Rae by Robin Whitten

four stars

Rae jogs across the soccer field to hit the ball. As she runs, a mysterious transformation takes over. She becomes bigger, stronger, and faster with big teeth and dark fur. This turns out to be the beginning of Rae’s adventures, and the first of many “gifts” that she will come to discover. More powers are uncovered when her long-lost father, a Shaman, and Nate, a childhood friend, return to her life. Even her loving boyfriend Samuel reveals a new side of himself. With them comes danger shrouded in secrets, and Rae is determined to use her newfound abilities to help them.

This is a coming of age story about a girl who discovers that she is a shapeshifter and a shaman, with the ability to move between worlds. The writer does a great job describing Rae, and what it would be like to discover new, exciting abilities everyday but at the same time, realizing that you’re surrounded by hidden dangers. Rae is a great character who is caught up in a confusing, difficult situation, but she’s determined to push through, fight, and win. From the beginning to the end, Rae is surrounded by secrets. That’s an essential part of the plot, but many of the secrets feel unnecessary, and not all the secrets are uncovered by the end of the novel. For example, why is Rae in such grave danger? We learn near the end of the book that Rae is the only one who can get a certain object. But Rae’s father doesn’t know that until closer to the end of the book. Also, while the author explains what abilities a Shaman might have, what a Shaman actually does is not fully explained. If these issues were addressed, the book could easily be improved. Nevertheless, it is an exciting and engaging tale about a young girl discovering her new abilities.