Help with this book!

So, after @AlSP used this to find a movie title, I decided to do the same with a book I’ve been trying to remember for years.
This may be more of a question for teenberries, as it’s designed for children/teens, maybe age 10 and up- and it was so good! I remember more random details than the overarching plot, so here’s what I remember:

  • A woman comes to this boy’s house and gives him a test by having him look at a photo. She then takes it away and asks normal memory questions about it, but then asks what was in the gift box in the corner. It was closed, so there was no way he would know, but somehow it comes to him: a stuffed penguin. She then has him do this mental “journey” thing where he is on a city street inside his mind and there’s a word written on the sidewalk. She asks him what it is, and he tells her, correctly.
  • He then goes to this boarding school with other kids who have a talent like him. They go into these thought tank things that take each to their own simulated reality where they develop their talent.
  • there are these twins that aren’t at the school whose mother is the villain. One of the twins is clearly more talented than the other and the other despises him for it
  • At one point, the bully at the boarding school and the protagonist have to fly on a helicopter together for some reason. They’re told to make sure not to think about the helicopter crashing or anything because they can control things with their mind, so it might actually happen. The bully tells the protagonist that his dad once told him that the best way to get someone to think about purple elephants is to tell them to not think about purple elephants
  • the protagonist at one point has to enter the mind of an author he loves, and while there, he sneaks a peek at the book she’s currently writing
  • I’m pretty sure the protagonist kills one of the bad twins?

Anyway, I’ve been trying to figure it out forever! It’s driving me crazy! Pleeeeaaaaseee help!

P.S. I’m just gonna tag @Sky85 because she is a pro at this!!

Trying to find it out now. I’m like, so dedicated to this stuff now lol. As soon as I figure it out, I’ll get back.

I tried cross referencing all of the keywords here like helicopter, twins, boarding school, talent, purple elephants and penguin but all that got me was some super weird book findings. I found one that sort of fit the bill with a boy sent to boarding school for the gifted which is called The Academy ([name_u]Steel[/name_u] Trapp #2) but I really couldn’t find any bits that I could read about to see if that was the one you are looking for. I’m still looking just in case that may not be the one you are thinking of

There is also a book called The Mysterious [name_m]Benedict[/name_m] Society, but no reference to a penguin or helicopter, just apparent keywords of twins, box, test, photo, city street and school for the gifted. Not sure if that’s it either so I’m going to see if I can find anymore

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I LOOOOVE THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY but it’s not the first or second book of that series…I haven’t read the rest yet

I know that it’s not the Mysterious [name_m]Benedict[/name_m] Society (although I love those!) and the Academy doesn’t sound completely right, but thank you so much for looking! No pressure if you want to give up :smile:!

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what was the protagonist’s name? That would probably narrow it down

Er… I read it a very long time ago!
[I don’t remember]

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do you remember the era when it was published? like the 1950s or the 200s?

Probably not cause only I look at every single publication date

It was definitely modern writing- no earlier than the 1990s!

still looking…did the book specifically say boarding school at any time or just school? and was it gifted or talented or what?

It was a boarding school but I don’t know if they explicitly said “boarding school” and I don’t know if it was called gifted or anything.

The Wonderful [name_u]Story[/name_u] of [name_m]Henry[/name_m] [name_f]Sugar[/name_f]?

No, but thanks

I’ve been looking for you, trying my hardest! I know how frustrating it is to not be able to find a book, I’ve been looking for a specific book for years!!

I haven’t come across anything except The Mysterious [name_m]Benedict[/name_m] Society. [name_f]Do[/name_f] you happen to remember anything else? [name_m]Even[/name_m] something that seems small or unimportant?

Um, the photograph from my first bullet point was of a christmas scene. First, she asks him basic memory questions like “how many stockings” and “what is the child’s name” (It’s written on one of the stockings"
And on the mental journey thing I wrote about, I think it’s next to a church.

I looked for about 15 minutes and couldn’t find it…this tool is what I used

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hopefully it’s helpful!

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I don’t think this is it, but the HIVE series by [name_m]Mark[/name_m] [name_m]Walden[/name_m] keeps coming up, so I figured I’d comment it just in case

The tank you’re talking about; Is it a sensory deprivation tank?