"...mature readers will be drawn into-and chilled by-this suspenseful novel." —Publishers Weekly

"...a memorable read." —Kirkus


A Fast and Brutal Wing

Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson
Roaring Brook Press / 2004

She leapt, a perfect arc, lithe muscles propelling her through the air, leaving what was human behind, clothes fallen to the ground. She was cat, claws unsheathed, teeth bared. Loving the hunt, the chase, the pounce and the strike, her teeth sinking into flesh, blood spurting in her mouth.

Animal justice: ruthless and swift. And totally satisfying.

A provocative, richly layered, and utterly compelling novel that asks the answerable: what is truth, and what does it mean to be human?

Niki and Emmet are siblings with a secret: their ability to change from human to animal, and back-their ability to transform-she to a cat, he to a hawk. Their mother is clueless, but how much does the elusive writer Slanger know? Is their classmate Doug as superficial as he seems? Is the psychiatrist a caretaker or an enemy? And what did she have to do with their father's disappearance?

Alternating four voices, paralleling the transformations of adolescence itself, this book is also about the transformative power of great literature, on the border between the darkest fantasy and our own reality.

A series of journal entries, emails, stories, and newspaper articles reveals the strange events that led to the disappearance of a reclusive author on Halloween night and the involvement of a teenager and his friends—a brother and sister some say can transform into animals and back again.

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