A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this installment is more mature than the first book. Cassel's mother is psychologically unstable and projects her own self-loathing onto her son with emotional and physical abuse. Also, Lila has sex with a boy to make Cassel jealous and, later in a descriptive scene, Cassel and Lila almost go all the way. Clothes are taken off and there is passionate kissing and touching. Teens drink heavily to deal with the pain they are suffering from, and there are references to cocaine. But the protagonist is a good role model who refuses to bend to his bad upbringing: Cassel has many opportunities to act selfishly, but he refuses to take advantage of others and always does the commendable thing.
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What's the story?
When 17-year-old Cassel Sharpe is pulled off his high school football field and handcuffed by federal agents, he worries they will question him about being a transformation worker -- the most dangerous and powerful type of curse worker who can use touch to transform anything; he also fears they may know that his brothers forced him to kill people -- and used magic to erase his memory of the events. Instead, the agents question him about his brother's murder -- and offer him a job working as one of them. But that's not the only career opportunity knocking at his door: The head of the most renowned mob family in the nation has also offered him a job -- promising him wealth in return for his powers. He is faced with a tough decision: live a life of luxury and crime or to live modestly -- and legally? It's a tough choice, especially when the love of his life, Lila, is the next in line to become head of the mob family.
Is it any good?
This book is more mature than White Cat, the first of its series, but it's more fun, too. Black's teen characters evolve into charming and independent free spirits here, from loner Cassel who struggles to do the right thing to hipster Lila, who is confident and comfortable in her own skin. Readers can't help but become enthralled with the characters' witty banter, which is both playful and boisterous. These well-developed characters add to the fun of this magical mystery installment. Readers will have plenty to sort out with the teen protagonist, including who he should trust with his life -- and his heart.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the series. Which installment did you like better, this one or White Cat? Did you notice any differences in the writing style -- or maturity level of the plot?
The marketing for this book claims, "the stakes get higher in book 2." What does that mean for book 3? Do sequels have to keep getting more intense to hold your interest?
For kids who love mystery and fantasy
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