printed copy

Otherkin: Otherkin #1

Nina Berry

ISBN 9780758276919
Publish Date 7/31/2012
Format Trade Paperback
Categories KTeen , Young Adult
List Price: $9.95

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I thought I knew myself. Then I met Caleb.

Dez is a good girl who does as she's told and tries not to be noticed. Then she rescues a boy from a cage, and he tells her secrets about herself. Now inside her burns a darkness that will transform her.

Everything is about to change--and neither Caleb, nor the Otherkin, nor those who hunt them, are prepared for what Dez will unleash.

"Be prepared to lose some sleep. Otherkin is full of non-stop action and suspense, and you're not going to be able to put it down!" --Brigid Kemmerer, author of the Elemental series

"Get caught up in a dangerous world of shadow magic, shifters, and secrets." --New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Estep

"Berry's debut offers just the right combination of  high-stakes exploits and steamy love scenes to keep readers up until the wee hours.  .  .ripe with issues that will resonate with readers. From body image to friendship, first love and betrayal, [OTHERKIN] explores the truth that no matter who or what you are, there's no escaping the politics of high school." – Kirkus Reviews

Chapter One

“Freak.” I tore off the back brace and threw it on the floor. “Why’d you let him touch you?”

I stared at the brace, anger curling in my gut. It sat tilted on the floor like an ancient broken statue with no head, no arms, no legs.

Oh God, it had happened. A cute boy had asked me out. And not just any cute boy, but Jake fricking Peters, hottest senior in school, who could have any girl he wanted. He’d not only invited me to the lame-ass dance this weekend, he’d put his hands on my waist as he did it. Only to feel my rock-hard robot contours. I pressed my hands to my heated cheeks. Shame had seared the scene into my memory.

“What’s that?” Jake had asked as his fingers grazed my hip. His eyes lit with surprise.

“Nothing.” I backed away from him, avoiding his gaze. I’d known this would happen. I knew getting close to anyone was a mistake. “I . . . I’ve got to get home. See you later.” The words rattled out of me, and I had scuttled away.

Now I breathed deep, trying to squash my rising frustration. At least I was home where nothing could touch me. Safe in my own room. With Mom and Richard out at work, I was alone, where no one would laugh at me, or pity me, or call me a mutant.

I peeled off the sweaty undershirt I had to wear under the thing and hurled it into the laundry. God, I hate those stupid shirts. I slid my hand around my own waist, the waist no boy could ever put his arm around.

I wasn’t that goddamn brace, not anymore. To hell with the brace! I looked around for something to hit it with, something to break it, so I’d never have to wear it again.

But there was nothing. Nothing but my bare hands.

Even as I yanked it off the floor, a small part of my brain knew this wasn’t like me. I never flew into rages or whined about the brace. I was a good girl, a nice girl, and tantrums were for people with no self-control.

But I’d worn the damned thing twenty-three hours a day for two years to prevent my spine from curving further, donning baggy clothes to hide it, unable to bend, enduring the agony as it fought against my body, unable to swim or climb trees, avoiding any proximity to boys.

Something had snapped. I pulled and scraped at it with my bare hands, trying to tear it apart, fingernails splintering. But the plastic wouldn’t give. The surface didn’t even scratch.

Rage blazed through me, so hot I thought I’d explode. I screamed. A convulsive thrust of power shot from the center of my chest along my spine, down my limbs, and out of every pore. The scream became a full-throated roar. I dropped my hands to the ground. Only they weren’t hands anymore, but huge paws, orange on top, white around the claws, striped brownish black. I whipped around, trying to see myself.

What? A long, thickly furred tail knocked the lamp off my nightstand. This can’t be happening.

The crash of the lamp sounded like an explosion. I crouched, tail tucked between my back legs, and looked up to see my reflection in the mirror on my closet door. Had I gone insane? Great golden eyes blinked back at me. I flinched. The tiger in the mirror winced too, ears back, white whiskers bristling.

I barely had time to take in my orange coat, white underbelly, and wide pattern of dark stripes when a loud thwack sounded from my bedroom window. Something stabbed into my side. A growl of pain and surprise escaped me. A dart lodged in the pale fur beneath my right front leg. Pain ran up my body, too real to be a dream.

I looked up to see a young man, almost angelically blond, dressed all in white, standing outside my window with a rifle. The screen was torn. He’d broken a couple of stakes Mom and I used to get the tomatoes to climb. We stared at each other. His face was alive and hot with anticipation. Burning pain spread through my veins from the dart. Instinctively, I gathered my new body to leap at him. He fired again. Another barb speared my shoulder, and I reeled back.

I snarled at him and tried to stand. But a painful lethargy took over. I shook my head, trying to clear it. Air whipped across my whiskers, a strange sensation.

An older man, also in white, joined the first to observe me through the window. He clapped a hand on the younger man’s shoulder. “Good job, son,” he said.

“It’s taking two,” his son said. “She’s strong for one so young.”

The older man had a head of thick silver hair. His even teeth flashed almost blue white as he smiled. “We’ll see about that,” he said.

And everything went black.

About Nina Berry:

Nina Berry grew up bodysurfing in Hawaii, learned to throw snowballs at the University of Chicago, and now lives and works in Hollywood, pretending to lead the glamorous life. She’s had jobs at places like Playboy Television, Married…With Children, and That 70’s Show. Meanwhile, she got a screenplay optioned, wrote for a TV show called Ghost Stories, made it to the finals of the Disney TV Writing Fellowship, and became a semi-finalist in the Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship. She currently works at Warner Bros., helping to develop new television series for cable channels like ABC Family and TNT.

Inspired by novels she loved as a teen, she sold her debut YA paranormal novel OTHERKIN to KTeen in 2011. When not writing, Nina loves to travel, read, and tweet links about saving big cats in the wild. She’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

Average Customer Review

Based on 2 reviews

Customer Review

Creative! (Saturday, September 8, 2012)
Reviewer: Kelsey O.

In Nina Berry’s debut YA series, the reader is introduced to Desdemona Grey, a socially awkward teenager dealing with teenager issues including having to wear an embarrassing back brace to prevent curvature of the spine (this back brace plays a very important if not strange role later on). Her life is completely normal until one day she shifts into Siberian Tiger and is tranquilized by a group of armed assailants. After waking up in a cage across for the handsome Caleb Elazar, Dez learns that she is an Otherkin Shifter and her life as she knows it is about the change. Berry does a great job describing this new world without losing the reader’s attention.

Dez already knew she was adopted after being abandoned in the wilds of Sibera. Her mother who was somehow drawn to her, is relatively easy to convince that Dez is special. To protect her family after escaping with Caleb from the dungeon of the Tribunal (who are out to kill all Otherkin), Dez sends them into hunting and joins Caleb at a “school” for Otherkin. There she learns about herself (even though everyone seems to be frightened of her but won’t say why). She learns that Caleb is a Caller who are normally enemies of the Otherkin. Their attraction to each other is quite evident throughout the story. Dez also learns that not one of the Tribe’s (made up of all the different shifters) get along, they have always only looked out for themselves and could care less if on Tribe is being hunted to extinction. Dez knows that to survive they must work together, but how is a teenager suppose to unite everyone after centuries of fighting amongst themselves?

I definitely loved this first installment and look forward to reading book two. There is very creative writing involved in Otherkin that delivers a fast-paced intriguing read. Using teenagers to show adults that fighting among themselves will only lead to the death of all of them is ingenious on Berry’s part. I became invested in each of the teenagers of the school and can’t wait to learn more about them. Highly recommend for all YA urban fantasy fans who are looking for a new series to start.

(book was provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review)

Otherkin is my kind of a book (Tuesday, July 31, 2012)
Reviewer: Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile

When secrets lie just beyond a veil of shadow magic and shifters exist alongside the callers of shadows, it is guaranteed that I will be hooked. And I was. There is never a dull moment in this fascinatingly fresh and a whirlwind of a book called Otherkin.

Dez's life is defined by her back brace so she adjusts to it despite the frustration it brings. But it's been two years and Dez is bound to snap and boy, snap she did! Before Dez knew what was happening, she was looking at a tiger in her bedroom mirror who winced when she did. It unfortunately gave a green signal for her to get drugged, shot and then caged.

There she meets Caleb in the neighbouring cage and they both end up escaping the wrath of the Tribunal. But it's really just the beginning because the Tribunal's sole purpose is to eliminate the remaining otherkin: bears, cats, birds of prey, rats and wolves. Hell be damned if these five shifters tribes ever unite to fight the Tribunal!

But Dez knows that the life as she has known is over when the Tribunal attacks again. Her last option is to go to a shifter school in a secret location with Caleb. With a family on the run, Dez has no choice but to at least learn how to shift into her animal form and back at will.

Through it all, Dez remains a strong and independent character who seems to be always battling with her body; first with the back brace then as a shifter. It really emphasizes her human and the animal form and gives her the courage she needs. I admire her will. Caleb is a pretty mysterious character but he is also charming and have the etiquettes of a gentleman. Their chemistry is hot!

The secondary characters from Ximon, the Tribunal head to Morfael, the mysterious teacher to the other shifters: November, London, Arnaldo, and Siku blends well in the world of shifters. The shifter school turns out to be an adventure for Dez and with Caleb becoming distant, Dez really has no way to gain confidence than to embrace what she is. What is Caleb hiding and why is Morfael becoming more secretive every day?

The concept of otherkin is so thrilling, it's like a whole new world. Just like the tagline says,

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