So I read a book back in school (2000s), didn't finish it for whatever reason, and have been unable to remember the name or anything outside of a few small details.

Note, it's not Ender's Game or The Giver.

The details I know are:

  • Main characters are boys aged 8-17ish.
  • They're raised in a school/facility of sorts where everything adheres to a strict schedule.
  • They sleep in 'pods' and have very little freedom.
  • The main boys (I forget but I think there are 2-3) want to escape or to at least see the outside world.
  • When they try to do so, the 'teacher' of sorts (as well as a security team) go after them. The teacher is an ex-soldier or special force unit, as when he gets hit in the face and his nose is broken, he is able to mentally move the pain around. As in, concentrate and move it from his broken nose to another part of his body to 'deal with later', so he can continue to chase after the boys.

That's all I have, but I would really appreciate any help! I've been looking for years. :(


This sounds like the beginning of the The Supernaturalist by Eoin Colfer.

  • published in 2004
  • the protagonist is 14 and lives in the Clarissa Frayne Institute for Parentally Challenged Boys, where he's forced to act as a human guinea pig for experimental product testing
  • the boys sleep in cut off pipe sections
  • when they try to escape, the Marshall gets injured in the nose but ignores the pain so that he can catch up to them.

Marshal Redwood did not pass out. He wasn’t that lucky. Instead, a block of pain battered him like a malignant glacier. He combated the agony using a trick from his army days. Locate the white centre of the pain and concentrate on it. Redwood found, to his surprise, that the root of his pain was not his nose, but in the middle of his forehead. He focused on the spot, sucking the pain in and containing it. He trapped it there long enough to pop a pain tab from its plastic bubble in his medi-kit. Barely a minute later the pain receded to a dull throb behind one ear. Under control. For now.

  • Huh. I had only ever experienced that story as a comic book. – FuzzyBoots May 31 '16 at 13:58
  • @tehanu Sorry for not being able to respond directly, but this is Dot! My email never notified me that people had responded, and now two years later I suddenly remembered to check back, and you've done it! Thank you so much, it is absolutely The Supernaturalist. I made an account just to hopefully post this and say how thankful I am. – Dot May 27 '18 at 3:59
  • Hey, @Dot! You appear to have accidentally created two accounts; for help getting back into your old account (where you'll be able to "accept" the answer and mark it as solved by clicking the gray checkmark under the voting buttons on the answer), you can see this article in the help center. Thanks for checking back! – Mithical May 27 '18 at 8:56

It sounds a little bit like the first part of "Hybrid Children of the Stars", but it's a young boy and a girl who escape, and they escape through a portal (to Earth), not by breaking out.


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