Publisher: M. K. McElderry
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Summary (from Goodreads): Curses and cons. Magic and the mob. In Cassel Sharpe's world, they go together. Cassel always thought he was an ordinary guy, until he realized his memories were being manipulated by his brothers. Now he knows the truth—he’s the most powerful curse worker around. A touch of his hand can transform anything—or anyone—into something else.
That was how Lila, the girl he loved, became a white cat. Cassel was tricked into thinking he killed her, when actually he tried to save her. Now that she's human again, he should be overjoyed. Trouble is, Lila's been cursed to love him, a little gift from his emotion worker mom. And if Lila's love is as phony as Cassel's made-up memories, then he can't believe anything she says or does.
When Cassel's oldest brother is murdered, the Feds recruit Cassel to help make sense of the only clue—crime-scene images of a woman in red gloves. But the mob is after Cassel too—they know how valuable he could be to them. Cassel is going to have to stay one step ahead of both sides just to survive. But where can he turn when he can't trust anyone—least of all, himself?
Love is a curse and the con is the only answer in a game too dangerous to lose.
My Summary: It's been months since Cassel discovered the truth about himself and foiled his brother's plan to overthrow the biggest crime-boss in the city; it's also been months since his mother worked Lila, the girl Cassel loves, into loving him, forever destroying any chance he had with her.
Now Cassel is living with his mother, moving from hotel room to hotel room and doing his best to forget about Lila. He thinks he'll be home-free once he goes back to school, but once he arrives, his worst nightmare comes true: Lila followed him, enrolling in the same school - ensuring Cassel wouldn't be able to escape the guilt of what his mother did.
And to top it all off, Cassel is picked up by the Feds, who try to recruit him to help find a killer that leaves behind no bodies ... a killer that Cassel's brother was supposed to lead them to before he was killed.
My Thoughts: Another awesome read from Holly Black! I gotta say, I loved being back in Cassel's world - there's something about the mobster/worker thing that fascinates me. And of course, Holly's writing is always amazing, making this a novel you could breeze through with no problem. I, for one, read it all in one sitting (2am - 5am... I know, I have a problem), needing to find out who the killer was before I could put the book down.
I really liked the way Holly showed Cassel's struggle to stay away from Lila - it made him seem more human and relatable. And I seriously laughed out loud when I read the mention of Jace (from The Mortal Instruments series, which you should definitely check out as well!).
Final Thoughts: I recommend this series to anyone who loves paranormal YA but is a little sick of the usual vampire/werewolf/faerie stuff (or fairy, or faery, or fayrie or however else you wish to spell it, because I have no idea which is correct). There are a few scenes that probably aren't appropriate for anyone under 16 (some cases of drinking, plus some more mature topics), but they're not too bad - if you're a parent are are worried about this stuff, I recommend reading it before giving it to your child. Check it out! It really is a great series.