Author: Holly Black
Published: May 4th, 2010 by Margaret K McElderry
Source: Pulse It
Cassel comes from a family of curse workers -- people who have the power to change your emotions, your memories, your luck, by the slightest touch of their hands. And since curse work is illegal, they're all mobsters, or con artists. Except for Cassel. He hasn't got the magic touch, so he's an outsider, the straight kid in a crooked family. You just have to ignore one small detail -- he killed his best friend, Lila, three years ago.
Ever since, Cassel has carefully built up a façade of normalcy, blending into the crowd. But his façade starts crumbling when he starts sleepwalking, propelled into the night by terrifying dreams about a white cat that wants to tell him something. He's noticing other disturbing things, too, including the strange behavior of his two brothers. They are keeping secrets from him, caught up in a mysterious plot. As Cassel begins to suspect he's part of a huge con game, he also wonders what really happened to Lila. Could she still be alive? To find that out, Cassel will have to out-con the conmen.
General Overview: I was really impressed by the originality of White Cat. I had set a lot of really high expectations for it, and even though the book didn't meet all of them, it met most. I loved the concept of the entire book and I had a lot of fun reading it.
Characters: I identified with Cassel really easily. Everyone knows what it feels like to be an outsider and I think that's what makes him very easy to connect with. I hated some of the things he was forced to do and I was as eager to find out the mystery of his life as he was. I loved his big mouth and sarcasm; the way he spoke and acted completely fit the Cassel I'd created in my mind before reading the book. Most of the characters in this book are antagonists and Holly Black succeeded in making me hate their guts.
Plot: There are a lot of unbelievable things that happen to Cassel, but they seem realistic in a way because of who he is (well, more who his family is). The beginning starts off a bit slow but the story quickly picks up and captures its reader. I really liked the world that Black created, one where everyone knows about workers and how to defend themselves from bad workers. I thought the whole idea of workers was extremely unique and I can't think of another book I could compare to it.
Writing: Most YA books are written from third person or from the point of view of a girl. White Cat is narrated by Cassel Sharpe, and it was a refreshing change, reading from a guy's perspective instead. I think Holly Black definitely knows how to write from the guy's POV as well as she can write from a girl's, which is a huge shift but which Black does with certainty.
Cover: I like how this cover is one that will appeal to both boys and girls. I love the black, white and red color scheme of the novel, I love how the red is used to catch someone's eye -- it really works! The model doesn't really look like how I imagined Cassel, but he looks dangerous and intelligent and con-ny (yeah, yeah, not a word. Whatever) and overall it fits the mood and the story.
Overall: Erm…I'm struggling with this. It's either a 4.5 or a 4, but I don't like to give half-star ratings…Okay, I'm going to go with 4 out of 5 stars.