by Stephen King
– The Sunday Times
"An absorbing thriller"
– Mail on Sunday
The book presents a fictional town called DuPray, Minnesota. Tim Jamieson, a police officer forced to resign after an accident that injured a civilian, started to hitchhike and he ends up in the DuPray where he gets a job as a night knocker.
Ellis is a 12yo boy who lives with his parents. He is a gifted child that had enrolled in MIT and had also telekinetic powers- he can move items with his mind. One night his parents are killed and he gets kidnapped by the Insitute.
When he woke up, he was in a room decorated exactly like the one he had at home, except with no windows. When he went on the corridos he meets Kalisha, another kidnapped child who told him that this place takes children with special powers- read minds, manipulate fire or telekinetic, and hold them in the Front Half section. There was also a Back Half, but nobody saw any child coming back from there.
The next day, Luke meets the other children Nick, Kalisha, Avery, George, and Iris. They warn him that the only way to survive at The Institute is by keeping his head down and doing exactly what the staff tells him to do. The scariest staff member is the director, Mrs Sigsby.
As time passed, Luke gets slapped, shocked with a Taser-like and almost drowned and he got a tracking implant in his ear.
Well-behaved children were given tokens that they could use to get cigarettes, alcohol, snacks, and access the laptop computers whit limited access, in their rooms.
There was a housekeeper, Maureen, who was considered a friend. Luke and Kalisha help her in exchange for tokens. Kalisha finds out true her telepathic powers that Maureen was sick. She was also in debt caused by her husband and trying to send money to her boy that was given up for adoption.
Luke ends up in the Back Half, where he finds the courage to master his abilities, so he can break out. Luke helped Maureen hire a lawyer to take care of her debt. In exchange, Maureen helped Luke to escape. He wanted to expose the Institute and save his friends from what he believed was certain death in the Back Half. After Luke was safely off the Institute’s grounds, she killed herself.
Luke ends in DuPray and meets Tim, who at first is sceptic about his story. Luke gives him a flash drive that Maureen had given him. The video shows Maureen talking about the Institute and then showed a video of the Back Half where children used up by the Institute wandered like dementia patients and were treated like animals. She also said that they use children's powers to kill dangerous people in the world.
When Tim and the others believed Luke, at this point an envoy of former military people from the Institute arrived in DuPray. During the gunfire, Luke, Tim and his girlfriend, Wendy, manage to escape.
Tim and Luke threatened Sigsby and Evans to the point that they directed them back to the Institute. Once arrived there, the children inside had united their powers to take down the caretakers and break free. Avery Dixon had strong telepathic powers and stayed behind and destroyed the building, killing him and the others inside.
Luke’s friends go to the family they have left and he stays with Tim.
Note: Some pieces of information are left out of the book.
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