“Michael Vey” is an enjoyable young-adult novel that calls to mind the popular television series “Heroes.” The protagonist, Michael Vey, appears to be an average 14-year-old, although he has Tourette syndrome. That, however, is enough to get him bullied at his high school in Idaho by Jack and his gang.
When Jack thinks Michael told the principal he had been causing problems, Jack and his gang attack Michael after school. A cheerleader named Taylor sees what is happening and urges them to leave Michael alone. Finally, Michael can’t take any more abuse and zaps them with electricity. As they writhe in pain on the ground, Michael warns them never to touch him again.
Then Michael realizes that Taylor has seen it all. When he gets home, he tells his mother what happened. Because Michael and his mom have had to move before when he has used his powers to defend himself, his mother explains that he has to hide his powers. It’s simply too dangerous to let others know of his special gift, she says.
At school, Taylor sends Michael several notes asking about his powers, and they decide to meet at her house after school. He finds out that she has a special gift, too.
She can “reboot” people and put ideas into their heads. She also can read their minds if she touches them. Michael and Taylor also discover that their birthdays are one day apart. They decide to start a club with Michael’s best friend, Ostin, and call it the Electroclan.
At school, Michael gains new popularity because other students know he beat up Jack. Also, Michael and Taylor begin looking into their births. They find out that they were both born at Pasadena General Hospital. Taylor, who is adopted, tries to search for their birth records and finds out that the birth records for 11 days at that hospital are missing — including the days they were born. They also discover that in that same span, there were 59 births at the hospital but only 17 babies survived.
Ostin, a very bright student, learns that Elgin, an international medical equipment provider, had created a new ultrasound machine called an MEI. Some of the babies inadvertently exposed to this machine years ago died, while others acquired remarkable powers. Ostin also realizes that when Taylor looked up the hospital records on the Internet, she left a trail.
After celebrating Michael’s birthday, Michael, his mom and Ostin are confronted by a man with two teenagers. When the man tells Michael that he has been looking for him for a very long time, Michael passes out. He wakes up in the hospital, where he learns that his mother has been kidnapped and Taylor has disappeared. Michael and Ostin go on a quest to get them both back.
“Michael Vey,” which leads to a sequel, is a good story, one whose appeal might not be limited to young adult readers. Michael is an exciting character who must decide whether to use his powers for evil or good. Ostin and Taylor are also likeable characters. The author, Richard Paul Evans, also wrote “The Christmas Box” and other bestsellers for adults as well as young readers.
Maggie Braun is a teacher at Manhattan High School.