First off, let me say that some of the very first adult paranormal romance books I read were by Michelle Rowen, and I loved them (I believe it was her series about Thierry and Sarah Dearly). Her young adult short story, Familiar, captures some of her signature spunk that I love – though I really did wish it was longer. It had a lot of potential that simply wasn’t fulfilled in the 10,000 word limit.
The short story is about a young witch-in-training, Brenda, going to pick out her familiar. She chooses a runty little kitten – only to find out that this kitten is actually a shape-shifter named Owen. Brenda and Owen, in their little two-day adventure, run into quite a bit of trouble with werewolves and a really nasty older brother named Jeremy (Gr!!!). They help one another explore their situations and fears (albeit, rather hurriedly – this is a short story). A little bit of love blossoms, a happy ending occurs.
What does Ms. Rowen do well? She captures the essence of teenage uncertainty, desire to belong, and desire to please. She also writes the completely illogical nature of teenage logic (i.e. I don't want to disappoint my mother by being bad at magic, so instead I won't even try) really well. Any teenager would be able to easily relate, and all of us who have been teenagers once recall those feelings with clarity. If the story had been a little bit longer she could’ve done a better job developing the story and the characters and added more of her signature witty flair. As it was, it wasn’t bad – in fact it was pretty good for a story of its length. If you’re looking for a quick, fast-paced, light read, this is a book to pick up.
“Um, Owen? Do you want some breakfast or something?”A smile stretched across his face, making him better looking, if that was even possible. “Breakfast sounds really good. Almost as good as ‘or something.’”
“Sexy”ness rating: It’s Young Adult, so it’s totally PG with very sweet, chaste kisses
(note – this book is graded on a Young Adult, Short Story scale. Do not compare its grade to those of full length, adult novels) Overall Rating:
Bottom Line: Perfect for an hour/two hour wait when you want to read an uncomplicated, fast-paced, young adult love story.Pages: 10,000 words
Published: May 13, 2011
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal