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by R.C. Alexander

Age Range: 12 - 14

Pub Date: April 27th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-375-85854-3
Publisher: Random House

Alexander’s debut mixes a comical magical adventure with a light-hearted teen romance within a contemporary setting. Desi, a 12-year-old witch, is upset that her mother, Callida, refuses to teach her magic. Alone for a few days, Desi unearths Callida’s powerful Book of Spells. Unfortunately, Desi’s attempts at self-education prove humorously unsuccessful. A parallel plot involves Callida’s familiar, a female black cat named Devil. In need of a babysitter, Callida changes Devil into a human. Renamed Cat, the loyal familiar becomes a sexy, wisecracking teenager with a fondness for the boy next door, eating human food with her hairless monkey paws and shopping for clothes. The narrative alternates between Cat’s prolonged transformation and Desi’s magical education, which includes the unexpected appearance of her father, a powerful warlock. The sexual tension volleys between Desi’s age-appropriate crush on a boy to Cat’s more mature relationship with her boyfriend. That, plus the childish cover art, will make it difficult to pinpoint a target audience. Still, this is an entertaining, quick read full of romance, shopping and magic. (Magical adventure. 12-14)