Link to Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Lake-City-Way-Ninja-Girl/dp/0915745259
Reviewed October 2020
If I am not mistaken, the author of this book is the very same demure young lady as kindly visited me in my book-site along with her equally talented partner, whose interesting horror-book I had the unusual pleasure of reviewing. I barely recall her speaking at that visit – she seemed quite in the shadow of her husband – so I imagined that she must be one of those creatures who feel it is natural to leave men to take the lead. In light of which, I have to confess that I expected her literary output – her husband mentioned she was also an author – might possibly be insipid. I did not press her. I was afraid it might be a cookbook with reminiscences about Tuscany, or something involving a willowy thing with green eyes and a male with a chiseled jaw.
HOW WRONG ONE CAN BE!
I am confessing this, dear reader, both for my mortification and your edification. If you ever meet someone in a virtual interview, conducted in a fictional book-site, while they are wearing an entirely imaginary yellow health and safety hat, you must avoid making any assumptions about their talent. OK? Be aware that such settings can be tricksy. There. I have unburdened myself of my folly and passed on some new wisdom at the start of this review so I can sit back knowing that the world may now be a slightly better place and my readers may be wiser. So to business.
Cait Moore is clearly just as talented as her talented husband. Her book is delicious. It does not involve anything nonsensical as I imagined. It involves an extraordinarily feisty, martial-arts-trained twelve year old from a tough neighborhood who decides to take up ‘vigilanting’ as her special form of extra-curricular community volunteering. (You know, like running a cake sale for the local old people’s home, or rescuing newts to save the planet – only done in the dead of night, wearing a ski-mask, accompanied by a middle-aged homeless bloke and swinging some pretty lethal nunchucks.) She is an entirely glorious character.
The homeless bloke is not bad either – and how refreshing it is to read a book where a child has an innocent friendship with a man! He is modest, helpful, protective and yet respectful, and apparently happy to be sidekick rather than superhero. They like each other. They have an understanding. They work well together. I did find this delightful. (The last ten fictional men I’ve seen mentioned in the same sentence as a child have either been wizards (I hate those stories) or sexual predators. It’s become deeply unfashionable to posit even the possibility that an unrelated non-magical male could engage with a child for any other reason – which is all very well as a cautionary matter, but it seems rather tough on men, and unhappy for children… nice to see the balance being tipped the other way every now and then.)
Now, I have to admit that it was rather in this jolly vein that I read this book – I rattled through it at a rollicking pace, quite enchanted by this young character and her unexpected sidekick and glorying in the martial arts and derring-do. I was, I think, misled here. In urging me to take on this book, my unreliable so-called friend from Blackthorn’s Book Tours had recommended it with the promise that “it wasn’t a difficult read” (she is irritatingly conscious of my rapidly advancing years and will soon be consigning me to Horlicks and Women’s Own) and that it would be “a lot of fun”. It was only half way through that I began to consider that perhaps the book wasn’t a fun literary version of the teenage ninja turtle stories, but should be read as a piece of social commentary about urban decay, societal breakdown, family dysfunction, racial inequity (the girl is Latina) and all those sorts of serious matters. Mea culpa. It almost certainly is about those things. (As well as all the more delicious things I found in it – they were there weren’t they?) The captivating premise of the book was all the better for these darker themes, so I didn’t mind noticing, but I feel I should have been warned!
Not least, I should have been warned because of how the book ends. No, I never do spoilers, but this is serious stuff. Superhero books are supposed to end in a rising crescendo of battle leading to a glorious victory in which the good guys triumph and the bad guys get thoroughly done-over (surviving only just enough to leave the possibility of a sequel.) Well, it doesn’t end like that. Not the opposite either. It ends differently. It’s not what you think. (This may be another of those edifying occasions when it’s good not to make assumptions.)
Enough! This book is a truly great read, and thank you, dodgy friend at BBT, for inviting this review and giving me the book. (If my brain-cells hold together long enough, you may alert me to the sequel.)
Review by De Gevallene
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This review was undertaken as part of a Blackthorn Book Tour. They kindly gave me an electronic copy.
Driven mad by poverty, the death of her father, and the ruthless streets of North Seattle’s Lake City, twelve-year-old Gabriela Urieta puts on her ski-mask at night and becomes Ninja Girl. In her own mind, she’s a superhero—the only hope for cleaning up her neighborhood. In reality, she’s a sixth-grader who drugs her little brother to sleep so she can sneak out at night and rob criminals.Using money taken from her victims, Gaby hires a transient as her sidekick, naming him “Wallman.” Together they get lost in her comic-book fantasy. But before long, Ninja Girl and her family find themselves in all sorts of danger.
About Cait Moore
Cait Moore, studied commerce and law in Australia and pursued her career in the capital markets in London. Since she was knee high to a kangaroo, she’s harboured a deep love for the written word. Her fervent belief in the “one” has led her to explore in her fiction, what binds two hearts and souls. Hers belongs to her husband, author, Michael J Moore.
Follow her at http://www.facebook.com/cait.moore.5477 and caitmoorewriting.wixsite.com/website