by Holly Black
New York : Margaret K. McElderry Books, c2010.
One morning, Cassel Sharpe wakes up on the roof of his dorm. His classmates and teachers think he wants to kill himself, but Cassel knows that it's just the sleepwalking that plagued him as a kid coming back. But how can he convince the school of that when his family is a group of powerful curse-workers?
The story is set in a sort of alternate universe, where much of our history has happened, but there have also been "workers" who can work magic by touching you - doing such things as altering emotions or memory. In the U.S., this is outlawed and many workers, including Cassel's family, have turned to crime instead. This creates a really interesting scenario that the author plays with in creating the "alternate" parts of history and the way in which society would work as a result, for example, with the crime families and a society that wears gloves. Cassel narrates in present tense, and is a truly conflicted character. He is the non-worker in a family of workers, not out of choice but because he doesn't have the ability, and feels left out as a result. I could empathize with his struggle to do the right thing while still loving his family, but in some ways his way of thinking was very foreign to me. The book reads really fast - I read it in an evening - and I recommend it to fans of teen fantasy looking for an interesting twist.