Age Range: 12 - 14
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Millicent will soon be 14 and if she studies her Celtic mythology enough, she will be certified to use her Power, a Gift handed down to females in her family from an ancestor in 16th-century England. The ensuing story about Millicent and her family includes the mysterious death of a younger sister, an absent father, the drug-induced death of a town teenager, robberies committed by the ex-con father of Millicent’s best friend, the drug bust of twin brother Dexter’s friend, and assorted other dramas. With so much action, this should be a page-turner. But the prolific Rinaldi (Numbering All the Bones, p. 498, etc.), best known for her historical fiction, has trouble incorporating the disparate elements into a convincing or engaging whole. The point of the magic powers is never explained satisfactorily. When Millicent uses her powers to shape-shift into a deer, she intones a corny-sounding spell in language that is completely out of character and unexpectedly recalls the prologue’s Celtic reference: “And I shall go in the animal’s name, aye, and walk amongst them, and hear joys and woes, and I’ll come home again.” The busy plot and the challenges of being magical in an ordinary world seem to be grafted together in an unsuccessful operation. (Fiction. 12-14)

Pub Date: May 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-06-029636-4
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2002


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