The Medusa Project: The Set-Up by Sophie McKenzie (July 2009, Simon & Schuster Children's, ISBN: 9781847385253)
I'm Nico and what I'm about to tell you is Secret and Dangerous and True. It's also several planetary systems beyond Weird. Here's How it started....
Review: Our narrator is Nico a fourteen-year-old who lives with his stepfather (who is also his headmaster) at a boarding school in London.
Nico has the hots for his best friend Ketty, a very keen runner but when in assembly he sees another boy's arm around her, he gets angry and jealous. And that's when the furniture starts flying around. Nico realises it's him causing the havoc, he's telekinetic! Fergus puts it down to a freak storm but he calls Nico over and tells him not to do it again and that his power is evil. So when Nico gets an anonymous text from someone offering to tell him about his ability, he can't resist.
He meets up with a man called Jack who also introduces him to an American girl called Dylan. Jack explains that there are four of them with the Medusa gene which gives each of them a psychic ability of some sort and that he has been hired to track down all four children. Nico doesn't ask too many questions - he just wants to get money to impress Ketty and pay for her trip to a Scottish running event.
Initially things go well, but when the formula for the gene turns up, a gene that can kill, Nico's conscience won't allow the formula to be sold. Life becomes dangerous for Nico and his friends as they put their own lives in jeopardy...
The Set-Up is an easy read with an entertaining if very naive narrator. Unfortunately, I didn't find any of the main characters particularly likeable and Nico's habit of calling Ketty 'babe' irritated me. Though the story is well paced and eventful, I didn't feel that it offered that many surprises but I'm a rather older and jaded reader than the target audience and a friend's fourteen-year-old couldn't put it down.
Each of the four books has a different narrator and the second book, The Hostage, is out in January. This series should appeal equally to boys and girls.
Cover: An enticing cover which accurately depicts the two girls, though I'm less sure about the boys!