Delacorte. Aug. 2022. 304p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780593433249.
Gr 3-7–Twelve-year-old Trex Wilson is used to cross-country moves, having zero friends, and being unable to touch anyone without wearing rubber gloves. It’s all par for the course when you’re a middle schooler with an experimental brain implant whose side effects include shooting lightning bolts out of your fingertips. Ever since he received the first biotechnology of its kind after a near-fatal car accident, his mother has kept them on the move, fearing that The Company wants Trex as a test subject. When they arrive in Hopewell, Trex convinces his mom that he can keep his powers under wraps while attending school for the first time. What he isn’t counting on is a classmate like Mellie Chandler, an aspiring detective who witnesses a zap and begins spying on Trex. After the two bond over their shared social isolation (she suffers from excruciating stomachaches and is the target of bullying), Mellie enlists Trex’s help investigating The Prowler, a mysterious stranger that Trex worries could be a Company representative. This novel delivers on its engaging Stranger Things–meets-superheroes hook with a well-plotted mystery that balances action, friendship, and thoughtful discussion of mental health. Although some plot revelations are delivered too conveniently, the book’s major twist pays off and fuels an action-packed second half. Both protagonists are presumed white.
VERDICT A worthwhile purchase with cross-cutting appeal for readers of mystery, science fiction, or heartfelt friendship narratives; hand to fans of Greg Van Eekhout or Stacy McAnulty.

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