So, Holly Black. She's amazing, and I never expected it. I'd read some of "The Spiderwick Chronicles," and while they were good, I wasn't blown away. But "The White Cat" was amazing. Here's my recent review. If you haven't read White Cat, you should stop RIGHT NOW and read it.
Okay. So. Cassel is back at school, angry at his mother for emotionally working his best friend, Lila, the daughter of the head of the local Family. In the Godfather sense of the word. He's attempting to have a regular life- trying to overcome his instinct to look at people as marks in a giant con- until Lila's father and the Feds separately approach him, and both sides have enough leverage to make a less confident kid crumble.
Cassel is just so cool. I said this before, but he reminds me of Sawyer from Lost- a smart, unflappable, twisted character that you root for even though practically everything he does is wrong in one way or another. You just want him to win. Because of his relationship with Lila. Because when he has a choice of what to make his brother believe about their relationship, it's that they go out for pizza every Wednesday. It's unexpectedly sweet and sad at times, and Holly Black has created in Cassel one of the most endearing and interesting characters that I've ever met. Put Cassel in a world of Curse Workers and government regulations of workers, a world where everybody is working an angle- it's a great ride.
I looked at the reviews on Goodreads, and it's pretty much unanimous. Great books, both of them.
For the sensitive reader, Cassel lives in a viceful world, but there is no language and the intimate moments are very much a matter of reading between the lines. It's tastefully done.