Many adolescent girls will see themselves in protagonist Jules, a petulant 14-year-old who resents her twin brother Dari and longs to show everyone just how special she is.
Unlike other girls her age, though, Jules has bursts of rage that often manifest in various things around her catching fire. Dari is a quiet sort who fares better in the company of animals. Jules longs to hone their skills at a famed university of wizardry, but when one of them fails the admissions test, both twins find themselves relegated to accompanying Mom to the school where she teaches. There, they meet Lance, a sleepy-eyed runt dragon who's failed an important test of his own, now sentenced to apprenticeship by a disapproving father. Lance is beaten down by his "runt luck" and decides to hide his dragon nature in order to avoid further shaming himself and his kind. At first, Jules is wary of the little creature, suspecting him of being a bit of a prankster, but after warming to him, they embark on a fantastical adventure. Hill's irritable heroine is wonderfully rendered, and he effectively uses her disagreeable temperament against her, leading both Lance and herself to change as they learn to trust one another and work together to impede a kidnapping and ruin a plan by nefarious dragons–making papa dragon proud in the process.
Purportedly the first in a trilogy; the next is eagerly awaited. (YA)