Sixteen-year-old Leah Spencer isn’t just the new kid at Westerville High, she’s an unwilling Créatúir Shaman, desperate to shed her responsibilities to the “Other Realm” and live the life of a normal Texas teenager.
Unfortunately, the mystical beings aren’t prepared to let her go off with the star quarterback without a fight. After a series of murders in the Other Realm drive the Light and Dark Créatúir to the brink of war, Leah reclaims her role as Shaman. With the help of her three sisters and one kickass homecoming queen, Leah learns to embrace her gift and harness the power of the elements to restore peace. Written from Leah’s perspective, Lipinski’s debut teen novel boasts all the right ingredients: cheerleaders and football players, teen romance, danger and fantasy. However, the recipe falls flat. The often-shocking descriptions of the mystical creatures often feel gratuitous, like cheap, gross-out gags with no real link to the story. In addition, while Leah uncovers a connection between the construction site for the new football field and a passageway to the Other Realm, this key plot element is never satisfactorily explored. The combined effect of these distractions and unanswered questions will likely leave readers scratching their heads as Leah races to save the day just a little too conveniently in the last quarter of the novel.
Pass. (Fantasy. 12-15)