Karen Romano Young, Author . HarperCollins $15.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-029761-9

Brooklyn teenager Nancy Greene-Kara is on the verge of learning whether she is as talented as her agoraphobic mother, who excels at weaving, or her father, who can jump rooftops by spurting spider silk from his palms. The members of the Greene-Kara clan are not only mixed race, but mixed-species—humans with spider-like abilities. In addition to Nancy's identity quest, the author weaves in a convoluted subplot about the "Angel of Brooklyn," a do-gooder who thwarts crime by dropping things (from rooftops) on thugs' heads, and the reporter tracking him. Too coincidentally, Nancy becomes infatuated with a stranger named Dion whose father happens to be the reporter and whose mother is in the care of the "Wound Healer" (who turns out to be Nancy's grandparent). Teens may well identify with Nancy's frustration over her parents' refusal to tell her precisely why she can't shave her legs, and they'll understand her anxiety about whether she's just a late bloomer or, worse, lacks any special talent herself. Indeed, Young's (The Beetle and Me ) novel includes many appealing elements—the vertiginous view of Brooklyn and the tender, budding romance between Nancy and Dion to name two. Ultimately, however, although the plot may replicate the complexity of an arachnid's web, it unfortunately lacks its taut structure. Ages 12-up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 12/06/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-06-202989-8
Library Binding - 388 pages - 978-0-06-029762-6
Paperback - 388 pages - 978-0-06-441028-1
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