Dial (Penguin), Sep 2008, $17.99
Lucy Scarborough feels very lucky to have wonderful foster parents Soledad and Leo Markowitz, who took her in when her mother Miranda, only eighteen when her child was born, went insane and left. Lucy sees her sometimes as a bag lady with a shopping cart. Right now Lucy looks forward to going to the Junior Prom with Gray Spencer, who she likes. The date turns miserable because he rapes her, but she does not believe her predator was Gray as his eyes changed and he spoke in another language; he also called her Fennala.
Her caring parents and her childhood friend Zach get her through the next four months. Zack finds her biological mother’s diaries in which he reads that the Scarborough family line including Lucy has been cursed; to lift the elven curse, each female must accomplish three impossible tasks or go mad. None including her mom has succeeded at even one task. However, Lucy has something unique to aid her on her quest that her ancestry never had; she has three people who love her very much, who willingly risk their lives to help her. Three people she loves back as a daughter who cherishes her parents and as a girlfriend to Zach; so she prefers to keep them safe and go it alone but they won’t let her.
This is an outstanding young adult fantasy thriller based on the Scarborough Fair ballad with a Brothers Grimm Grim like spin that older readers will appreciate due to an excellent tense story line and strong characterizations. Zach and Lucy are determined obstinate individuals who in his case is willing to die for his beloved and in her case she is not willing to accept his help as she wants him to live (proving Mickey & Sylvia right that “Love is Strange”). The antagonist demonic elf is evil punishing generations of women due to the first sin of an ancestor rejecting him; affirming that adage that Hell has no fury like an elf scorned.