by Wendy delSol
I just finished reading this wintry tale about Katla Leblanc, a totally urban L.A. girl suddenly forced to deal with her parent's divorce and subsequent move to her mother's small hometown in Minnesota, bereft of creature comforts, including warm weather and Starbucks coffee. Worse yet, in Kat's opinion, is that her mother has taken up with a new boyfriend, Stanley, a kind yet bland "okely-dokely" Minnesota native, rather than trying to work things out with her always on-the-road cheating charmer of a husband.
The entire town shares her strong Norse heritage. Kat busies herself trying to fit in at her new school. An unfortunate date with Wade, an abusive bully, means that she doesn't get off to the best start, but she recovers and makes a few new friends when she's recruited to write a fashion column at the school newspaper. She also meets gruff but handsome Jack, the school newspaper editor. Kat soon discovers that she has supernatural powers - she's destined to join the Icelandic Stork Society, a group of crones who use their powers to decide where to place new souls entering the world, i.e. who should get pregnant. This is a huge responsibility and Kat steps up to the challenge, taking her charge very seriously. When a new soul, a shy baby girl who loves nature, makes itself known to her in a dream, Kat briefly toys with the idea of punishing Wade's girlfriend with a teen pregnancy. Fortunately, Kat is able to make a very mature decision on where to place the baby.
There are plenty of helpful birds (a staple in Icelandic folklore) throughout the story; no trolls, though (unless we count creepy Wes.) I was not expecting the secret that Kat and Jack share. The way it was revealed, and the explanation that Kat suffered amnesia, yet no one told her about it, seemed like a huge retcon to me. The ending too, wrapped things up very, very quickly. I had been expecting a cliffhanger, with a sequel to follow, because there were so many threads left unresolved, but the last few chapters went by lightning quick with a number of surprising turns that resolved nearly everything. This is a fantastic debut by author Wendy delSol. I'll recommend Stork to teen readers who enjoy paranormal romance and/or fantasy. There is a sequel planned for Fall of 2011, Frost, which should pick up the next adventures in Kat and Jack's story.
I borrowed this book from the library.