by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Bailey, Zo, Annabelle, and Delia have been best friends since forever, though they couldn't be more different from each other. Their little circle of high school pals includes a tomboy, a popular girl, a genius, and...well, plain old Bailey, who narrates the story and doesn't think of herself as anything special. But during a trip to the mall to scope out clothes and accessories for the upcoming spring dance, a new side of Bailey comes forward, a Bailey attuned to magical objects and voices from the fairy realm, a Bailey on whom the destiny of the world depends.
It begins when the four girls split a package of temporary, press-on tattoos. Before they think to question the strange designs and color, before they realize that the mysterious saleswoman has brought her wares to the mall just for them, they have been marked by fairy blood. This gives each girl a magical power that will last until the night of the dance. It also makes them sensitive to a cosmic battle going on in a dimension most mortals cannot sense.
Fashion diva Delia uses her power of transfiguration mainly to tart up her shoes, clothes, hair, and those of her friends. But the ability to turn a lock into tapioca, for instance, does come in handy when the girls have to break into a hotel room to save a child's life from being sucked out by an evil fairy. Zo's glimpses of the future, Annabelle's trick of reading (and sometimes controlling) other people's minds, and Bailey's power of fire also come in handy. But more important still is her ability to communicate with two ancient beings who are fighting to preserve the balance between their world and ours, between life and death. And that power comes not from the tattoo, but from Bailey's own blood.
Coming from an author whose other novels include Golden and Platinum, Tattoo is a fun romp featuring four lively teen heroines. Their friendship, their different personalities, their crushes on boys, and their resourcefulness in confronting an otherworldly threat to all existence, will bring pleasure to many readers, especially teen girls.
I don't mean to take away from this endorsement, but I must qualify it with an "occult content advisory." The story is built on a concept of the world in which fairies and the gods of various religions are involved in the origins of life, existing alongside us in a balance of magical energy. This worldview could be compared with certain aspects of the pagan movement, though some pagans in the book are depicted as ignorant dabblers. My advice to parents is that, before choosing this book for your daughter, you prepare for a frank discussion of these magical and occult themes.
St. Louis, USA
Recommended Age: 14+
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