbled something like “Go away” but didn’t
shift. I focused and then sent “Move” into both
of their minds.
The girl backed against the wall and the boy quickly
shifted to resume his Velcro stance against her. I
squeezed by them.
“Sounded like a ceiling tile came down,” he answered.
I faded into the darkness below with a big smile on my
I was the first to arrive for AP English. The room was
typical of most in the building, boxlike, bars on the
windows, and white walls with brown carpet on the floor
and up the kickboard. The only thing missing was a
The desks had been arranged to form a tight semicircle at
the front of the room. I was going to have a neighbor on
at least one side no matter where I sat, so I chose the
chair farthest from the door. Unzipping my backpack, I
got out the supplies I would need. I’d turned getting
ready for class into an art form. I could stretch getting
my stuff organized on my desk out for two minutes. Those
who lived in the shadows learned to look busy even when
we weren’t. As usual, I kept my head down while the class
filled up fast around me. When a warm body slid into the
chair next to mine, I looked through my lashes to see who
Connor McKenzie was cute and always dressed to
perfection. He even ironed his shorts. He was also
notoriously talkative. Opening my notebook, I began
doodling, hoping he’d see the illusion I worked to
create…a silent uninteresting girl.
I cursed internally when he cleared his throat in
preparation for conversation. It wasn’t that I didn’t
want to talk to him. It was that I shouldn’t. Knowing
what was coming, I formed the thought Talk to the
girl on your right.
The girl on his right was the female half of the kissing
couple from the stairwell. The boy half was sitting next
to her, and they were still exchanging saliva. Connor
wasn’t ballsy enough to intrude on that type of
conversation, and I couldn’t say I blamed him. He turned
back to me instead. “You’re Alison, right?” he asked.
“You’re a senior.”
I nodded again and sent the thought You don’t want to
talk to this girl into his mind.
My transference would sometimes short-circuit if the
target was really fixed on something specific. Talking
was as necessary to Connor as breathing was to the rest
of us, so he continued, “We’re all seniors then. Except
for him.” He gestured toward a really cute blond boy
sitting across the room next to a girl with curly hair.
“That’s Ian and Brandy Palmer. They’re new. I think
they’re cousins or something.”
I nodded a third time, hoping my silence would discourage
him. I should have known better. Nothing discourages a
talker when they’re in the mood.
“So, what’s your last name?” Connor asked. “I know your
first name is Alison because we had trig together last
year. Mr. Yardley called on you sometimes. You always got
the answers right.”
Rather than let Connor draw attention to us by looking
like he was talking to himself, I gave in. “My last name
is McKye,” I said.
“Hey, that’s Scottish. I’m in a Scottish heritage group
online. I’ll give you the site. You should join. It’s—”
“I don’t have Scottish heritage,” I replied, cutting him
Mrs. Waters, our teacher, walked in, putting an end to
Connor’s questions. Which was good because he seemed the
type that wouldn’t hesitate to pry into someone’s
adoption, and I really didn’t want to go into how I’d
been passed around in foster care for five years before
the McKyes came along and rescued me.
Calling for our attention, Mrs. Waters started handing
books around. In a no-nonsense tone, she told us to open
our poetry text to William Blake’s The Tyger
. Then she asked Melissa, of the make-out pair,
to read it aloud.
I followed along with half my brain while Melissa read.
The other half of my brain retrieved a picture of the
room and everyone in it. With the exception of the hot
guy and his cousin across the room, I knew all of my
classmates. There were only eleven of us in the room. I
hadn’t anticipated so few. Such a small group would be
difficult to hide in, and it worried me. My stomach was
doing nervous flip-flops when I glanced up and met the
eyes of Ian Palmer.
He held my gaze and the corners of his mouth tipped up in
a slow smile. It was a nice smile…warm and friendly. I
was tempted to smile back, but studied my book instead.
Melissa finished the last two lines of Blake’s The
Tyger: “What immortal hand or eye / Dare frame thy
Ian would be another complication. I’d known before
Connor pointed him out that we had AP lit together. I’d
stood in the registration line with him last week. He was
blond, about my height, with a long, strung-out build
that told me he was growing upward faster than outward.
My younger brother was going through the same kind of
growth thing. Ian’s eyes were an unusual color. From
across the room, they appeared to be light blue. But up
close, there were flecks of green, like the turquoise
stone in a Navajo bracelet my mother owned.
Judging from the way he’d smiled at me, Ian remembered me
from registration, too. And it didn’t give me a warm
“You will all be expected to read material in class when
called on,” Mrs. Waters continued, “and you will be
assigned two in-class presentations each quarter.”
More bad news. In-class presentations didn’t fit with my
plan to stay invisible. Mrs. Waters picked up some Post-
it notes from off her desk. “I have the names of five
poets in my hand,” she continued. “You will each pick a
slip of paper and partner with whoever gets the same poet
My stomach churned as I took my paper and unfolded it.
“Lord Byron” was spelled out in dark print. Stomach
problems stayed with me for the rest of class and got
worse when everyone started searching for their
presentation partners afterward. I overheard Connor’s
exclamation of happiness when he found out he had Keats,
the same as Nate Hopkins. Whether Nate was as delighted
as Connor, I couldn’t tell. Ian’s cousin, Brandy, was
standing close to Michael Larson, their eyes locked on
the Post-it note in her hand. Evidently they were
I repacked my things, trying to figure out how I was
going to handle the situation. Nervous energy made me
drop my class schedule, and it fluttered to the floor.
Annoyed, I bent to get it and then started walking
without looking up. It came as a complete surprise when I
walked into a soft cotton shirt and the surprisingly
strong chest beneath it.
Finally, physics class had taught me something I could
reference. When two objects collide, the lighter one
gets knocked farthest off course. I was the lighter
object, and I felt myself careening off balance with no
hope of correction.
My last thoughts were that my head was in line to collide
with the edge of the desk where Connor had been sitting,
and that the chest responsible for my imminent pain
belonged to Ian Palmer.
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