cover image The Pack

The Pack

Lisi Harrison. Delacorte, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-593-18070-9

Harrison (the Clique series) dives into girls’ boarding school dynamics in this playfully paranormal series starter. After animalistic impulses and anger issues get her into trouble at middle school, straw-blond Sadie Samson is transferred to Charm House, a girls’ boarding school in Timor Lake, Wash. There, she discovers that Charm, the “Center for Human Animal Reform and Manners,” secretly shelters and trains girls like her, who possess animal spirits known as lights. Learning that she has a rare lion light, which distinguishes her as a potential leader among species including hyenas, giraffes, and monkeys, Sadie falls in with the Pack, a clique of popular girls led by tiger light Lindsey. When a series of mysterious attacks implicate her snake light roommate, Sadie must solve the mystery at the heart of Charm House to prove her leadership mettle and save her friends. Scant world-building raises more questions than the brief, fast-paced story has room to detail, and character descriptions are often limited to backward-looking phrases (“exotically gorgeous,” “narrow-waisted”); Sadie, nevertheless, makes for a sympathetic, engaging protagonist throughout. Ages 10–up. [em]Agent: Richard Abate, 3 Arts Entertainment. (June) [/em]