Typically, gifted children in literature are portrayed as precocious brainiacs, striking it out on their own with little adult guidance. In The School for Gifted Potentials: Orientation, we meet Everett, who struggles to hide his giftedness under strict orders from his mother. Although Everett doesn't understand why his mother is so adamant that he act like the other children at school, while conversely making the effort to challenge his mind at home, he senses his mother's deep anxiety about his differences being discovered. In order to please his mother, Everett manages to hide his abilities for years.
Ultimately, though, he is discovered, and is sent to the School for Gifted Potentials for evaluation, which he does his best to fail.. Nevertheless, he is admitted and begins his one week orientation. No one at the school can understand his reluctance to attend, since being identified as a Gifted Potential is an honor. But, Everett's feelings are tainted by his mother's fears, so he finds himself overwhelmed with feelings of abandonment and anger, while experiencing joy at finally learning about his abilities and being able to explore his interests in an open and accelerated manner.
During the orientation, Everett, along with other new students, is introduced to Kazimierz Dabrowski's idea of overexcitabilities in the gifted. Through gently-led classes, Everett and his classmates discover which overexcitabilities they have, how these intensities are actually a benefit, and how best to manage them. Everett discovers other kids with intense feelings like his, as well as kids who experience completely different intensities.
As the story progresses, Everett begins to question his beliefs about his mother, his missing father, and the Chancellor. He also starts on his journey of self-discovery, which subsequent books promise to further explore.
The purpose of this book is to give gifted children a chance to see and better understand themselves in modern literature. They may relate to some of the overexcitabilities described, and even utilize some of the coping mechanisms. Also, gifted children may identify with the attempt to hide their abilities out of a desire to fit in. They may become more willing to accept who they are and what they're capable of becoming.
Although I enjoyed reading this book, speaking as an editor, I do wish the manuscript had been professionally edited. Typographical errors, odd formatting, and avoidable mistakes litter the text, interfering with the flow of the book. Perhaps future editions will address these issues.
Still, do not let the above comment prevent you from reading this novel. In fact, in true homeschooling style, use them as teachable moments.