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4.2 22
by Wendy Delsol

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Family secrets. Lost memories. And the arrival of an ancient magical ability that will reveal everything.

Sixteen-year-old Katla LeBlanc has just moved from Los Angeles to Minnesota. As if it weren’t enough that her trendy fashion sense draws stares, Katla soon finds out that she’s a Stork, a member of a mysterious order of women


Family secrets. Lost memories. And the arrival of an ancient magical ability that will reveal everything.

Sixteen-year-old Katla LeBlanc has just moved from Los Angeles to Minnesota. As if it weren’t enough that her trendy fashion sense draws stares, Katla soon finds out that she’s a Stork, a member of a mysterious order of women tasked with a very unique duty. But Katla’s biggest challenge may be finding her flock at a new school. Between being ignored by Wade, the arrogant jock she stupidly fooled around with, and constantly arguing with gorgeous farm boy and editor-in-chief Jack, Katla is relieved when her assignment as the school paper’s fashion columnist brings with it some much-needed friendship. But as Homecoming approaches, Katla uncovers a shocking secret about her past — a secret that binds her fate to Jack’s in a way neither could have ever anticipated. With a nod to Hans Christian Andersen and inspired by Norse lore, Wendy Delsol’s debut novel introduces a hip and witty heroine who finds herself tail-feathers deep in small-town life.

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)

Product Details

Candlewick Press
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)
680L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 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."

Meet the Author

Wendy Delsol is a freelance writer who has lived in Detroit, Paris, Nice, and Los Angeles. Stork is her first novel. She lives in Des Moines, Iowa.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Stork 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Wafflez17 More than 1 year ago
I started reading this and could NOT put it down. Katla is an original character and never loses her head. I love how strong she is and how she helps her friends come into their own as well. Magic is talked about throughout the story, but it is secondary to Kat's growing relationship with Jack. I sincerely hope that there's a sequel in the near future, I feel like Kat's story isn't over yet.
BookGeek3368 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book, more than I thought I would. I found the Nordic mythos used as the basis of this novel to be a refreshing change of pace from the usual vampire/werewolf supernatural stuff that everyone else is doing. I liked all of the characters, especially the main character, Kat, who had just the right mixture of humor, sarcasm and honest emotion. The pace of the book moved well, and it was well-written. Can't ask for much more than that. Highly recommended.
MyndiL More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book from the library because I had found out that the author lived near me. I didn't have any idea of what to expect, and it's rather nice going into a book with no expectations. I really enjoyed the book as soon as I started reading. The story pulls in a paranormal aspect that I had NEVER read or even heard of before. While the book states some Norse Mythology and I'm kind of familiar with that, there was so much going on that was new and interesting and unlike any other paranormal story I've seen. I love that with so many books in the world, authors like Ms. Delsol are still able to intrigue us with something new and unique. There's also a mystery angle in the book that was compelling...while you try to figure out who is on the side of the main character, Katla, and who is not, you will go through many different ideas. While I wasn't a fan of the person who ended up being the villain, I wouldn't have guessed at how evil this character was, so that was a surprise at the end. This book is the first book in a series, but I didn't feel an overwhelming cliffhanger at the end. So, if you go into the book (like I did) without the 2nd book handy, you'll still want to read the next as soon as possible, but you won't feel aggravated that you're unable to start immediately. Overall, I'm pleased that I picked up this book and eager to read more by this author. If you like mythology and paranormal with a dash of mystery and romance, you'll love this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is that katla on the cover? Fun book to read. Age appropriate book. Nice family book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! It was so original and different to anything that I have ever read. I recommend it to all it is a must read!
Burg More than 1 year ago
While I find the fantasy genre to always be a place a good book can be easy to find, originality is not always as easy to find. There are tons of unique spins on similar topics, but when I heard about Delsol's story I couldn't resist. Throw in the gorgeous cover they worked with and I was itching to get my hands on a copy of my own. I had no prior knowledge of the Norse lore associated with the story and referenced throughout, but that made it more of a page turner for me, more of the unknown and new to discover. Katla suffers from being uprooted as a high school student from California to Minnesota, and if that wasn't bad enough in her opinion she discovers she's a Stork. Without revealing too much, Katla's realized she's meant to be a member of an elite and very ancient secret order. Let's just say it was understandable that it took her some time to come to terms with the discovery and her new place in all that was revealed. Slowly but surely she begins to make head way in the friends department and can I just say... you'll have a lot of fun trying to figure her and Jack out. Secrets are revealed, hardships are weathered, and a lot of tough decisions need to be made, and Katla's caught in the middle of it all. If you're looking to step out of the normal fantasy material, this might be a good change of pace for you, but without completely turning you upside down. I'm looking forward to see where the rest of this series will go, with the second installment, Frost (Stork, #2) which hit shelves in October 2011.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love reading and books like this is why. I loved this book I really related to the characters and felt for what they were going through. Very well writen I give it five stars.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
IndieAuthor More than 1 year ago
My daughter, who usually doesn't enjoy reading, was turning pages faster than I have ever seen her turn pages with this book. Here is her opinion: "It is an amazing book! The story was great and I absolutely loved the twist at the end. I might even read it a second time because I enjoyed it so much. I would definitely love to get the next book, Frost. The main character had a very interesting background and several twists in the story made the book even more interesting. Wonderful read!" Great job Ms. Delsol on writing a book that my daughter would read and actually enjoyed!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
I can not believe that I did not read this book sooner! It was sooo good that I read it under a few hours!! What I loved about this book is the uniqueness of it. I loved how Ms.Delsol is able to bring to life a classic tale that has been passed on through generations. Ms. Delsol story immediately grabs the reader and taking them on a ride of a life time. Ms. Delsol also presents some great back round history to the book that is does not drag it down. It gives way more to the story and brings the characters to life before the readers eyes. The love interest in this book just gave me a happy grin! I love watching the love unfold before my eyes. Whats more is that i Love how Ms. Delsol took another classic tale and weaved it in with the Stork tale. Well done Ms. Delsol. I would have never though this much out of the box, but the love interest really intrigued me and held me there. This story over all is great! I loved reading every moment of it but most of all I love the uniqueness of it. Such freshness to a story makes me want to read more! Her characters, plot, and attention grabbing details ensnares the reader to continue on till there is no more. I can't wait to read the next book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
FuzzyCoffeeBooks More than 1 year ago
So did this book measure up to what I thought it was going to be? What I liked: 1) Katla. She was a great female heroine. Miz Delsol absolutely captured the kind of girl that I think makes a role model for other teens. Her spirit, and characteristics, the issues that she faces as a teen, even the way she talks were completely and 100% personable. 2) Norse legends. I love books that have their roots somewhere in cultural myths or legends. And this was a brand new one for me. It was obvious in reading that Miz Delsol did her research and knew how to morph this legend into a modern-day story. 3) The surprise ending. I'm always pleased when an author manages to surprise me, because let's face it, it doesn't happen very often. I think that when you read as much as I do, you start to recognize the patterns that books take (not in a bad way, but there are only so many outcomes books can have, right?) It's a little like the chaos theory, I think. Anyway, I was surprised at the decision that Katla ended up making as her first big Stork decision. So not what I expected, but I was very happy! 4) Hot farmer boys. I can see Jack now...wranglers, Stetson......*drools on keyboard* Wait...no, it's cold there! He's probably not wearing a Stetson. 5) The writing. I have to compliment Miz Delsol's style here. I read this book in the dead of summer, it's triple digit weather here in TX, but I was so completely immersed in the story that I had a blanket wrapped around me, and I swear I was surprised when I couldn't see little puffs of steam when I would breath. It was great. What I didn't like: 1) Well, the whole hat/scratch your head thing was kind gross. I wonder if that's part of the legend? 2) I won't say I didn't like it, but the big secret that you find out about Jack felt kind of out of left field. I had to do a doubletake, and I was thinking, whoa...what just happened? But I'm sure it's going to make the next book very interesting! Overall thoughts: Read this book! It was everything I wanted in a story and more. The plot was great, very interesting and was rooted in a Norse legend. The characters felt like real people, and the writing makes you feel as if you are living the story right alongside Katla and her friends! Make sure you get a chance to read Stork, and look for the sequel, Frost, coming out on October 11, 2011. That's one book I can't wait to get my hands on!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ree_Anderson More than 1 year ago
I discovered Stork while filling my Amazon cart with books I'd had on my wish list for a while. When this popped up on the recommended list, the word "Stork" automatically caught my attention - I was, after all, newly pregnant and quite fascinated with everything baby. The synopsis drew me further in and though when I purchased the book there were not a lot of reviews out yet, I decided to go with it anyway. I mean.storks.babies.debut novel.you can't lose! Right? Unfortunately, wrong. The book did not live up to my expectations. While the premise was definitely unique (especially for the current YA scene), the execution of it was truly hit or miss. While the author's writing (and by writing I mean word usage/grammar/spelling/etc) was good enough to keep me reading, I definitely got tired of hearing about the protagonist's obsession with name-brand clothing. What got me, especially, was that Katla seemed like such a shallow, self-absorbed, selfish little chit of a thing.yet she was tasked with something that I, at least, believe is monumentally huge. Choosing which parents "deserve" a child? THAT sort of life-changing, awe-inspiring decision has been given to -that- girl? Ahh, NOW I understand why we have parents who abuse their children! That was probably harsh, and I suppose that I am biased. Having struggled with infertility and having seen and heard of truly horrible things happening to children who belong to people who just really don't deserve children.well, that appalled me. Katla even lied at one point about her visions to her mentors and "sister" storks, just to cover her own tush. Yeah, that's just not okay. I admit, the twist with Jack was interesting. The character development with Katla was there, and really, the -bones- of the story are very, very good. But, as I said, the execution was lacking. I'll read the sequel, but I'll be going into it with lower expectations.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Angela Halligan More than 1 year ago
book is great read for all ages
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Katla is a city girl. Fashion, Starbucks, it's all a part of her life. Well, it was. After the discovery of her parents' planned divorced, Katla and her mother return to their roots - a small town called Norse Falls up in the mountains of Minnesota. Pretty much everyone in town is a descendant of the Vikings, or Norsefolk, including Katla and her mother. But Katla's only half - her father's roots are French. Katla comes to town with some less than exciting prospects - a jerkwad named Wade tries to get in her pants after a not-so-brief drinking session, the apple-delivery boy (and secret flannel fetishist) named Jack has some weird connection to her, and the store across from her grandfather's - owned by a woman named Hulda - is showing some strange signs. But that's only the beginning... Katla is actually a Stork. No, not the bird that parents use as a flimsy metaphor for sex, but a member of a local, ancient order of Nordic women who see the 'essences' of children. When a child comes to them in a dream, so does the child's possible vessel - usually three different women. Things are heating up in the chilly town of Norse Falls, and Katla's just beginning to uncover one of many Nordic secrets. Wendy Delsol takes every little bit of my mythology and fairy tale buff's dreams and melds them into a book that is enjoyable to its core. The plot, even without all of the references, is cool; a look at pregnancy in all of its forms (and vessels) and its effects on people, and a job that actually relies on thoughtful decision making. I love how the very basis of this novel is about Katla learning to make intelligent choices that affect the people in her daily life. The other part, involving Jack and his possible connection to Katla, is also swoon-worthy. The ending, though, was not like I expected it to be. It was kind of out of the blue and I would have liked more build-up to it, even though in retrospect I should have seen SOME of it coming. The characters in this novel are just as well done, in a lot of different ways. I love that Katla is a fashion-conscious girl who isn't entirely dumb, and how she's smart, but not extremely so. Aside from her talent for clothes (and that little Stork problem) she's normal, which was nice. Her assimilation to small town life was also refreshing - being a small town resident myself, that entire portion of the novel was comforting and fun to read. Jack was an even more refreshing male lead - I mean a guy who can wear all that flannel and John Deere apparel would normally get on my nerves, but it was cute on him. Hulda was a nice change of pace, as well - the wise woman figure done with some nice finesse. Everyone else was cute and small-towny, but not overly so. Like stepping into a Debbie Macomber book cover. Just pleasant and nice to be around... Read the full review at www.teensreadtoo.com