Feral Curse

272p. (Feral Series: Bk. 2). ebook available. Candlewick. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780763659103. LC 2013946609.
Gr 8 Up—This second installment begins in the small town of Pine Ridge, Texas. Kayla is a teenage werecat adopted at birth and raised by loving human parents. Isolated from the shifter world, she has hidden her inner cat from those she cares about. Driven by her love for Benjamin and an attempt to be open and honest, she reveals her true nature. The result is disastrous, ending in betrayal, regret, and rejection. Determined to "save" Kayla, Ben unleashes a mystical curse that ensnares shifters and ties them to enchanted carousel animals while causing his untimely death. In order to break this bizarre bewitchment, a colorful cast of characters must work together to find the answers they need while dealing with the rising mistrust and discrimination toward the shifter population. This well-written, action-packed story perfectly blends serious topics such as self-worth, acceptance, and tolerance with witty dialogue and humorous banter in a modern yet supernatural world. The alternating narrative between male werecat Yoshi and Kayla allows for great depth of character while keeping the plot fresh, edgy, and thoroughly entertaining. Readers will eagerly look forward to the next entry in the trilogy and the ultimate confrontation between shifters and humans. A satisfying read for fans of paranormal and the occult.—Donna Rosenblum, Floral Park Memorial High School, NY
After touching the carousel-animal cougar in his Grams's antique store, Yoshi (Feral Nights) is transported to Pine Ridge, home of secret werecat Kayla. Within a few days, more Shifters show up, all inexplicably drawn to her. Debut character Kayla--level-headed, religious, but also quietly proud of her shifter nature--holds her own. Witty banter keeps the tone light even as the stakes ramp up.
Secret werecat Kayla chooses Valentine's Day to reveal her true nature to her boyfriend, Ben. He reacts badly, to put it mildly: he runs away from Kayla, is hit by lightning on the antique carousel in Town Park while staging a ritual to "cure" her, and dies. Her small town of Pine Ridge, Texas, decides to dismantle the carousel and sell off its wooden animal figures. Soon after, Yoshi, the hottie Cat from Feral Nights (rev. 3/13), touches the hand-carved cougar for sale in his Grams's antiques store in Austin and is instantly transported to Pine Ridge. He's not the only shifter to suddenly appear there. Darby, a Deer; Peter, a Coyote; and Evan, an Otter, show up within a few days -- each having touched the carousel animal corresponding to his shifter form -- and they're all inexplicably drawn to Kayla. This second entry in the Feral series (a spin-off of Smith's Tantalize quartet) features as kooky a cast of supernatural characters as ever (including a juvenile yeti in addition to the various werepeople and the occasional human), but they're all relatable in various ways and easy to root for. Debut character Kayla -- level-headed, religious, but also quietly proud of her shifter nature -- holds her own, nicely complementing Yoshi's swagger, Wild Card shifter Clyde's newfound confidence, and human Aimee's resourcefulness. Witty banter peppered with pop-culture references keeps the tone light even as the stakes ramp up. katie bircher

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