Sixteen-year-old Nickie Leone has proof that her missing (presumed dead) father is still alive. Receiving his watch in the mail is the first in a line of clues bringing her closer to discovering his whereabouts. But clues aren’t the only new thing in Nickie’s life. There’s the Memorial Banquet her mother insists she help prepare for, there’s the new kid/hottie, Xavian, and…well, the growth of whiskers and a tail!
Filled with secrets and a new love of tuna fish, Nickie must partner up with Xavian (don’t you know he’s a shapeshifter too?) to rescue her dad before she loses him forever. Oh, and she needs to figure out how to be a cat, too.
Nickie’s father has been gone about a year, but she refuses to believe he’s dead. Her mother accepts that; her brother is too young to really have an opinion. And her mother won’t talk about it. Every time Nickie brings it up, her mother changes the subject. When she gets a package and it contains her father’s watch, she knows for sure he is alive!
Ms. Diamond does a nice job with her paranormal story. She makes it sound feasible and believable. Her main female character, Nickie, doesn’t know what she is or that her change is coming soon. The author walks you through the process of making the change and learning about a cat’s behavior. Nickie is a panther and there are lots of new skills to learn while she’s in that form.
Her romantic interest is a hot new guy in the neighborhood, and he’s really into her. She’s not sure why, but he has helped her in a few pinches, so she’s okay with him. Xavian knows why he’s so attracted to her but he can’t tell her. When she finally changes, he’s there with her and helps her overcome her fear of the change.
This is a war between the clans which adds a lot of action, fights, deaths, and more to the story. This author really has a talent for imbuing her characters with life and making you feel empathic toward them. You either love them or hate them, but you’re not ambivalent. The violence and several deaths make this a mature read.
One of my favorite parts of this story is when Nickie develops this overwhelming desire for tuna fish. Now if eating three cans of tuna in a row doesn’t tell you you’re turning a bit “catty”, what will? Why not enter Nickie’s paranormal world and see what she will do to get her Dad back. Would you be that brave?