CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 1. . . .September 6, 2013
The Hypnotists is the most recent novel by the prolific juvenile fiction author Gordon Korman. Twelve-year-old Jackson “Jax” Opus is a regular kid. He lives in New York City, plays basketball, and passes his free time with his best friend Tommy Cicerelli. But unlike other kids, Jax has an unknown secret power – he’s a hypnotist. While on a class trip, Jax unknowingly hypnotizes a professional hypnotist which grabs the attention of the Sentia Institute. The Sentia Institute, a hypnotist school in New York City, is operated by the powerful Dr. Elias Mako who is constantly searching for the next, best hypnotist. Jax agrees to attend Sentia after school, but once he starts at Sentia, it becomes clear to Dr. Mako that Jax is not a regular hypnotist. Jax is a descendent from two of the most prominent hypnotist families in history, the Opuses and the Sparkses, which has granted him a natural gift for hypnotism like no others before him. While Jax enjoys studying at Sentia, he learns that Dr. Mako is not as he appears and that his motivations for harnessing Jax’s powers are much more insidious than we could ever imagine. The book culminates in a battle between the Mako and Jax, with the help of other hypnotists.
The story is narrated in third person, and Korman does a good job of integrating elements of humor, fantasy, and adventure. Korman was smart to make Jax’s superpower hypnotism because there is a level of familiarity with hypnotism that allows Jax’s story to take place in a realistic world. By writing about hypnotism, Korman’s able to create a fantastical realm while maintaining realism and ground his story in a modern city without the story feeling overdone or unbelievable.
Kerri Hutchinson lives in Waterloo, ON, and is a Branch Librarian for North Perth Public Library in Atwood, ON.
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