Grinti, Mike and Rachel. Claws.
24 May 2012, Chicken House
Emma's sister Helena has been missing for several months. Her father can't handle this and has had to close down his Vietnamese restaurant and move the family to a decrepit trailer out near the woods, which is where the crags live. Crags refer to any magical creatures like trolls, dwarves, hags, etc., and Emma's father thinks that by living nearer the creatures he stands a better chance at getting information about his daughter. Emma would like to help, and when a magical cat named Jack shows up in her room and offers to make her into the Pride Heart of his group, she accepts. She will have magical abilities and be able to find her sister. The other members of the pride are not happy that she was human, and the humans in her world are not happy that she now is magical. She gets thrown out of school and sent on an adventure that takes her into all manner of danger and magic. When she finally locates Helena, it's harder to rescue her than she imagined, because Helena doesn't want to be rescued. She is in love with a faery, Corbin, and hopes to be turned into a faery herself. Can Emma learn enough magic in order to save her sister and her family?
Strengths: Good use of an innovative magical world-- the existence of crags is presented as fact and this sucked me right into the world. Readers who like the Warriors books will find enough clan details to make them happy, and I found it easier to get through than those books because the characters do not change names nor eat a lot of voles. This reminded me a bit of Gregor the Overlander.
Weaknesses: Talking animals are always hard for me to read, and other than Warriors readers, I'm not quite sure who the audience would be.
Random Thoughts: Read Michelle Bergstein's Women From the Ankle Down: The Story of Shoes and How They Define Us, which was quite interesting, even if it lacked pictures. It made me feel very old to realize that the modern "tennis shoes" (running shoe) had basically been invented in my lifetime, and that no one seems to understand what a "school shoe" is anymore. Certainly wasn't a sneaker, when I was growing up long, long ago when dinosaurs roamed the earth. We won't even talk about the fact that when I was in 6th grade we were allowed to wear any color of jeans but blue to school, since jeans were strictly work clothes.
Then the plumber asked me if I was over 55. Nice guy, just wanted to save me some money, I'm sure. But this was a milestone. And he didn't ask it like "You're NOT 55, are you?"
Perhaps I should have said yes and gotten the discount!