Delsol, Wendy. Stork (2010). 357 Pages. Candlewick. $15.99
I was seriously impressed by this book. It manages to simultaneously be about a stereotypical fashion-obsessed California girl, a small Minnesota town, and old Icelandic mythology. Not a lot of books can pull that off, especially not debut novels. If you liked Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, I think it’s likely you’ll also like Stork.
From the Cover
Moving from LA to nowhere Minnesota, sixteen-year-old Katla Leblanc expected the local fashion scene to be frozen in time. What she didn’t expect was induction into the Icelandic Stork Society, an ancient order of women charged with a unique mystical duty. Not only is Katla the youngest member, but Hulda, the society’s omen-guided leader, immediately bestows the coveted Second Chair on her– a decision that ruffles a few feathers.
As if that weren’t enough, Katla also has to deal with her parent’s divorce and the social aftermath of a bad date with popular but creepy Wade. Katla, however, isn’t one to sit on her designer-jean-clad behind, and soon she’s assigned the fashion column for the school paper and making new friends.
Things would be looking up if it weren’t for editor in chief Jack. Even though they argue every time they meet, Katla is inexplicably drawn to him. Juggling her home life, school, and Stork duties, will Katla be able to unravel the mystery surrounding Jack? More importantly, will she find a dress in time for Homecoming?
One moment I was fine, and the next it felt like an army of fire ants were marching across my head. Seriously. Fire ants wearing combat boots– heavy, cleated combat boots.
Oddly enough, I don’t remember why I decided I wanted to read Stork, but I’m glad I did. I’ve been waiting for it at the library for a while now, watching my position in the queue creep closer every few weeks until it was finally here. (And what better time, I’m too sick to do much besides read.)
Despite the fact that Kat is exactly the sort of fashion-conscious, shallow girl that I usually dislike, I found myself drawn to her. She’s a great narrator with a sense of self that doesn’t get lost in the action. She’s aware of what’s going on, a bit confused, but mostly flexible enough that she doesn’t drive you crazy by digging her heels in inexplicably and dragging the story out. That’s not to say that the pacing is perfect; there are moments that are rushed, and things that get dragged out too long, but on the whole, it’s well done.
It’s an impressive book for a debut novel, and I look forward to reading more from this author. (I did get the impression that it was left open for a sequel, something which web-sleuthing has confirmed.) I am a little concerned about the sequel, because spoiler: Kat and Jack are happy at the end, and in a sequel they inevitably won’t be anymore. /spoiler.
Because I enjoyed it so much, I’m going to give it a 5/5. There’s a lot going on here that’s not apparent, and it lacks the foreshadowing which would make the climax feel a little less random. However, that can be excused, because it really was that good.