White Cat (Curse Workers)

Book review by
Karen Wirsing, Common Sense Media
White Cat (Curse Workers) Book Poster Image
Suspenseful series starter full of magic, mystery, violence.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 3 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Teens who enjoy this book will look forward to the next installment, Red Glove. Could encourage some good discussions about violence and its impact on readers. See our "What to Talk About" section for some specific ideas.

Positive Messages

This has some pretty classic good versus evil stuff as Cassel tries to find out what's happening to him -- and what happened to the love of his life.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Most of the characters in this novel are manipulators who cannot be trusted, but Cassel is different. When something doesn't add up, Cassel does all he can to trace his steps and make things right. He is loyal, loving, and forgiving to his family and friends.

Violence

Guilt-ridden characters self-mutilate; people beat one another up in descriptive and graphic bloodshed fist fights; characters use knives and guns. There are discussions of characters who have been murdered. A character is physically abusive to Lila and tries to kill her.

Sex

Cassel's longtime love Lila exudes sexuality and is extremely flirtatious. It's hinted at that people are having sex. Passionate kissing takes place between couples.

Language

Name-calling such as "idiot" and "moron." There are also derogatory remarks such as "blow me."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Most of the characters drink alcohol. The main character's granddad is an alcoholic who frequently drinks until he passes out. People smoke cigarettes and a stranger does "a line of coke" in the bathroom at a party. There is a reference to kids doing LSD. However substance abuse is not glamorized and there are consequences for those who use.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this series starter features violence that is disturbing at times. Some characters self-mutilate as an act of penance for wrongful deeds. The main character, Cassel is manipulated into killing others. He is repeatedly belittled and betrayed by his brothers and a close family friend who use physical and emotional abuse to get him to do things he doesn't want to do. Most of the characters drink alcohol. The main character's granddad is an alcoholic who frequently drinks until he passes out. People smoke cigarettes and a stranger does "a line of coke" in the bathroom at a party. There's a reference to kids doing LSD.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bysamanthamigliore June 3, 2016
Teen, 14 years old Written bynoveleater October 12, 2011

only ok book from wonderful writer Holly Black

White Cat was preidctible, but still a whole lot of fun. The characters are believable, and you can have emotion for them even though they are filled with fanta... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byAHHitsme October 26, 2011

Age Appropriate...? Uhmmm YEAH!

Personally, I think that anyone who is mature enough can handle this book...and series for that matter. Now, I'm only 15, but I've been reading books... Continue reading

What's the story?

Cassel Sharpe comes from a family of curse workers -- powerful people who can apply magic with the touch of their bare hands. Cassel has no powers of his own, but his mother can make anyone fall in love with her, while one of his brothers, Barron, can alter memories. In fact, all his family members are curse workers. And while it is illegal to perform curse work in the states, he begins to suspect he's been worked: His brothers have led him to believe that he has killed his childhood friend and longtime love, Lila. Although he has no recollection of doing so, Cassel vividly remembers standing over her body, knife in hand and covered in blood. Later, he wakes to find himself hanging on the edge of a roof in his underwear after dreaming of chasing a white cat. When Cassel is suspended from school for psychological instability, he decides to unravel the mystery of the white cat that's been following him. He must retrace his steps to figure out who he can really trust and to satisfy his unanswered questions about what really happened to Lila.

Is it any good?

This wonderful mystery writer with a wild imagination offers a compelling story of love, betrayal, and trust. Readers will feel both anxiety and empathy for characters who are taken advantage of. Although her novel starts slowly, it accelerates toward the book's conclusion with unexpected surprises. There is a lot of plot to follow here, and the narrator's memory loss makes following the story even more challenging. But teens willing to do a close reading will be rewarded. They will feel their adrenaline rush as each chapter takes an unforeseen turn -- and anxiously await the next installment, Red Glove.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the violence in this book. Do the fantasy elements make the intensity easier to handle? Are the descriptions of violence in this book necessary to get the full impact of Cassel's story?

  • How is violence in a book different than violence in a video game or movie? Is it more or less disturbing?

Book details

For kids who love magic and mystery

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