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The Hypnotist #1
by Gordon Korman
Jax’s eyes have always changed colors. And when people begin doing exactly what Jax tells them, he wonders if there is more to his color-changing eyes than he knows. Soon, Jax finds himself invited to meet Dr. Mako. Dr. Mako promises to teach Jax to harness the power to hypnotize people.
Excited by the prospect of learning more about his powers, Jax falls under Dr. Mako’s spell. However, Jax begins to wonder why Dr. Mako is so interested in his powers. Jax isn’t sure if Dr. Mako can be trusted. Soon Jax is tangled in a web of deception. Jax must figure out how to save his best friend, his parents, and the United States from Dr. Mako’s evil plan.
Jax’s newly emerging power adds humor and suspense to The Hypnotist. Younger readers will enjoy watching Jax learn to use his power and struggle with the responsibility of being able to hypnotize others. Jax works through many of his problems by talking to his best friend Tommy. This allows the reader to understand Jax’s emotions. The relationship between Jax and Tommy adds to the story’s plot and helps keep the story’s tone kid friendly. Even though much of the conflict revolves around Dr. Mako, who turns out to be an evil villain, the violence is age appropriate for children because it is not described in detail or in a scary manner.
- A man is hypnotized and ordered to jump off a bridge. Jax, “could hear the sound of someone in terrible distress, sobbing as if the end of the world were at hand . . . they watched in horror as the young man hoisted himself over the barrier and stood poised, trembling, on the narrow ledge.” Jax re-hypnotizes the man and saves his life.
- Dr. Mako puts a post-hypnotic suggestion on Jax’s parents. If Jax doesn’t do what Dr. Mako wants, he will tell Jax’s parents to kill themselves. Dr. Mako tells Jax, “I won’t mention the trigger word yet. It’s too dangerous. When they hear it, both your parents will proceed to the nearest subway station and throw themselves in front of an uptown train.”
- Jax parents throw themselves in front of a train. No one is injured.
- Dr. Mako hypnotizes Jax and has him jump off a building. A mob of people hold up curtains and catch Jax, which prevents him from being killed.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Many of the characters in the book can hypnotize others. One of the character’s specialties is, “A series of post-hypnotic suggestions that could be activated later.”
- Throughout the story, many characters are hypnotized without their knowledge.
- When Jax is learning to hypnotize others, he learns that, “the mesmeric connection is a powerful coupling of two minds. . . When you ‘see’ through your subject’s eyes, you’ve admitted a stranger’s consciousness into your head.”