Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans (2011)


This sci-fi/action story is one of the most popular books among middle schoolers at my library.

Recommended grade level: 6-10

Pages: 326 (for ISBN 9781451656503)

Genre(s) and keywords: action, science fiction

Tone/Style: mysterious, exciting

Pace: moderate to fast

Topics: powers (supernatural), fitting in, rescue, escape

Themes: parent/child relationships, friendship, being different, young people being used by adults

Summary: To everyone at Meridian High School, fourteen-year-old Michael Vey is nothing special, just the kid who has Tourette’s syndrome. But in truth, Michael is extremely special—he has electric powers. Michael thinks he is unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor has the same mysterious powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, Ostin, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up with their abilities, and their investigation soon brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the electric teens—and through them, the world.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Richard Paul Evans introduces a character whose risk-filled exploration marks the beginning of a riveting new series. With only his powers, his wits, and his friends to protect him, Michael will need all his strength to survive…. (Source)

Who will like this book?: The sci-fi action of this book is reminiscent of the superhero movies that draw such huge crowds right now. Michael isn’t a very popular kid and suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome, so readers who like to see an underdog rise up will enjoy this. This is an especially easy sell to boys.

Who won’t like this book?: This is a pretty typical action/sci-fi book, and may be boring to those seeking something new or exciting. Some readers may find its female characters lacking. Those looking for emotional and internal conflict will not find much in this book.

Other comments: This series really has exploded at my library. It’s become quite popular elsewhere, but still, it seems that other local libraries often have in on shelf while mine does not. It’s cool to see kids talking to their friends about a book and making it a local success through word of mouth. This first title in the series also won our state book award, the Rebecca Caudill, in 2016.

Sequel(s): Rise of the Elgen (2012); Battle of the Ampere (2013); Hunt for the Jade Dragon (2014); Storm of Lightning (2015); and Fall of Hades (2016).

Readalikes: There’s a whole slew of similar books on the sci-fi/action spectrum: the Alex Rider Adventures by Anthony Horowitz, the Quantum Prophecy series by Michael Carroll, the Maximum Ride series by Anthony Horowitz, the CHERUB series by Robert Muchamore,  and the Virals series by Kathy Reichs, to name a few.


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