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Book Review:  Celia and the Wolf, by Donna Maloy.

Celia’s father has warned her repeatedly that her true nature as a shapeshifter is to be kept hidden. But normal life in 1806 England is so boring. A fourteen-year old young lady is supposed to sit still, be pretty, embroider, and act refined. Celia dreams of being a hero like her father (also a shapeshifter, who works for the King as a spy) but he is seldom home to train her. So Celia breaks the rules. Then one night while at a party, a French boy comes to her with a message for her father — a desperate plea for help. However, Celia’s father is out of the country, so she decides she will be the hero: she will be the one who goes to France and rescues Remy’s sister from the evil Guardian of LaCluse. Celia tricks Remy into boarding a ship, and she sneaks aboard as a dog. But being a hero is a lot harder than Celia imagined. Life gets complicated when she realizes that Remy is a werewolf, tonight is the full moon, and the ship they’ve boarded is involved in something not exactly legal. An exciting adventure follows, with many twists and turns. She and Remy are joined by an unusual gypsy girl and her mysteriously super-intelligent horse. All their plans go wrong, and Celia puts her new friends in great danger through her brash decisions.

I loved Celia’s character. She is outgoing, courageous, has a sense of humor, and cares about others. She also is conceited and doesn’t think things through. She gets a crush on Remy and can’t keep in mind what she is supposed to be doing. She can’t hope to defeat the Guardian, who is a powerful madman with a deadly crusade. She goes from one scrape to another, barely escaping with her life, and those she is coming to care about are in greater peril than before. But Celia won’t quit trying. As she becomes a real hero, Celia learns the value of friendship, humility, and working together for a cause.

Celia and the Wolf is well-written, with an exciting plot and interesting characters. It is a middle grade book, but YA and older readers will enjoy it too. I look forward to reading more of Celia’s adventures. And I really do want to know the real story behind that horse. Is he really an enchanted prince, or what? This is the kind of book that you can’t stop reading. When you reach the end, you close the book, sit back with a grin and say, ‘THAT was a great adventure.’ Great job, Donna Maloy.

cover Celia and the Wolf

Donna Maloy lives on the Texas Gulf Coast. CELIA AND THE WOLF is her first book for teens. She’s also written more than twenty-five plays for elementary and middle schools. She loves ethnic foods, shopping, Jeopardy, and geeky things like Google Glass. Donna is always interested in reading terrific books from new authors, particularly teen writers. Her website (donnamaloy.com) and her blog (tangledwords.com) contain resources for new writers, with a focus on contests, workshops, publications and advice for teen authors. You can also follow Donna on social media: http://www.facebook.com/donnamaloy, http://www.twitter.com/donnamaloy, Goodreads, LibraryThing, and Pinterest .

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