California girl Katla has moved with her mother to Minnesota, where her grandparents immigrated from Iceland. And she’s not happy about it. She doesn’t mind helping her grandpa (her “afi”) in his little store, but she is NOT impressed with the tiny town and its rather backwards inhabitants. And then she meets Hulga, the bizarre old woman across the street — and Katla is introduced to a world in which mythology is suddenly real and she, Katla, has a real role to play. If only she could get her mind off that weird boy Jack who acts like she should know him, but how is that possible? Katla’s got a lot to learn before she can make a place for herself in this new town among people who seem to know more about her than she does.
FUN, fun. What Katla is able to do, and the society she becomes a part of, is just really creative and puts such a fantastical spin on this story. Folktale becomes reality as the fashion-conscious Katla maneuvers high school, tries to sort out her emotions about her parents’ divorce and figure out how her new powers are going to work. Of course, as in every folk tale, there is some darkness and I liked how that part of the plot worked out, too. It wasn’t a book I could constantly predict, and that was just a pleasure. Plus, the love story was dreamy. Well-written in Katla’s rather snarky and humorous first-person narrative.
Rated: Mild for five uses of moderate language, ten uses of mild language, several kissing scenes and one incident of teen drunkenness that led to an unwanted near-sexual situation (happened pre-action but you do read about it).