Two classmates and an ancient alchemist help a meek Edinburgh teen get a handle on her fears.
As if being constantly harassed by Euan at school isn’t bad enough, a home burglary on the night of her 13th birthday leaves emotionally fragile Edda on the verge of a breakdown. She's desperate enough even to believe strange new classmate Michael Scot’s claim that he can grant her wish to be protected from danger. Warning that wishes are tricksy things, he orders her to create a heart using materials linked to her terrors and then to bury it inside a monster outlined in clay. Is it all a prank? Her loyal friend Lucy and even Euan—who in an unlikely twist becomes a reluctant ally after Edda learns that he’s a victim of domestic abuse—think so. Hearing heavy footsteps in the night but finding deep footprints, dead birds and other small animals in the yard every morning, Edda soon has a change of heart. So do Lucy and Euan after the trio meets the golem face to, well, face. Wisely realizing that “you can make monsters on your own, but you need your friends’ help to stop them,” Edda enlists the two in a scheme to change the golem from an aggressive to a peaceable creature. By the time they succeed Scot has vanished, even from Lucy’s and Euan’s memories, but so have Edda’s fears.
Some exciting moments but the character development seems forced, the monster not all that terrifying, and the “conquering fear” theme works better on a metaphorical level than an actual one. (Fantasy. 10-13)