White Cat

cover image for White CatBlack, Holly. (2010) White Cat.  New York, NY: Margaret K McElderry Books

Plot Synopsis:

 Cassel isn’t a good kid who dreams of being a hero, he’s a mundane born into a family or curseworkers that longs to be respected in the family business.  Struggling to appear normal so as not to attract attention at school, making ends meet by being a bookie for his classmates, wishing he could forget that it’s his fault his best friend is dead, and trying to remember what exactly happened that night take all he has and then some.  So he really doesn’t have time for strange white cats and odd dreams that leave him stranded on school rooftops, uncertain as to how he got there.
Critical Evaluation:
Overall this is a suspenseful tale that, like all good speculative fiction, draws enough parallels to real life to get readers thinking, but without being preachy or having an agenda.  While the worldbuilding is lacking in places, the curse magic, and it’s reliance on touch, is a welcome change of pace from more standard fare.
Reader’s Annotation:
Everyone has strange dreams sometimes, but when Cassel’s leave him stranded on the rooftop of his dorm, unsure of how he got there, he begins to worry that there is more going on than he thought.
Author Information:

http://www.blackholly.com/

http://blackholly.livejournal.com/

@hollyblack

Genre:

Mystery

Booktalking Ideas:

The whole idea of a mob run by curseworkers is incredibly intriguing.  Black has bracelets that she passes out at signings that are different colors and have the names of the types of curse workers in her books.  It would be fun to copy that and pass out something to listeners that tell them what kind of curse worker they are and then go on to set up the basic plot.

Reading Level/Target Age:

5th grade/13-19

Potential Controversy:

This book has murder, betrayal, persecution, and much more, but the part that will likely generate the most controversy is the use of the word “curse” to describe the magic.

 Reasons for Choosing This Title:
I love Black’s books and her Curseworker’s series intriguing, new, and appears to be well researched.
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