Tara Bray Smith was born and raised in Hawaii. She graduated from Dartmouth College and received her MFA in nonfiction from Columbia University's School of the Arts. Her work has appeared in Granta among other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Gr 10 Up-Morgan, Ondine, and Nix are unaware of the special link they share. Morgan and Ondine-both beautiful, intelligent, and artistically inclined-know they are different from those around them, but don't know why. Nix drifts from place to place and uses "dust" to escape seeing the rings of light forming around people about to die. At an underground concert, the three discover that they are changelings. For Morgan, this knowledge provides answers to her questions about her differences and an exultation of power, while Nix finds answers about his visions and Ondine rejects the information. In the end, the teens form a ring, using their abilities to save a human "pet," Neve, from the clutches of a "cutter" (a fairy bent on destruction) with the outcome leaving the door wide open for a sequel. Except for Nix and Moth, the fairy "teacher" of the three new fairies, the characters are unremarkable, with the majority being vague stereotypes-Bleek, the cutter, is the fairy gone bad; Neve, the helpless girlfriend; K.A., Morgan's brother, the overachiever. For the first half of the book Morgan's and Ondine's characters could be interchangeable. The fact that Ondine is black comes up late in the book and seems irrelevant until the question of her fairy heritage arises. That said, Smith's story is edgy and compelling. Readers will want to find out about Nix's visions and whether or not Morgan will join Bleek or stick with her ring. Language, drug use, and implied sexual acts make Betwixt most appropriate for older teens. Readers of Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" or Bill Willingham's "Fables" graphic-novel series (both DC Comics) will be the audience for this complex, but flawed, debut.-Lisa Prolman, Greenfield Public Library, MA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.