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From super speed to telekinesis, everyone in Hope’s world has special abilities. Through ill fate, she is born without any. Her peculiar case is a medical mystery which warrants comprehensive research and countless visits to the hospital. Hope undergoes painful tests and unorthodox treatments to cure her of her unique condition and make her normal while grappling with the p From super speed to telekinesis, everyone in Hope’s world has special abilities. Through ill fate, she is born without any. Her peculiar case is a medical mystery which warrants comprehensive research and countless visits to the hospital. Hope undergoes painful tests and unorthodox treatments to cure her of her unique condition and make her normal while grappling with the pitfalls of being different at school and leaving in the shadow of her multi-gifted younger brother. Will Hope ever gain abilities? Is there a place for her in a world where great emphasis is placed on special abilities? Special is an abstract look at the pressures of meeting the societal mould.


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From super speed to telekinesis, everyone in Hope’s world has special abilities. Through ill fate, she is born without any. Her peculiar case is a medical mystery which warrants comprehensive research and countless visits to the hospital. Hope undergoes painful tests and unorthodox treatments to cure her of her unique condition and make her normal while grappling with the p From super speed to telekinesis, everyone in Hope’s world has special abilities. Through ill fate, she is born without any. Her peculiar case is a medical mystery which warrants comprehensive research and countless visits to the hospital. Hope undergoes painful tests and unorthodox treatments to cure her of her unique condition and make her normal while grappling with the pitfalls of being different at school and leaving in the shadow of her multi-gifted younger brother. Will Hope ever gain abilities? Is there a place for her in a world where great emphasis is placed on special abilities? Special is an abstract look at the pressures of meeting the societal mould.

27 review for Special

  1. 5 out of 5

    Amanja

    This is the spoiler free review of Special, a YA novel that explores what it's like to be abnormal in a world full of special abilities. If you would like to read the spoiler full review please visit https://amanjareads.com/2020/04/06/sp... Thank you so much to author Chino Chakanga for providing me with a copy of Special in order to be able to give an honest review. Special takes place in a world where everyone is born with special abilities. Think any basic super-power like flight, invisibility, This is the spoiler free review of Special, a YA novel that explores what it's like to be abnormal in a world full of special abilities. If you would like to read the spoiler full review please visit https://amanjareads.com/2020/04/06/sp... Thank you so much to author Chino Chakanga for providing me with a copy of Special in order to be able to give an honest review. Special takes place in a world where everyone is born with special abilities. Think any basic super-power like flight, invisibility, shape-shifting, telekinesis, etc. Hope is a young girl who was born without any abilities. The gene that causes these powers is non-functioning in her DNA. Because of this she is considered a "maladroit." An adroit is one with many or very strong powers. Most people in this world fall somewhere in between. Hope's father can fly, has super strength, and super healing. Hope's best friend can turn invisible and phase through matter. Nearly everyone Hope knows is way more advanced than she is. Hope is undergoing painful and extreme treatment plans to attempt to activate her ability gene. She hates needles and she hates the disappointment that comes with every failed treatment. She believes that she lets her parents down every time she doesn't gain powers. She also hates that the adroit bully her at school and that even her best friend is sick of hanging out with someone with no powers. Special follows Hope as she attempts to find her place in the world. It is a pretty standard young adult coming of age story. Hope is different and needs to learn how to use that to her advantage instead of just accepting being labeled as less than everyone else. It's a simple story that follows well known territory but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it's comforting to read a familiar story with a happy ending. We root for Hope and know that by the end she will certainly prevail. It's a very cute book that will make you smile and give you a solid distraction for an afternoon. It's a quick read and could be finished in just a few hours. It also has some fun action and just enough drama to make high school sound like the hormone pit that it is. I particularly enjoyed the relationships between high school kids. Hope meets a very nice boy who can manipulate the growth of plants and it warms the heart to see how they interact with all of the innocence and awkwardness of youth. Pick it up and follow Hope as she journeys through the first of her many adventures as someone who is not only different but truly special.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Mitchell

    ~About Special, by Chino Chakanga is an inspiring tale following teenager Hope, the girl who never developed any special abilities, unlike her peers. Diagnosed with ADSD (Ability Dysfunction Spectrum Disorder), Hope spends most of her time seeing doctors who hope to ‘fix’ her. Finally having had enough, Hope decides to stop all treatment and embarks on a journey of self-acceptance. ~Characters At fifteen years old, Hope struggles alongside her peers, seeing their powerful abilities day in and day ou ~About Special, by Chino Chakanga is an inspiring tale following teenager Hope, the girl who never developed any special abilities, unlike her peers. Diagnosed with ADSD (Ability Dysfunction Spectrum Disorder), Hope spends most of her time seeing doctors who hope to ‘fix’ her. Finally having had enough, Hope decides to stop all treatment and embarks on a journey of self-acceptance. ~Characters At fifteen years old, Hope struggles alongside her peers, seeing their powerful abilities day in and day out. She is jaded in a way I felt able to empathize with, when you’re treated as broken simply for being born different. Hope represented an underdog character, one I rooted for all the way. While there were many interesting characters, I’d like to focus next on Hope’s best friend Allie. Naïve and trusting, Allie’s relationship with Hope ends up fracturing when (discovering new powers) Allie is adopted by the popular kids. Allie’s character was crucial for Hope’s growth as an individual, pushing her to a new extreme when it came to comparing her lack of ability with the powerful popular kids. Without this push to consider how she felt about herself vs others, I don’t think Hope would have grown as much as a character. ~Likes My greatest love in regards to this story would be the parallel drawn to Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). As someone on the spectrum, I found this book to be a wonderful look at how Autistic people (and those different to the majority in general) are currently treated by the medical industry. Lack of self-acceptance (and acceptance of difference in general) makes me sad because I feel like Autistic individuals have much to offer the world but don’t often get a chance to demonstrate this. Throughout the story, we see how the medical industry goes to great lengths to ‘fix’ or normalize the kids diagnosed with ADSD and the detrimental effect of this so called treatment on the physical and mental health of teens like Hope. Hope is left feeling worthless, as though she’ll never be considered normal or good enough, something no young person or anyone for that matter, should have to feel simply for being different. I felt the author did well to show how Hope’s past painful memories were jolted to the front of her mind by her struggle to accept herself as is. Her more emotional moments really got to me and I couldn’t help from tearing up. Hers is a journey that many people are going through right now, albeit minus the super-abilities or lack thereof. Special is well-written, emotional, and thought provoking, with much wisdom peppered throughout. Themes of social labels and difference are heavily emphasized and explored in an imaginative way. ~Memorable Quotes With this book, I found it impossible to settle on one quote, or even three, so today I give you four wise quotes that I feel our society needs to hear more often. 1) ‘You can’t change the perspective of others, but you can change yours.’ 2) ‘It’s funny how you could be surrounded by so many people, yet feel so alone.’ 3) ‘It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about you. The only thing that matters is what you think. You’ve got nothing to prove to anyone. You’re good enough as you are.’ 4) ‘We often get so caught up in competition that we forget we all matter. We separate ourselves from others. We see each-other too much as rivals that we tend to forget why we’re all striving for success- we all just want to be happy.’ ~Overview I cannot praise Special, by Chino Chakanga enough. This is one of those tales that really moved me and connected with me on a deeply personal level. Definitely a book to buy in print and re-read in the future. My rating: 5 stars. Recommended for lovers of urban fantasy that like characters who undergo personal transformation.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Pages For Thoughts

    Special is one of my favorite books that I have read in a long time. Rather than the popular topic of the protagonist struggling with having powers, Special explores the opposite with a girl who is struggling in a world where everyone has powers but her. Similar with taboos on those with mental illness or learning disabilities, Special touches on modern-world injustices and biases against those who are "less" than others, as well as the extreme lengths one will go to gain equality. What is so in Special is one of my favorite books that I have read in a long time. Rather than the popular topic of the protagonist struggling with having powers, Special explores the opposite with a girl who is struggling in a world where everyone has powers but her. Similar with taboos on those with mental illness or learning disabilities, Special touches on modern-world injustices and biases against those who are "less" than others, as well as the extreme lengths one will go to gain equality. What is so inspirational in this story is the message that nobody is hopeless; everybody has a purpose and can rise up to overcome anything if they can believe in themselves. Once Hope accepts who she is, she breaks down every wall put in her way. I love the doll on the cover because Hope has been a doll for years, being poked and prodded with dozens of surgeries. But over the course of the book, Hope regains her independence and confidence, no longer only being a doctor's toy. Another impressive thing to note is the connection to autism and those on the spectrum. Hope has Ability Dysfunction Spectral Disorder (ADSD or AD). There is also a subset called "High-Functioning AD". Sound familiar? Autistic people are four times as likely to experience depression. Hope goes through a really dark time and struggles with depression and feeling hopeless. Special dives deep into mental illness, too, even also touching on opiod addiction. Chakanga is skilled with being concise with her word choices while still being powerful. You can see this review and more at pagesforthoughts.blogspot.com

  4. 5 out of 5

    Nina

    “Hope is more powerful than fate.” I admit that it was the cover that attracted me to this book and a part of me did expect a totally different story. The blurb also did not give me much to go on. Not that I’m complaining. I do like surprises. But not every reader can be that adventurous. I am not always that adventurous myself. So as fascinating as the cover may be, I can’t help thinking how ill-suited it is to the story contained within this book, and that it’s making the book miss o “Hope is more powerful than fate.” I admit that it was the cover that attracted me to this book and a part of me did expect a totally different story. The blurb also did not give me much to go on. Not that I’m complaining. I do like surprises. But not every reader can be that adventurous. I am not always that adventurous myself. So as fascinating as the cover may be, I can’t help thinking how ill-suited it is to the story contained within this book, and that it’s making the book miss out on its intended audience. And that’s just sad, because Special was such a pleasant surprise for me. Hope Goodman lives in a world where normal means having superhuman abilities: the kind that typical superheroes have. And what makes her special in this kind of society is that she’s nothing special at all. Despite coming from an impressive lineage, Hope ends up getting the short end of the stick. She’s born with a rare type of genetic condition—so rare that it was named after the paediatrician who diagnosed her—that keeps her from manifesting any superhuman ability. Nope, not even a teeny-tiny spark of it. Her mom, however, refuses to give up and is pretty adamant about getting her all possible types of treatment out there. Elle Goodman has her reasons for doing this, and that scene where she finally put into words her deep-seated guilt, is just one of a handful of really touching family interactions in this book that gripped at my heart, poked at my soul, and brought genuine tears to my eyes. Add to this the kind of treatment Hope gets from school, where she has been dubbed as “Hopeless,” lumped in with the “maladroit” losers, loses her best friend to the reigning clique, and unintentionally inspires a villain’s rebellious ideals. Yaiks! That’s a lot to deal with for a girl of fifteen. And where this book really shines is in how it allowed the old Hope to break apart so that a new and stronger version can emerge. I liked that it didn’t dwell too long on the drama, but instead managed to really dig deep with a few well chosen words. And although all the sciencey stuffs just made my head spin in an axis not its own, I do admire the diligence that was used in putting them all together in a way that made it all believable to a layman like me. One thing that didn’t really sit well with me, though, is the in-story book called, “The Hunter’s Curse.” Although it did eventually play a role in the story, I was hoping for a more concrete representation of it. Something that’s not just implied in the characters’ opinions of the book and its movie adaptation (which really felt like wasted wordcount to me), but is instead shown in some way – perhaps a scene, a passage from “The Hunter’s Curse” itself, etc. Just something to make it really exist in the story instead of merely serving as a point of comparison. So, does Hope eventually get her own superpower? Then again, will it even really matter in the end? Because beyond the superhero stuffs, Special is really about finding one’s truth, voice and courage in a world that tries to stifle uniqueness with blind conformity. And more than the superpowers, the value of being true to herself is the most important thing that Hope needs to learn. Elle Goodman herself says it best: “Normal is boring. You are special.” I received a digital copy of this book to review from the author via Vibe Reviews.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kristel Greer

    I was sent a copy of Special by Chino Chakanga for review. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~. What if the superhero world was flipped on its head and that being "super" was the "norm" and being without powers singled you out as different? That is what Hope's life is like. In a family where her mam, dad and kid brother all have super powers and some have multiple ones, she is left feeling alone, inferior and set apart from her family as well as ridiculed at school. Her best friend who had stood b I was sent a copy of Special by Chino Chakanga for review. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~. What if the superhero world was flipped on its head and that being "super" was the "norm" and being without powers singled you out as different? That is what Hope's life is like. In a family where her mam, dad and kid brother all have super powers and some have multiple ones, she is left feeling alone, inferior and set apart from her family as well as ridiculed at school. Her best friend who had stood by her, only recently manifested her powers but as she has an elite power of invisibility and walking through walls she has fallen in with the popular kids at school and slowly abandons her. On top of all this she is being constantly poked, prodded and subjected to experimental medical treatments to try to activate her dormant super power genes, all to no avail. When a person with super abilities goes on the rampage causing destruction, injuries and stealing medical property, Hope gets drawn into the path of the villain and finds that she may have more of a connection to them than she realised. Will her lack of abilities or powers be the death of her and her loved ones or will being different prove to be her saving grace? I loved this book so much. Full 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟. It was a creative and effective take on society's need for conformity and "normalising" everything one and everything. I felt this book championed the differences we have and our sense of self over that of making us all the same and fit a perfect standard. I felt it had a beautiful message that said we can't all be "normal" as normal doesn’t exist. What makes us different equally has value as what we have in common. I highly recommend this for all ages as it has a powerful point to make while also being a really compelling, interesting and inventive way to portray a superhero narrative. It also focused on the everyday human side of life too which balanced it out. Hope is a brave and unique character in more ways than one and a person I think we could all admire for her tenacity and strength during difficult physical and emotional times.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nico Bell

    Thank you for the free copy for review! I loved this premise! Humans have super abilities. Some people can fly and lift heavy items, while others zap through time and space. It’s a world where everyone has a super power. Everyone, except Hope. Hope can’t read minds or float through walls. She doesn’t have amplified hearing or telekinesis. She was born with an abnormality, and no amount of testing, probing, or extermination can change it. Teenage life is hard enough, but for Hope it means navigating Thank you for the free copy for review! I loved this premise! Humans have super abilities. Some people can fly and lift heavy items, while others zap through time and space. It’s a world where everyone has a super power. Everyone, except Hope. Hope can’t read minds or float through walls. She doesn’t have amplified hearing or telekinesis. She was born with an abnormality, and no amount of testing, probing, or extermination can change it. Teenage life is hard enough, but for Hope it means navigating high school as a freak. Until her lack of ability is the only thing that can save the world. This dynamic young adult novel is fun for readers of all ages. There are major Superman comic book vibes intertwined with Mean Girls insults. Hope represents all of us outcasts who struggled to find our footing in a society that seemed pitted against us. This is story about self-confidence and acceptance told through a unique universe. While the plot and characters leap off the page, the structure was a tad distracting. There are scene “snippets” that could have been cut to keep the tension reeling, and some of the dialogue seemed a bit too mature for teenagers; however, the theme sang through these minor issues and won me over. The dedication for this book reads, “For anyone who has ever felt different.” I agree.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gordon Long

    This is a Young Adult Sci-Fi novel based on a reversed society where almost everyone has some kind of magical superpower. Most people have two or three. The thematic element focuses on a child who has no power. This allows the author to investigate in a non-threatening way what it looks and feels like to be handicapped in any society. Hope, the main character, is a young person nearing the end of a long series of ultimately unsuccessful treatments to try to stimulate her latent superpowers. She i This is a Young Adult Sci-Fi novel based on a reversed society where almost everyone has some kind of magical superpower. Most people have two or three. The thematic element focuses on a child who has no power. This allows the author to investigate in a non-threatening way what it looks and feels like to be handicapped in any society. Hope, the main character, is a young person nearing the end of a long series of ultimately unsuccessful treatments to try to stimulate her latent superpowers. She is reaching the point where she’s ready to chuck it all, while her mother, driven by guilt because it is her genetic flaw that caused the problem, is ready to keep going forever. The psychology and motivation of the characters is dead on, and our sympathies are directed in multiple directions, which keeps the story interesting. The other conflict is the social situation at school, where bullying runs rampant. Hope goes through an increasing level of harassment, including the loss of her only friend to the snob group of the super gifted. Again, this is all laid out in a believable manner, making us feel even worse for the main character. The main flaw in this story that will bother more mature readers is that there is very little world building. The author doesn’t go much further than the original premise, with no thought given to what such a society might really be like. I also felt that the incredible amount of magic doled out to everyone got in the way of a realistic portrayal of how people might act, and this undercuts the suspense. When readers know that, whatever happens, someone will have enough magical power to fix it, it’s hard to get worried about what will happen next. But younger readers live in a simpler world and are not bothered by such sophistication. Recommended for pre-teen SF fans.

  8. 4 out of 5

    The Book Worm

    Special turns the tables and shows us a different definition of "normal". In a world where everyone has super-hero powers, Hope is the only one with no special abilities, and she is spurned by society because of it. I particularly loved the messages in this book. Even if it's more a teen/young adult kind of story, there are many adults out there who could benefit from reading it to learn that every human being is different and unique and that our differences should not only be accepted but embr Special turns the tables and shows us a different definition of "normal". In a world where everyone has super-hero powers, Hope is the only one with no special abilities, and she is spurned by society because of it. I particularly loved the messages in this book. Even if it's more a teen/young adult kind of story, there are many adults out there who could benefit from reading it to learn that every human being is different and unique and that our differences should not only be accepted but embraced. And also that no one really needs super powers to be a hero. Some parts of the book seem to give off too many details, but overall I loved it. I read Special in less than two days and I would totally give it to my kids to read in a couple of years. Recommended! I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are strictly my own.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Liliyana Shadowlyn

    Special is a powerful story of finding your way. It can be hard to be a kid or teen, especially when you're different from everyone around you. In a world where everyone is extraordinary, being normal is the worst thing for someone to be. Hope is struggling with being so different, feeling like a disappointment, and generally being an outcast. A story many can relate to, young or old, and one I highly recommend.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    I had the wonderful privilege of reading this book before it had been published. I encourage everyone to give this book a read. The writer is talented and this is one of those pieces you just cannot put down. Masterful writing with a meaningful, enticing plot.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Faizan

    I hate the message this book send.. but okay read... Detail review soon.. But in summary.. the moderators are the real enemy...always remember

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kat

    Everyone in the world has a special ability, from flying to weather manipulation. Everyone, that is, except Hope. Hope is perfectly normal. She has zero abilities and has spent years undergoing treatments in the hopes of developing one. But it’s this specialness that makes it possible for her to help save the world she loves despite being different. Most people have, at one time or another, felt different from everyone else. As soon as the author contacted me for a review, I knew I had to read th Everyone in the world has a special ability, from flying to weather manipulation. Everyone, that is, except Hope. Hope is perfectly normal. She has zero abilities and has spent years undergoing treatments in the hopes of developing one. But it’s this specialness that makes it possible for her to help save the world she loves despite being different. Most people have, at one time or another, felt different from everyone else. As soon as the author contacted me for a review, I knew I had to read this one. It wasn’t quite what I had expected, wasn’t quite as polished as I would have liked, but I adored the message contained within the pages, and sincerely hope this book can make it’s way into the hands of those who need that message. The Characters: So Many Incredible Special Abilities I really liked the characters and I really loved how their special abilities were just a natural part of their lives, an extension of who they were. Hope’s family felt incredibly normal despite the teleporting and flying around going on, and I adored her grandmother, who was just so sweet and smart. I did feel a little conflicted about Hope, though. As a teenager, I expected a bit more teenage angst, especially when it came to her treatments and how her schoolmates treated her. She seemed oddly well-adjusted and perfectly capable of coping, but her internal world revealed so much of her hurt that I wish it had been seen more in her outward behavior. In many ways she was just an average teen, but in other ways it felt like she was written a certain way for the sake of the story. Still, I found her to be interesting, noble, and quick on her feet. Hope’s classmates felt achingly familiar. You have your popular kids who have everything and can do anything, and then you have your outcasts everyone teases and bullies. Despite all the special abilities, it was a very normal high school. Hope often felt like an oasis of calm and acceptance as she navigated the school hallways, but it just highlighted how very different she was from everyone else. The Setting: Anywhere and Everywhere The setting felt very non-specific, as though it could have been anywhere in the world. There were a few landmarks like a mill outside of town and some woods, but, otherwise, I thought it could have taken place anywhere. While I enjoy well-defined settings, I really think it was great that this book did not have one. It really highlighted the universal feeling of being different. The one thing that really struck me was how organized the high school was in term of hierarchy. It was extremely well described and laid out and everyone fell neatly into a category. The culture of the school was defined and were both similar and different from my own experiences with high school. There were some things I could appreciate and others that felt a little new to me, but, then again, I enjoyed being different in high school and don’t normally read YA. Usually, I enjoy a well-defined sense of place, but the author means for this to be a book for anyone in the world who has ever felt different, so the non-specificity works. There are some defined parameters, just enough to give a bit of atmosphere and enough to say there is a thriving civilization, but the majority of it is up to the reader, which can really personalize the experience. The Plot: Focused on the High School Experience As much as I liked the characters and enjoyed the ambiguity of the setting, the plot was a bit of a letdown to me. I expected a book about a girl who is different and takes matters into her own hands to save her home. Instead, it felt more like Hope was struggling with being different and happened to fall into a situation where she had to save the day. Instead of being more active in saving her community, she felt more like an unwitting player, a pawn in someone else’s plans. There was more of a focus on the high school setting, of Hope and others similar to her being bullied and ostracized. It felt more like it was a book about high school than a book about how being different is a good thing and can actually save the day, so I was a little disappointed. I did like that there seemed to be a continuous forward motion, that small events kept happening that would build up to the last quarter of the book. Though the focus felt more like it was on high school, there were still pieces that tied a bit more to what the book description had to say, so that last quarter really made me happy. Overall: Tons of Potential With a Great Message I do think this book has a lot of potential. The writing was a bit rough and felt a little too plain, but I liked the message it carries, that it’s good to be different and that being different is what makes us unique and interesting. As someone who thrives on being different, this book really gives me hope that adolescents can find this story and take its message to heart. Overall, this is a simple book with a good message. Thank you to the author, Chino Chakanga, for a free e-copy. All opinions expressed are my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nikki Mitchell

  14. 5 out of 5

    Johannes Berndalen

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chino

  16. 4 out of 5

    Pancho Mulongeni

  17. 4 out of 5

    M.T. DeSantis

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nami

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Seaberg

  20. 5 out of 5

    M

  21. 4 out of 5

    Chisha

  22. 4 out of 5

    Neuravinci

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lucia

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Maerten-Moore

  25. 4 out of 5

    Al

  26. 4 out of 5

    Claire Davis

  27. 5 out of 5

    Evil Queen Books

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