A Circle of Five, The Pha-Yul Trilogy by Jan Raymond: A Book Review

Circle of FiveFive students are sent to detention for various reasons. When an electric storm erupts there is a disturbance but they wake the next day with very little remembrance of it but a shared confused. That’s not all they share now. What really happened is that Ryan, Cassie, Sam, Sebastian, and Maya are infused with special power.

I don’t want to spill any spoilers but i do want to emphasize that the author very skillfully transitions the plot from the “every day” high school drama played between these five to an “out-of-this-world” story-line that will keep the reader turning pages.

There are two teachers at the school who noticed the change in these five students. One of them, Mr. Harris, helps the five get control of their very special new powers. I won’t comment on the other teacher, because again, I’m not giving anything away.

The story centers on the five students, their relationship between each other and their growing understanding of a much bigger world than their small town school. And by bigger, I mean outside of the norm where time-travel is believable. There is nothing unusual about their school and their society, with drugs and booze available they must scale their desire to be like everyone else because their destiny is larger than what they know is apparent. Despite their differences and their “normal” dramas about class schedules and girlfriends and boyfriends, they must learn to get along and to help each other out, especially when one of them goes missing.

One central drama centers around the wealth or lack of wealth between the five and how this creates tension, there is also racial tension, the tension created when one of the five lies about another, and the tension between the children and their parents. All very believable and because I used to teach high school, very realistic.

This may be a YA novel but it could be a middle-grade. I recommend for ages 9 to 16.

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