Book Review: A Fast and Brutal Wing

A Fast and Brutal Wing by Kathleen Jeffrie Johnson

SUMMARY: Niki, her brother Emmet, and their friend Doug narrate the somewhat fantastical story via journal entries, e-mails, and newspaper clippings. What REALLY happened on Halloween night in the woods when all three teens awakened to find themselves naked and bloody? As the plot disjointedly unfolds, readers gradually learn that the siblings' father left the family two years earlier, supposedly with his mistress. When their mother begins dating the famous, secretive, and somewhat sinister author Nicholas Slanger, he disappears as well. Puzzle pieces begin to fall into place as readers realize that Emmet has since been institutionalized and Niki claims that she is able to transform into a cat, while her brother can turn into a hawk. (excerpted from the SLJ review)

OPINION: This story is very open-ended and subject to the interpretation of the reader, which makes it a very engaging read. It is told from multiple points of view, each with their own position about the truth of what happened that Halloween night. Whom should the reader believe? Is anyone telling the truth? Or are they all misguided, or even crazy? This creepy, mysterious, disturbing book will keep you guessing until the very end.

COMPARISON: The vagueness of the storytelling reminded me somewhat of The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci.

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