(I'd give this one 3.5 Stars, if only it were possible)
Diana Harrison's novel "The Keeper's Curse" creates a world so unusual, there's no way to describe it adequately in a review, but I shall endeavor to give you the short version.
Emmy Rathers is fifteen-years-old, and thinks her parents are overprotective of her. So, she has to sneak out at night. One night, she gets back to her room without being busted. She goes downstairs for a drink of water, surprises a burglar, then the living-room goes all poltergeisty, with whirling winds and stuff flying around, chasing the burglar from the house. Emmy's mom comes downstairs, sees what's happening, and tells Emmy to pack, that they're leaving in five minutes, and that she'll never see this world or her father again.
Emmy packs her suitcase. Her mom leads her to a secret passage in the house. At the end is a sort of glowing snow-globe thing. Emmy and her mom grab it, and whoooooosh, they are sucked into the ball, and end up on an orb called "Methelwood." Emmy's mom scraps with some security goons, who throw her in jail. Emmy finds refuge with friends of her mom's, with whom her elder brother has been living the past five years. (Emmy's parents had told her her brother was away at boarding school, which isn't really that much of a lie, it turns out)
So there are dozens of these orbs, which share a common hub, called Ministrial. Each one is a little world unto itself. The kids at Emmy's school--Urquhart Institute--are trained in one or more supernatural skillsets--Superman-like speed and strength; flight; the ability to control people's wills, etc. There's one kid in school named Breckin, and he has all of the powers. When he comes of age, he'll basically be running all of the orbs. When he was 12, his mom performed a ritual where his soul was transferred to another person for safekeeping (since he's so powerful, bad sorts would be trying to kill him). As it happens, his soul ended up inside an 11-year-old girl who lived on Earth. Her name? Yup. Our Emmy.
Emmy makes friends at her new school, and grows closer to Breckin. There's a complete jerk named Cyril Crow, who is Breckin's sworn enemy. But...well, it's complicated.
One night, during a Methelwood dance, all sorts of hell breaks loose, and Emmy and her friends find themselves fighting for their lives.
"The Keeper's Curse" is a good book, full of unique mythologies fused with standard teenagers. In fact, the worlds and mythologies are so detailed, that it was hard sometimes to keep everything and everyone straight. There were some funny interactions between the teenaged characters, and a curious love triangle. Actually, if you consider all the factors, it could actually be a love rhombus, or a love pentagon, for that matter.
It's a complicated romantic ensnarement. We'll leave it there.
There are many complicated situations in "The Keeper's Curse." Indeed, if I had to find one fault with this book, it's that it feels like it overreaches, that it tries to do too much within the framework of a YA-Fantasy/YA-Paranormal novel. It sort of bogged down the story at times.
While I like this quirky world Diana Harrison created, I think the truest, most compelling parts of the story dealt with how Emmy finds herself caught between two boys who are enemies. Neither of them can understand how Emmy can tolerate the other. In a world where teenagers have spectacular powers, perhaps the most formidable power of all belongs to Emmy, as she negotiates that dual-boy minefield--not to mention the bruised egos and petty squabbles among her other friends.
Like everyone else, Emmy has her share of human faults. In the end, it is her normal, non-superpower-enriched human heart--her willingness to take a chance and love--that ultimately makes "The Keeper's Curse" such a satisfying read.