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Author: Grinti, Mike
Twelve-year-old Emma Vu, having just moved into a trailer park inhabited by magical beings known collectively as crags, begins learning cat magic in hopes of finding her missing sister, Helena.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 8.0 Quiz: 153625
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 6-8
Reading Level: 3.50
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 58342
Common Core Standards
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Kirkus Reviews (08/01/12)
School Library Journal (-) (01/01/13)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/02/2012 Forced by hard times to move with her Vietnamese parents to a bad neighborhood—a trailer park on the edge of the magic forest occupied by hags, dwarfs, dryads, and other downtrodden “scags”—young Emma Vu finds herself leading a crew of unlikely allies on a search for her missing older sister, Helena, after a one-eyed talking cat bestows her with magical powers. The Grintis endow this semiserious debut tale with both a motley “pride” of authentically blasé stray cats and a menagerie of enjoyably creepy creatures from “ratters” (a sort of cross between oversize rats and reference librarians) to a set of blind, glamour-wielding faeries who enthrall children to be their eyes and, as it turns out, are the villains of the piece. The climactic rescue follows a nervous interview with a child-eating hag, visits to a wild faerie nightclub, and treks through not one but two spooky magic forests. Readers will happily accompany Emma on her quest and look forward to seeing what uses she will make of her burgeoning magical powers in future episodes. - Copyright 2012 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 01/01/2013 Gr 4–6—A rather alluring cover featuring a black cat silhouetted against a full moon pulls readers into a novel that proves to be an uneasy amalgam of genres: gothic, fantasy, dystopia, and teen rebellion. Emma's older sister has vanished, and her parents have depleted their finances in an attempt to find her. The family moves to a dilapidated trailer park at the edge of a magical forest, but they inhabit a world in which magic is frowned upon rather than celebrated. In fact, Emma is expelled from school when she reveals the claws she's developed since befriending a talking cat that hangs around their trailer. The feline has convinced Emma to swallow a pulsing marble-size object that will give her control over a pride of cats, and it clearly gives her other catlike attributes as well. What is not clear is who is controlling whom as she searches for Helena in a world filled with duplicity and illusion. The Grintis take on an overabundance of material in their debut novel, and the result leaves readers feeling that most of it is unexplored or insufficiently conceived. Emma's family is Vietnamese American, but there is no sense of whether this has shaped her life, so why mention it? What has caused the rift between the hags, elves, faeries, and other magical beings and the rest of society? Chapter headings from "" range from mention of "the Salem Cat Trials of 1912" to dismissive statements such as "All books of magic sold on eBay are fakes." Does this world believe in magic, try to ignore it, or persecute it? It's all a messy mystery.—Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY - Copyright 2013 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.