White Cat: 01/22/12
I wasn't planning on reading White Cat by Holly Black but my audio book friend lent me his copy. He and I have such similar tastes, I said yes. I'm glad I did.
Imagine waking up in your underwear on the roof as a white cat looks on. That's what happens to Cassel Sharpe in the opening chapter. He's been sleep walking recently but his latest stunt is enough to get him sent home from boarding school until a doctor can prove he's fit to return home.
Home, though, ends up being his grandfather's because his mother is jail for being a curse worker. Cassel is at his family's mercy being the only non-worker in the lot.
Cassel can't just leave as they hold a terrible secret over him; he has killed Lila Zacharov, the daughter of the local crime syndicate mob boss. To keep himself sane he decides to figure out how he ended up on the roof and what happened to the cat. The white cat ends up being the clue he needs to unravel family secrets.
Black has created a fascinating but believable alternate history where magic exists and has been outlawed in the United States. With "curse working" as magic is called illegal since the era of Prohibition, organized crime has taken control. Set in present day, Black adds the threat of a proposition that would make testing for magic mandatory.
I listened to the audio book performed by Jesse Eisenberg. He had the perfect menschy voice for Cassel. I had the book in my car. There were times when I would just sit in my car until the end of a chapter.