Title: White Cat
Author: Holly Black
ISBN: 9781416963967
Pages: 310 pages
Publisher/Date: Margaret K. McElderry Books, c2010.

I wake up barefoot, standing on cold slate tiles. Looking dizzily down. I suck in a breath of icy air.
Above me are stars. Below me, the bronze statue of Colonel Wallingford makes me realize I’m seeing the quad from the peak of Smythe Hall, my dorm.
I have no memory of climbing the stairs up to the roof. I don’t even know how to get where I am, which is a problem since I’m going to have to get down, ideally in a way that doesn’t involve dying. (1)

Cassel Sharpe is used to strange things happening around him, being part of a worker family. Workers have the power to “magic” on people with the slightest touch of their hands, usually specializing in the ability to do one particular thing such as changing emotions, luck, dreams, memory, or (very rarely) physical characteristics (among other things). But Cassel isn’t used to having them happen to him, being the only non-gifted family member of a very gifted family that works for one of the mobs. He’s the cleanest Sharpe around, although that’s not saying alot since he killed his best friend three years ago. Being a worker or doing “work” has been outlawed though, so the family keeps their powers and the murder underwraps. Strange events start surrounding him though, that makes him start questioning if maybe his family isn’t as “honest” as they appear. Maybe, Cassel has stumbled across the biggest con his family has ever planned, and they’re hoping for his unwitting assistance. Out to prove to everyone, including himself, that his suspicions aren’t crazy, he enlists the help of some classmates. But maybe, just maybe, things should stay hidden for a reason.

I’ll be quite honest, after seeing the movie Inception in theatres, this book raised some of the same questions regarding reality, memory, and dreams. The things that this family can do just by touching you is crazy, and it’s no wonder in my mind why they made this curse work illegal in the book. First off, it’s totally manipulative, and second off, it’s almost impossible to prove. Although some are trying, by testing for it’s presence in people. But that’s a whole ‘nother story there. In any case, picture Wolverine and Storm packed into Rogue, and you might possibly get an idea of the power contained in curse workers. One touch and…. BAM!

I also could compare this book to the Ocean’s movies, because where one con ends, another one begins, and sometimes they are layered on top of one another. It’s only until the very end that you find out just how much thought, hardwork, and effort is placed into these mastermind plans. The details are dolled out, and you are only privy to the how of the con after the results have been revealed. It’s like saying “I blew up the bad guy, and the explosion was enormous” and then someone askes “But how did you rig the car to explode when it was 75 miles away and you were in jail?” That kind of SURPRISE that you would never in a million years figure out.

I think that’s why White Cat packs such a bunch, is that all these things are thrown at you at light speed WHILE you’re trying to figure out what’s going on. Is Cassel the killer he thinks he is, or was that a trick of his mind? This is my first exposure to Holly Black’s writing (yeah, I never read Spiderwick Chroincles, which she also wrote) and I absolutely LOVE her. I’m placing everything we have by her on hold, and can’t wait to read some of her other stuff. Holly Black assumes that you live in this world, throwing you into it immediately. You’re introduced to the concept that it’s almost mandatory to wear gloves and anti-curse charms, and if you don’t then you’re making a statement. From the very beginning, all you have is this person is on the roof, and you have to read more to figure out the who, the why, the how. It’s the need for an answer that draws you in and holds your attention until the very end.

A riveting, action packed read, with bodies being stuffed into trunks, mind games GALORE, and — obviously — a white cat, who plays a very important part to the story, that you just have to read to find out.