18 hours ago
Friday, July 2, 2010
review of White Cat
by Holly Black
Young Adult Paranormal Fiction
Available now in hardcover
You know what I love? I love when a book takes place inside a slightly different version of the world you know, and the author assumes that you're already familiar with those differences. Rather than taking pages and pages to explain the history of this not-quite-the-same place, the author throws in references that explain the little ways in which the world she's created is different from ours. It feels more natural that way. Holly Black's White Cat is this kind of novel. Her America is the same as ours in every way but one: a small percentage of the population can work a curse on you if their bare hands come in contact with your skin.
Cassel Sharpe comes from a family of curse workers, but he himself is not a worker. Until the night he wakes up on the edge of his dorm's roof, he is just a normal kid trying to get through school without making a splash. His sleepwalking episode is seen as a cry for help and he is suspended from school until he's been evaluated by a doctor.
Cassel returns to his family home and begins to realize that not everything is as it seems. His sister-in-law is hearing strange music. His brothers are acting secretive. A white cat is following him everywhere--even into his dreams. And his mom is about to get out of prison. Suddenly Cassel is on a hunt for the truth, but he doesn't know if he wants to find it.
I devoured this book in less than a day. Usually I don't go in for paranormal-type stuff, but Holly Black did a great job of working the paranormal elements into a novel that could stand up on its own. Cassel is the son of a con man--or con woman--and he struggles between his love for the con and his moral compunctions. I liked him a lot, and I hope I get to hear more from him in Red Glove.