More than just another shapeshifter novel, Darkest Fear, the first in the Birthright series, is surprisingly deep in its examination of human nature. There’s a lovely romance subplot, but this is truly a story of a young woman finding herself — and Vivi, our protagonist, is utterly relatable. Overall, a great beginning to an exciting new series.

On her 13th birthday, Vivi’s parents revealed a stunning family secret: that they were part of an ancient race capable of turning themselves into jaguars at will. Five years later, Vivi would do anything to forget her origins — and is planning on moving from Florida to Seattle for college to do just that. Her plans come to a halt, however, when her parents are brutally murdered. Suddenly alone, Vivi must come to terms with her nature, discover a family she never knew existed and try to create a future entirely different from any that she could have anticipated. (SIMON PULSE, Jan., 368 pp., $17.99, ISBN: 9781442482463, HC, 14 & Up)

Reviewed by: 
Meghan Watts