Spirit and Dust

400p. Delacorte. 2013. Tr $17.99. ISBN 978-0-385-74080-7; PLB $20.99. ISBN 978-0-375-98970-4; ebook $10.99. ISBN 978-0-375-98271-2.
RedReviewStarGr 9 Up—Daisy Goodnight, a 17-year-old psychic wunderkind, is a college student but occasionally she helps the FBI on murder cases. When the Feds whisk her away for another job, what starts out as a routine homicide investigation turns into a deadly game of cat and mouse. Enter crime boss Maguire. He kidnaps Daisy to extort her powers to find his kidnapped teenage daughter and to track down the magical Black Jackal, an ancient Egyptian artifact. A secret brotherhood wants the jackal, too, and neither the brotherhood nor Maguire has any scruples about doing whatever it takes to get it. Maguire pairs Daisy with his handsome young thug-with-a-conscience, Carson, and sends them off on a pulse-pumping hunt. What ensues is a perfectly balanced, dynamite combo of action, suspense, mystery, romance, and the paranormal topped off with a dash of humor. Daisy and Carson race across state lines, searching for clues in cemeteries, libraries, and museums. Along the way, they wrestle mummies, flee from the ghost of the Pompeii volcano, and encounter helpful spirit remnants of dead relatives. As Daisy and Carson get closer to the jackal, they discover that it has the potential to unleash unlimited spirit power. In the wrong hands…well, there's the rub. Daisy is an endearing, strong heroine. Her magical interactions with the spirit world are made utterly believable by finely drawn, evocative details of how she achieves them and the side effects she suffers each time she does. This is one of the best YA novels of the year.—Jennifer Prince, Buncombe County Public Libraries, NC

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