4.2 22
by Wendy Delsol

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Oh baby! A hip heroine discovers that she has the ability to decide who gets pregnant in this witty YA blend of romance and the supernatural. Sixteen-year-old Katla has just moved from Los Angeles to the sticks of Minnesota. As if it weren't enough that her trendy fashion sense draws stares, she learns to her horror that she's a member of an ancient order of women who… See more details below


Oh baby! A hip heroine discovers that she has the ability to decide who gets pregnant in this witty YA blend of romance and the supernatural. Sixteen-year-old Katla has just moved from Los Angeles to the sticks of Minnesota. As if it weren't enough that her trendy fashion sense draws stares, she learns to her horror that she's a member of an ancient order of women who decide to whom certain babies will be born. Add to that Wade, the arrogant football star whom Katla regrettably fooled around with, and Jack, a gorgeous farm boy who initially seems to hate her. Soon Katla is having freaky dreams about a crying infant and learns that, as children, she and Jack shared a near-fatal, possibly mystical experience. Can Katla survive this major life makeover and find a dress for the homecoming dance? Drawing from Norse mythology and inspired by The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, debut author Wendy Delsol conceives an irreverent, highly entertaining novel about embracing change and the (baby) bumps along the way.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Virulent, communicable cradle cap is an improbable candidate for the next big paranormal trend, but that is the manifestation bestowed upon 16-year-old Kat Leblanc, newly relocated to Minnesota from California and in revolt against everything in her new life. Kat is a fashion diva--arrogant, sharp-tongued, and hurting from her parents' divorce. After an impulsive episode in a backseat with someone else's boyfriend, she's also a social outcast. The only acceptance she finds is among a group of strange old women who acknowledge that she is a "Stork"--one who mystically chooses which women will become pregnant. Kat's outbreaks of cradle cap, "scratching my darn head until blood and pus trickled down," call the group to meet ("Once you start scratching, we will all get the cap"). It's a strange and gross misstep, as the book strains for novelty while Kat works her way through romantic minefields and the blossoming of her powers. First-time author Delsol is more than capable of writing convincing imaginative scenes, but they form more of a bumpy patchwork than a well-paced whole. Ages 12–up. (Oct.)
VOYA - Stacey Hayman
After her parents' split, sixteen-year-old Katla and her mom leave sunny SoCal for her mom's hometown of Norse Falls, Minnesota. Kat misses her dad, trendy fashions, and Starbucks, but she's been given a good distraction: she's been tapped to join the ancient, secret, and select Icelandic Stork Society, in which she is not only the newest member but also the youngest to date. Taken under Fru Hulda's wing, Kat is learning more than how to guide the right unborn soul to the proper mother—she's also learning how to navigate more personal issues, like why Jack Snjosson, the close-mouthed, popular starting quarterback and editor of the school paper, seems mad that Kat does not remember him from childhood visits. Can one girl juggle the politics of the Stork Society, find new friends, and battle her crush on an angry young man with secrets while keeping secrets of her own? She can, if that girl is Kat. Smart, funny, and so perfectly constructed, this book should go to the top of everyone's to-be-read pile. Kat has witty thoughts, in addition to droll dialogue, so the humor never feels forced or false and will even cause readers to laugh out loud. The clever story line has unexpected twists and a satisfying ending, with plenty of potential for future novels. The addition of a growing romance between our heroine and her hero, the well-developed background story of her parents' divorce and her mom starting over, and the possible revitalization of this small town just add to the depth of the story and the overall enjoyment each page of this book delivers. Reviewer: Stacey Hayman
Children's Literature - Phyllis Kennemer
Sixteen-year-old Katla hates everything about her forced move from California to Minnesota due to her parents' divorce. No one in the small town has an ounce of fashion sense and she has not made any friends. Then strange things begin to happen. She discovers she is a Stork when she is mysteriously called to join a group of old women. Through their guidance she learns of her magical powers and special abilities. In the meantime, she meets Jack, an unusual young man with strange powers of his own. He expects her to know him for some reason, but at first she has no recollection of ever having seen him before. Mystical revelations reveal their past and present connections. The story is a blend of typical high school activities mixed with adolescent romance and of suspenseful supernatural events taking it into the realm of high fantasy. Mature high school girls may find the story intriguing and engrossing. Reviewer: Phyllis Kennemer, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Katla Leblanc has recently moved from LA to northern Minnesota, the ancestral home of her mother's family. The story immediately takes on a magical twist when she is summoned to the scary basement of a seemingly abandoned fabric shop only to find a chair being held for her among a circle of old women. It's a secret meeting of the Aslendigas Storkur Society—storks who recommend and vote on the placement of new souls in "vessels." Couple that with the new boy who apparently knows her from "before," and you have the making of a breathtaking urban fantasy. Delsol uses colloquialisms and rich language to create vivid characters and detailed settings. The inclusion of Nordic mythology and a sense of fate add to the tenor of mysticism, and the two young men in Katla's life, one of whom might be posing a danger to her, add interest and suspense.—Leah Krippner, Harlem High School, Machesney Park, IL
Kirkus Reviews

In this intriguing debut, a fashion-conscious California teen moves to northern Minnesota and has trouble fitting into her new surroundings, especially when she learns that she has supernatural powers. Katla is 16 and can't imagine how she'll survive in the backwater town where her grandfather lives. Soon after arriving, however, she learns that she is a "stork," the youngest of a group of white witches who have the power to decide which woman in her town will become pregnant. As Katla struggles with this bizarre twist in her fortunes, she also tries to adjust to her new school and cope with the attentions of two boys. Obnoxious Wade won't leave her alone, and mysterious Jack claims some shadowy connection with her. Delsol rather deftly weaves the two strands of her story together, revealing layers of back story as she builds suspense. Katla comes across as a breezy, bright teen who finds herself overwhelmed by the increasingly odd circumstances of her life but learns that she can cope. Skillfully written and quite engaging. (Paranormal romance. 12 & up)

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Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Sales rank:
680L (what's this?)
File size:
1 MB
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt


One moment I was fine, and the next it felt like an army of fire ants was marching across my head. Seriously. Fire ants wearing combat boots - heavy, cleated combat boots. I'd never experienced anything like it. I scratched at my scalp until my hand cramped. It didn't help. I turned, and the mirror behind the cash register confirmed my suspi- cions: along with the crazy rash creeping from under my hairline, I also had claw marks. Any other head of hair would conceal such blemishes. Not mine. My towheaded, sun-fearing ancestors had seen to that.

I opened the cupboard under the register. Where was that woolen beret I'd seen? Crimson red with a small loop on top. A bit of a fashion stretch, even for me. Oh, well. This town already thought I was odd, the suspicious package dropped at their door. I shrugged the hat over my head. It provided no relief, but at least it covered the damage.
Where the heck was that delivery? My afi - my grandfather - had told me I could close as soon as Snjosson Farms delivered the apples. I looked at the old clock above the candy counter. Nine o'clock. Afi had said the bushels would arrive at seven.

Hoping to see headlights barreling down Main, I looked outside. Across the street, a light in Hulda's Fab- ric and Notions caught my eye. No way. I'd been waiting for a sign of life in the place for weeks. The going-out- of-business sign and unclaimed bolts of fabric, glorious pristine fabric, had been taunting me as a bargain oppor- tunity. I quickly scribbled Back in five on a piece of paper and taped it to the door. Snjosson Farms and their golden pippins could wait.

Clutching my Juicy Couture velour jacket to my throat, I hurried across the road. Dang, it was cold. Mid- September and already something the Minnesota yokels called an Alberta Clipper was bearing down from the north. In California I'd still be in shorts, spaghetti straps, and flip-flops.
A chime tinkled above my head as I stepped over the threshold.
Holy crap. It smelled worse than my grandfather's store, something I hadn't thought possible. Like some- thing died. No. Worse. Like something got caught in the act of dying - some long, lingering, putrefying fade. I knew the feeling. For me it was junior year at Norse Falls
High School. Exile High, as I liked to call it.

"Who's there?" The voice sounded cracked with age. I looked up to see an old ball of a woman with skin more crushed and textured than the bolts of velvet she stood over. Tufts of charcoal gray hair escaped from under an orange hat with floral trim. She looked like a shriveled root dangling under a flowerpot.

"I saw the light," I said. "I've wanted to look at your shop for weeks now." I took a hesitant step farther into the store.

The old lady, dressed in a drab gray skirt and dull gray cardigan, checked the time. "No. Is too late. You come back again."

"But when?" The scalp condition grew worse. "I've been working at my grandfather's store for a couple of months now." I wanted so badly to scratch my head. "I've never seen you open before." What would the woman think if I dropped to the floor and started rolling like some flea-bitten mongrel? And no wonder they called them boils. My whole head felt like it was churning with hot foaming bubbles.

"Next time. You come next time." Once more, the old lady checked her watch. I heard the creak of a rear door, a howl of wind, and then footsteps descending stairs, but I didn't see anyone. Kinda creepy. Then again, the old lady probably had more friends on the other side than on this one.

She pointed to the front door. "So sorry. You go now." On a low shelf, I spied a tartan wool that would be perfect for the cape I was designing. I leaned down for a better look, and the red beret tumbled to the floor. I scooped it up and quickly replaced it on my head. I heard a gasp.

"You have the cap," the old lady said, wagging a trem- bling finger in my face. Her eyes bulged as she stared at my head.

I tugged the beret over my ears. "Not really mine. Just borrowed it." The itching got worse. It felt like fingers of angry red streaks were escaping down my forehead and across my neck. I fought the urge to reach under the hat and yank my hair out, handful by miserable handful.

The old lady looked at me as if I had jabbered in some long-lost Icelandic dialect. Of course, that was prob- ably her native tongue. Half the town, my mom's family included, had descended from the same band of Vikings blown off their little iceberg of an island.

"Not borrowed. Cap is a sign. Follow me." The old lady started shuffling toward the back of the store.

Definitely creepy now.

"I really just wanted to look at the fabric. I sew, and I'm into design, but I could come back another time." My head was screaming with pain. I wondered if scalping was ever medically prescribed. I would do it in a heartbeat, just lop the whole thing off, no anesthesia necessary.

"Time is now. Follow me."

I obeyed like some sort of heeled dog, though how this little old lady could conjure such authority was beyond me. My mom couldn't even get me to pour milk into a glass. I just hoped there was Dupioni silk or pebbled crepe for which the "time is now" phrase was intended.

"Is there something back here you wanted to show me? Mrs. Hulda, is it?" Common sense told me to make like the yards of fabric and bolt - still, I followed.

"Is Huldabrun Vigarthursdottir. You call me Fru Hulda."

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