Twelve-year-old Katherine (Kat, for short) is the youngest of four children, including two older sisters could not be any more different. Her mother having died soon after she was born, Kat was raised by said sisters, who continue to watch over her and chide her about her childish behavior. The family is at a crossroads as their brother has racked up a tremendous gambling debt and it seems as if oldest sister Elissa must marry an atrocious older man rumored to have murdered his first wife. Kat takes matters into her own hands, however, when she discovers her mother’s magic books and possessions. She must think quickly on her feet and trust her instincts as she goes about trying to save her sister from martyrdom.
While it may seem as if the plot is serious and dramatic, this middle grade novel was fun, fun, fun. The family dynamic and the relationships between the three sisters had me giggling and dying to find out how exactly they would stick together and protect each other, even in the midst of misunderstandings and dramatic emotions. Kat is in the protagonist of the story but her sisters also show redeeming qualities and won my heart over with their individuality yet togetherness as sisters.
The plot moved at a fantastic pace, after a brief introduction of Kat’s past and their present predicament, including one interesting stepmother. Though the novel is a short one, enough happened for the reader to feel as if they have taken a journey with Kat, a journey of self-discovery and a showing of bravery.
by Stephanie Burgis
Published by Atheneum
April 2011 (in the US)