I liked this book, but I probably would have liked it better had it not been so similar to the "Harry Potter" series.
"Jolted" is a YA book about a boy named Newton Starker. Newton's entire family has been killed by being struck by lightning- it seems to be a curse associated with being a Starker. Newton is determined to escape this curse by surviving so he enrolls in The Jerry Potts Academy of Higher Learning and Survival to help him learn how to survive in the most extreme conditions. The book chronicles Newton's first semester at the school, including his making of new friends, his adjusting to life away from home, and his adopting of a Truffle-sniffing pig from France.
The book was cute, but I couldn't help but notice the sheer number of similarities between this book and the Harry Potter series, which made "Jolted" lose points for originality in my opinion. Harry Potter is an orphan, Newton's mother was killed by lightning. Both children attend special boarding schools, both have one male and one female friend, and both are up against and unknown force (Harry Potter is up against Lord Voldemort, Newton is against lightning). Both boys have unusual pets (Harry an owl, Newton a pig). You get the point.
I have no doubt that "Jolted" will be popular with the younger set who kind of missed the whole Harry Potter book thing, but it needs to strive to be more original to make me pick up the next one. Thanks to HarperCollins' Facebook group for this copy!