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Literature / The Ables

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The Ables is a Young Adult novel written by Jeremy Scott, one of the founders of CinemaSins.

Philip Sallinger is blind, and telekinetic. The last part surprises him; his father tells him. Only one problem: no one thinks that Phillip is cut out to be a hero due to his blindness, and the school system puts him in a special needs class for those with powers. Determined to prove his bullies wrong, Phillip forms a hero team within the special needs class, while a mysterious man targets him.

It was followed by a sequel, Strings, in 2019.


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Tropes for this book include:

  • Always Save the Girl: Subverted. Though Phillip is tempted, he can't bring himself to surrender to the Finch to save his mother because he doesn't believe he's the chosen one that Finch thinks he is, and because he promised his father he would send a distress signal for help. Then Finch reveals he lied and wasn't planning to restore Mrs. Sallinger's life, in the hopes of awakening Phillip's latent powers.
  • Anyone Can Die
  • Ascended Extra: In the first book, Penelope was just a classmate of the team and not a member. In Strings, she's Bentley's girlfriend and one of the members of the Ables.
  • Asshole Victim: Subverted. Phillip is horrified when the Finch murders Steve just because he happens to be standing in his way. Steve was a bully, but by no means deserving to be killed during a training exercise.
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  • The Atoner: Mr. Charles considers himself this. However, when Finch attacks Freepoint and Mr. Chales initially refuses to help, Phillip gives him a "Reason You Suck" Speech calling him a coward for refusing to fight back.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Verging on Downer Ending almost; Finch succeeds in wiping out a good portion of Freepoint and escaping with most of his followers before the bomb hits full impact, but Donnie prevents the bomb from killing everyone at the cost of his life, unless he's unable to come home. Patrick gets his powers and becomes an honorary Able. The Ables continue to meet and will participate in the Super Sims, now that they've gotten their status and reputation restored, in honor of Donnie's memory.
    • Strings has one as well that is equally bitter. Marian Ettinger is captured and custodians' status is somewhat improved, but Washington D.C. is destroyed, Henry is dead, Fantastic Racism against custodians is still everywhere, Phillip's emotional state has gotten worse, and Henry's death has alienated Phillip from his friends.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Played With by Marian Ettinger. Her plot hinges on making the world at large hate custodians and want to see them locked up, despite being a custodian herself.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: While beating up the Finch and nearly killing him, Phillip shouts that his grandfather didn't have to murder his mother to try and find out if Phillip was the chosen one. He could have just been a grandfather and a part of their family, the way Charles was.
  • Fallen Hero: Mr. Charles betrayed and killed his partner Thomas Sallinger. Except Thomas Sallinger isn't really dead, and it turns out he was the true Fallen Hero.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Finch seems pleasant enough at first. The act falls apart by the climax.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Henry in Strings, to stop Marian Ettinger.
  • Karma Houdini: Finch teleports away with a number of his surviving followers before the bombs hit. Though now he's the most wanted man in the United States.
  • Kick the Dog: Chad and Finch sabotage the Ables' second Super Sims run, for no real reason.
  • Killed Offscreen: James dies in the comic tie-in, The Hero's Journey. Not technically offscreen, but if you just read the two books, you would be left confused.
  • The Load: Freddie can't effectively use his powers in the first book due to his asthma. Bentley finds a workaround for him before the events of Strings.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The Finch is actually Phillip's grandfather, Thomas. He didn't die when he was struck by lightning and fell.
  • The Mole: Chad was one, coerced by Finch into giving up an arm for the Believers cause and to spy on The Ables.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: We finally learn why Charles turned on Thomas Sallinger; he reveals before he dies that he saw Thomas was becoming obsessed with power and with the prophecy and acted on the spur of the moment.
  • People Puppets: Marian Ettinger's power.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • As strong of a telepath as Henry is, having him be the eyes for two other members of his team as well as himself probably wasn't such a good idea. James gets killed as a result.
    • Having taken part in multiple life-or-death battles while still a young teen hasn't been good for Phillip's emotional state.
  • Sacrificial Lamb: Finch kills Mrs. Sallinger, Phillip's mother, after leaving her in a coma for weeks.
  • The Unchosen One: It turns out that Phillip was not the reincarnation of Elben, as Finch had predicted. Donnie ended up being The Chosen One who would rise to the occasion and save everyone, but as Henry angrily points out, Finch is the reason that the Ables exist and that they survived the Believers' onslaught.
  • This Is Not a Drill: The Super Sims end up being completely useless when a real emergency happens.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Phillip and Henry.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It doesn't say if Chad got away with Finch or was killed during the explosion.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Phillip receives one from Mrs. Crouch for his excessive moping and taking advantage of others after the death of his mother.
    • In Strings, Henry chews Phillip out for taking him for granted. Phillip in turn accuses Henry of wasting his potential. The rift doesn't last long.


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