A slow and derivative plot mars this already lackluster debut.
After more than 12 years in the foster program and 20 incidents of indecent exposure in just the past two years, orphan Maggie Mae Mortensen is sent from Albuquerque to small-town Silver City, N.M., to finish out the last few months of her senior year. While she may have a caring guardian and a date to prom with Bridger O’Connell (the town’s luckiest catch), the remote desert setting doesn’t stop her from shifting into the closest animal around her at the full moon or being followed by a pack of wild animals. The tension wears thin as the fear of a mysterious man looking for Maggie Mae is overshadowed by her controlling relationship with Bridger. Despite being stood up at prom for no reason, told that he can’t date local girls after leading her on and a plethora of other abusive situations, Maggie Mae forgives Bridger each time because of his physical attractiveness. What should be a driving force of the novel—the conflict between Shifters and Skinwalkers (evildoers who use stolen skins to change into animals)—is not explained until the very end. More information or an author’s note about this Navajo legend and other Native American beliefs mentioned throughout would have been helpful.Shift this to the bottom of the supernatural stack. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)