White Cat

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White Cat

by Holly Black

Margaret K. McElderry Books | May 4, 2010 | Hardcover

White Cat is rated 4.5 out of 5 by 8.
The first in a trilogy, this gritty, fast-paced fantasy is rife with the unexpected. Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn’t fit in at home or at school, so he’s used to feeling like an outsider. He’s also used to feeling guilty—he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.

But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas— and a plan to con the conmen.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.1 in

Published: May 4, 2010

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1416963960

ISBN - 13: 9781416963967

Appropriate for ages: 14

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Unique premise and a fantastic male protagonist! This book has won a number of literary awards, including: Kirkus Reviews Best Books List for Teens (2010), ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults 2011 List, ALA Amazing Audiobooks List, and Andre Norton 2010 Award Nominee for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. Black has created an alternate reality where people called "curse workers" exist. A curse worker is someone who has the ability to make things happen by touch with a bare hand. Some workers can manipulate emotions, while others can transfigure objects and even cause death. A worker will experience something called "blowback" after using their skills, which is a reaction that affects the worker. For example, a memory worker's own memories might become compromised. Curse work has been banned, and everyone wears gloves. Some people are not even aware that they have the ability to do curse work. Because of the nature of their abilities, curse workers are often employed by the mob. At the beginning of the book, we are introduced to a 17 year-old boy named Cassel Sharpe. He attends Wallingford Preparatory School in New Jersey. He has had a dream of a white cat and awakens to discover that he is on the roof of the school. Students and teachers assume that he is contemplating suicide, and he tries to explain that he must have been sleepwalking. The headmaster bans him from the dormitory and, to protect the school from a liability, insists that Cassel provide a clean bill of health from a doctor before he is permitted to return to the dorms. Cassel has to return to his childhood home, which has been vacant a long time since his mother is in prison. His grandfather stays there with them. Cassel is the only member of the family who is not a curse worker, so he feels a bit like the odd man out. His mother is an emotion worker, and she can make anyone trust her. She can convince people they are in love with a stroke of her hand. His brother, Phillip, is a body worker and can break someone's leg with a touch of his finger. His grandfather is a death worker, and the blowback has caused some of his fingers to blacken and fall off. He discovers that his family is hiding something, and Cassel must use his wits to survive. Cassel is fantastic male protagonist! He is smart as a whip, and he runs a gambling ring in the school and takes bets from students on silly things, such as whether the dormitory mouse will get stuck in the glue trap or survive another day. He is witty, sarcastic, and has a snarky sense of humour that I really enjoyed! The addition of paranormal abilities and the danger of the mafia made this a thrilling read! Black is a new-to-me author, and I really enjoyed this book. The premise of the story was unique, and I can't wait to read the next one in the series, Red Glove. Narrator Jesse Eisenberg did a bang-up job of capturing the attitude of Cassel. He was a pleasure to listen to, and I hope he narrates the rest of the series.
Date published: 2013-01-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from 3 & A Half Stars ._. So this book I found a little boring but I would have to say that the characters and the plot was ALMOST perfectly planed out. But that's also the problem. I found that there was a little too much planing and it needed a little more thrills and 'OMG' moments. It totally was a book that as soon as I thought I knew something it slipped away. As Jeff Vandermeer says; "Holly Black's White cat is an addictive adventure that's beautifully written but also at times gutwrenching. Just when you think you know where the story's going , it shifts and takes you somewhere even more surprising and fascinating." The bottom Line is that I liked it but it wasn't the best. I'm going to try some other books by Holly black because I think her Ideas are great! :D
Date published: 2012-05-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Site for Good Book Reviews! I have a site where I review popular books. including teen books. It would be great if you could go to this website. I need more readers! So far I have reviewed Red Glove, Divergent, and White Cat. GO to this site!! http://booksblogspot.blogspot.com/
Date published: 2011-11-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Was good not Great Review First Published at http://unautrehistoire.blogspot.com/ I was late on the Holly Black phenomena. I had heard about her and her books but I hadn't read any of them before picking up White Cat. I wasn't all that interested in reading this story, I was not all that excited about the crime family scenario and I was confused about curse workers and such (the blurd did not grab my attention). But never the less I was at the library and decided to give this one a go. I'll be honest it took me a while to get into the story, and I didn't love it the way a lot of people did. I thought it was ooook. I liked Cassel-I actually liked him a lot- I thought he was funny and clever (he whined a lot at times but that's understandable) I liked his friends (a lot of other readers didn't), but Daneca and Sam added to Cassel's character well. His grandfather I was not a fan of in the beginning but he grew on me, probably when he saved his grandson's life. I did not like the family dynamics. I mean really? One brother holding Cassel down while the other kicks the crap out of him just to prove to your "boss" that you can. That annoyed me. I kept thinking that his brother's really needed to grow a pair. I almost felt sorry for Anton and the way he was losing his memory but that sympathy went out the window midway through the book. Philip. Forget it. He was a grade A jerk. He was awful to his wife, to his brothers, to everyone. He was my least favourite character by far. Their mother on the other hand was real hoot. I found her to be kind of funny, in a "did she really just do/say that?" kind of way. I look forward to reading more about her. The White Cat-Lila- I don't think I really liked her. I don't know. It's the mob thing, needing to prove your strong enough. I don't like that kind of character. Lila was like that, it made me roll my eyes a time or two. But that's just me. I loved Holly's writing though. The story was fun and the way she describes things is fabulous. I think even my hating Cassel's Brothers was due to her writing. All in all I plan on reading Red Glove (maybe not right away), but I am curious about what's in store for Cassel and his family, even Lila, because the end had me laughing my head off. Oh Mom, really?
Date published: 2011-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Surpassed Expectations! The first thought that popped into my mind when I finished reading White Cat was, "Why didn't I read this sooner?" Because oh my, this novel blew me away with how awesome it was! Now before I start raving, I'm going to point something out. I wasn't a huge fan of Holly's Modern Faerie Tales trilogy so I went into reading White Cat not expecting too much in case I got my hopes up. You'll have to imagine my warm surprise then when I found myself immensely enjoying every single page! In a family of curse workers, people who have the power to change your luck, memories and more with a single touch of the hand, Cassel has always been an outsider with his lack of magical skills. He's a pretty normal guy unless you count the fact that his family is made up of criminals, he's pretty good at conning people when he wants to... and oh, he murdered his best friend Lila when he was fourteen years old and his older brothers had to cover it up. Normal, right? But when Cassel begins to have dreams about a white cat and his brothers act like they're keeping something from him, Cassel suspects there's a larger game being played and it all leads back to the night Lila died... While I was reading White Cat, I might have developed a crush on Cassel. He's part bad boy, not afraid to break the rules when he needs to... but he's also got his heart in the right place. He's still grieving about Lila and it torments him that he still can't remember exactly how she came to die by hands. His memories of her death are filled with holes, so uncovering them alongside Cassel in the novel left me eager for answers. He really doesn't give himself enough credit though! I absolutely loved the originality of Holly Black's storytelling in this novel. It's unique, fresh, a bit dark... and easily manages to stand out completely on its own! The combination of mystery and thrills to be found mixed with a bit of magic worked so well and left me riveted as I tried learn more and more about this world of curse workers. Not to mention, I'm a bit awed as well by the intricacies of the plot-line and how Holly manages to leave you breadcrumbs along the way so that you can piece details of Cassel's past together with ending results that will leave you surprised! White Cat was an absolute joy to read... and missing out on reading it would have been a mistake! It left me actively engaged, continuously wondering which characters were to be trusted and which were lying through their teeth as Cassel sought to learn answers. The added touch of a world with crime families exploiting the abilities of curse workers simply fueled the intrigue. So while I would say that White Cat is Holly Black's best novel yet... I have a feeling that Red Glove, the second novel, is going to be even better! (And it's a good thing it's now out in stores too!) You can also read this review at: http://midnightbloomreads.blogspot.com/2011/04/white-cat-by-holly-black.html
Date published: 2011-04-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Brilliant, amazing, and well done. The story is a little complex from the start, and it was a little hard to get into without figuring out the facts first. After getting the story straight though, it’s a very interesting concept and idea and thought this was definitely a different and unique read. Several characters are thrown at you, so keeping them in line is also a bit of a challenge but it’s nothing to throw you off of your reading. The plot was really good and Cassel is the guy to cheer for. He’s not your typical angsty teenager with a huge chip on his shoulder. Which is something I really did like. He’s calm, cool, and collected, but also determined to figure out what’s going on with his life and why he’s been sleepwalking and having strange dreams. Another thing I loved about this book. No love triangles! it’s about time! I’ve read countless of YA and it just seems standard to have a love triangle. You won’t find one in this book. (Thankfully.) I really did like the idea of the curse workers being something akin to mafia crime families. That was certainly different and an idea I have not come across before. It did fit in nicely with the overall plot. Plus the scheming, plotting, and conning made it even better. Following Cassel through the hurdles provided a really good read, and towards the end you’d think everything would go well. Until there’s a giant twist and the ends in a cliffhanger ending. However that seems to be the constant theme throughout the novel as Cassel starts to put the pieces together and as the twists get bigger, the plot takes several shocking spins. It made reading the book really exciting and made the pace go fast. If you love scheming, shocking twists, and con artistry at its finest, pick this book up. It’s a perfect blend of magic, and mafia crime families in one nice package. Combine this with fabulous writing and it’s an excellent book to read through. Can’t wait to read the second book of this series!
Date published: 2011-04-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Dreaming of Books Review (May contain spoilers) Cassel is from a family of curse workers and is the only one that doesn’t have the magic touch. He’s the outsider in the family and has never been especially close to either of his brothers. After a sleepwalking incident at school, he is put on medical leave and returns home to live with his grandfather. He starts having disturbing dreams and he keeps running into a white cat who reminds him of Lila, a girl he murdered years ago. At school Cassel tries his best to be normal and fit in but deep inside he knows that he’s different. Because of the relationship he has with his family its hard for him to make friends and trust people. Add to the fact that he’s still struggling with the guilt of murdering Lila. She was his best friend and he has no memory why he killed her or the events of what happened that night. I loved the world that Holly Black created. Magic is illegal and all workers have to wear gloves as they do magic with their hands. Workers are discriminated against so are taken advantage of and recruited to by the big crime families. At times the story did get confusing as nothing is really what it seems but what’s great about that is that it also kept me guessing. Once Cassel figures out that something’s not right and things aren’t adding up his brothers seem more and more suspicious. They’re hiding something from him and Cassel is determined to get to the bottom if it.
Date published: 2011-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant concept! This was the first novel I have ever read by Holly Black and I loved it! Amazing concept, story, great characters and suspense thrown in. Revolving around mob families, con men and curse workers the story was very hard to put down. Overall an amazing YA read.
Date published: 2010-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantasic This book was extremely good. The sad thing is, that it took me SEVERAL sittings to read it in, since there were other things to do, and other books to read at the same time. Though I loved it, I can't help but wonder if I would've liked it even more If I was able to read it all at once in one or 2 sittings. Anyways, getting on with it: Mrs. Black definitly did not dissapoint with this amazingly fresh, and crispt start to a trilogy called: The Curse Workers, I was gripped by this book from it's very ominous begining, to it's unexpected ending. If this book was a rollar coaster, it would consist of several sudden twists and turns, slow approaches to a high hill, then drop you several times, even turning you upside down on numerous occasions. I can't wait for the follow up book. In conclusion I found it very different from the way that her previous YA books have been written in. Unlike the modern faerie tale series, there is little to no sexual content. The swearing is kept at a mininum from what i remember, and I have no recollection what so ever of any f bombs being dropped. It's much cleaner, and doesn't take itself too seriously, Though I loved Tithe, I like the new direction that she seems to be taking with her literature.
Date published: 2010-07-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from WOW! I'm not going to give a summary because other readers have already done so. However, I am going to say that this book is BRILLIANT. I began reading it this evening about half an hour before I planned to sleep. I literally could not put it down from the first page. It is now 4:30 in the morning. I haven't read a book this good in quite a while. It was clever, well written, tight, and thrilling, blending fantasy with reality with a bit of underhandedness and gang story. I LOVED it, so much that I'm going to have to force myself to sleep so that I can wake up in the morning in order to tell all of my friends about this book. I definitely recommend this book to you, too.
Date published: 2010-07-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Different and surprising Cassel's whole family are curse workers; people who have the ability to change your luck, shift your memories, cause death and change your emotions just by having contact with your skin. Curse working is illegal, which makes them all mobsters and con artists. Cassel is the only one in the family that isn't a curse worker. He grew up looking up to his two older brothers, Philip and Barron, who never gave their little brother much attention. But Cassel always stood behind them and waited patiently for their minimal acts of brotherly love. Cassel tries to lead a normal life, ignoring the fact that his mother is in jail for curse working and how his whole family is considered criminals for working people. He goes to school like any normal person and does his best to keep up with his homework. The only other thing that torments him each day is the fact that he killed his best friend, Lila, when he was fourteen. But then one night he has a very strange dream. He sees a white cat that tells him something he doesn't understand. And when he wakes up, he's on top of the roof of his school, about to jump to his death. He has no idea how he got there, and no reason as to why he would do that. But then he remembers his dream of the cat, and how his brothers are starting to act weird around him. He doesn't remember things, and when he asks his brothers, they give him looks and tell him that nothing's wrong. Cassel begins to suspect that he is part of a huge con game, and something deadly is about to take place with him right in the middle. This was an interesting story with lots of secrets in the beginning that left you questioning what was going on. But as you read on, the story started to unfold itself and you got a taste of what kind of life Cassel lived in. The story wasn't bad, and I liked how everything fit together in the book, but I just felt that there wasn't really enough to the story and some parts weren't very well written, which was why I gave this book a 3/5. The ending was very well planned out though; the way Cassel thought was very interesting to read about, like you were seeing through the mind of a genius and a liar. Overall, not too bad, but not super great either.
Date published: 2010-05-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dark, Dangerous & Delicious Reason for Reading: I'm a fan of the author. Set in an alternate reality almost identical to the Earth we live in with one small difference, some people are born with a special ability which is called a "curse". One must touch another's skin for the effects to take place. These "curse workers" are a minority of the population and their curses range from luck to changing emotions to causing death. In this world everyone wears gloves to keep everyone safe from "curses". No one knows who may be a "worker" but working itself has been deemed illegal. In this world Cassell finds himself the only non-worker in a family of workers. His family, along with others who have a strong heritage of workers, are what we would call organized crime families, mobsters and con artists. Since Cassell can't "work" he at least has honed his skills as a con artist. But his life starts to unravel when he finds himself sleepwalking, having dreams sent from a white cat and beginning to notice some unaccounted for events in his life. His brothers act strangely when he asks them about it and Cassell begins to feel that perhaps he is the subject of a huge con himself. I loved every word of this book! I was hooked from the first sentence and couldn't continue with my regular life until I had finished the book. The world Black creates here is very dark and dangerous. One wonders if any character can truly be trusted and the main character himself is not exactly an honest citizen. The direction the story takes is surprising and makes compelling reading. The unexpected actions of characters, including Cassell himself, are shocking and yet as one gets to know them not out of character at all. In this world of dark magic and crime the back stabbing characters are always at each other and it's as matter of magic against magic and wits against wits. The ending is absolutely brilliant and so appropriate! Don't expect any happy, happy, joy, joy ending here! I can't wait for book two!
Date published: 2010-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Come be worked by Holly Black Holly Black is fast becoming one of my favourite female authors. I now rank her with Terry Tempest Williams, Madeleine L'Engle and Kathy Shaidle. Her works are dark, witty and sublime. Her world creation is believable and compelling, and something about every one of her books I have read has touched something deep and sometimes dark inside myself. Black has a way of drawing the reader into her world that makes you become a part of it. While reading this book I dreamed about it, and found myself reflecting upon it and the alternate reality it presents again and again. I cannot get the story out of my head, and to be honest I do not want to. Not since reading Madeleine L'Engle's books about a decade ago has an author's words and worlds impacted me so completely from a fictional novel. The story is set in an alternate reality to our own timeline. Except instead of just booze being banned during prohibition, so is magic, or working as it becomes known. Though the ban on booze was lifted, the ban on magic was not. So in a time very close to our own, most people wear gloves for fear of being touched and worked by one with the gift. And people either fear that they have the ability or that they don't and are just 'normal'. Our hero Cassel comes from a family of workers. Not one of the controlling crime families, much like a magic mafia, but a family with certain skills and powers. He is the only one without them, and as such he always feels on the outside. Outside his own family because he does not have the gift and is not fully part of their plan, and on the outside at school because he comes from a family of workers. Cassel, just wants to be a normal boy in high school. The problem is, he killed his best friend four years ago, and even though he doesn't remember doing it, he remembers her body and his family cleaning up the mess for him. Cassel's problems start when he sleep walks and nearly falls off the roof of his school dorm. Then he realizes all the pieces of his life, his memories, do not fit together right. He begins to wonder if he has been worked. He has a lot to figure out and not a lot of time to do it, and even fewer people he can trust. Cassel is a strong character, troubled, and in a tight spot, but someone who is working to resolve his issues and trying to do the right thing. He is someone you grow to respect and appreciate, someone you would want as your friend. The story is well written and the world Black has created is enthralling. Black leads us down a path where magic, the fey and the country witch developed into mainstays in our culture, not just something trifling at the sides. Though their practice and arts are against the law, many still use them, for both good and bad. Where charms and protection are needed, but cannot always to be trusted. As Black writes about the curse workers, you will fall under her charm and be captivated by her writings, and maybe be a little worked to love her and her books.
Date published: 2010-05-07

– More About This Product –

White Cat

by Holly Black

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1.1 in

Published: May 4, 2010

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1416963960

ISBN - 13: 9781416963967

About the Book

Holly Black spent her early years in a decaying Victorian mansion where her mother fed her a steady diet of ghost stories and books about faeries. Her first book, "Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, " was an ALA Top Ten Book for Teens, received starred reviews in "Publishers Weekly" and "Kirkus Reviews, " and has been translated into twelve languages. Her second teen novel, "Valiant, " was an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a "Locus" Magazine Recommended Read, and a recipient of the Andre Norton Award from the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. She lives in Amherst, Massachusetts. Visit Holly at www.hollyblack.com.

Read from the Book

CHAPTER ONE 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. Teetering, I will myself to be as still as possible. Not to inhale too sharply. To grip the slate with my toes. The night is quiet, the kind of hushed middle-of-the-night quiet that makes every shuffle or nervous panting breath echo. When the black outlines of trees overhead rustle, I jerk in surprise. My foot slides on something slick. Moss. I try to steady myself, but my legs go out from under me. I scrabble for something to hold on to as my bare chest slams down on the slate. My palm comes down hard on a sharp bit of copper flashing, but I hardly feel the pain. Kicking out, my foot finds a snow guard, and I press my toes against it, steadying myself. I laugh with relief, even though I am shaking so badly that climbing is out of the question. Cold makes my fingers numb. The adrenaline rush makes my brain sing. “Help,” I say softly, and feel crazy nervous laughter bubble up my throat. I bite the inside of my cheek to tamp it down. I can’t ask for help. I can’t call anyone. If
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From the Publisher

The first in a trilogy, this gritty, fast-paced fantasy is rife with the unexpected. Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn’t fit in at home or at school, so he’s used to feeling like an outsider. He’s also used to feeling guilty—he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.

But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas— and a plan to con the conmen.

About the Author

Holly Black was born in New Jersey in 1971. She graduated with a B.A. in English from The College of New Jersey in 1994. Holly's first book, Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale (Simon & Schuster) was published in 2002 and was included in the American Library Association's Best Books for Young Adults. She has since written two other books in the same universe, Valiant (2005), and the sequel to Tithe, Ironside (2007). Valiant was a finalist for the Mythopoeic Award for Young Readers and the recipient of the Andre Norton Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature. Holly collaborated with Caldecott award winning artist, Tony DiTerlizzi, to create the bestselling Spiderwick Chronicles. The books have been translated into over 30 languages and adapted into a film by Paramount Pictures in conjunction with Nickelodeon Films. Holly's first collection of short fiction, Poison Eaters and Other Stories, came out in 2010 from Small Beer Press. Holly lives in Massachusetts with her husband Theo.

Editorial Reviews

* "Urban fantasy, con story, coming of age--whatever you call it, read it." - Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Appropriate for ages: 14