From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-Rigidly controlled by her father and striving desperately to be the perfect daughter he envisions, Frenenqer Paje, 17, moves through her overprotected life in a state of numb obedience and boredom. The stifling culture and heat of the desert oasis where she lives makes any rebellious behavior futile, but her spirit is bigger than she realizes. When she disobeys her father and rescues an abused cat from an Animal Souk, she changes her life. No ordinary feline, Sangris is a Free person, a shape-shifter not bound by rules. Though the idea of it nearly paralyzes her with fear, Frenenqer can't resist Sangris's offer to take her somewhere-anywhere-and the two set off to visit the places where they have lived throughout their nomadic lives. Sangris, who can grow wings at a whim, transforms himself into a gargoyle at first, because Frenenqer is so timid about touching a member of the opposite sex. But as their friendship grows, she is more and more attracted to the handsome, nearly human form he assumes around her. Sangris realizes that complete freedom can be lonely, and that he wants more than camaraderie. When he presses the issue, Frenenqer ends their friendship. With the guidance of a remarkable friend, she hits upon a clever solution to soften her father's rules. And once her issues with him begin to resolve, she finds that she can reach out to Sangris as more than a friend. Told in lush, beautiful language that explores the minutiae of expression and feeling of two lost souls, this novel will resonate with readers experiencing the first flush of desire and the confusion it brings.-Caroline Tesauro, Radford Public Library, VAα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
*Starred Review* Frenenqer—a name meaning restraint—was born inside her father’s imagination and sculpted into his vision of the perfect daughter. She has felt his invisible finger between her shoulder blades her whole life, forcing her meek, obedient, and modest actions. To compound the oppression, Frenenqer lives in a blazingly hot oasis in a Middle Eastern desert, marked by dirty white buildings, an unforgiving landscape, and no place to go, save to school and back home again. In an act of defiance, Frenenqer saves a black cat from certain death at the animal souk and brings him home. The cat is a shape-shifter, a Free person whom Frenenqer names Sangris. He has no constraints, no family, no rules to follow. Sangris, often taking the form of a boy, sprouts wings, and Frenenqer flies with him at night to places both real and magical. It’s this juxtaposition of subjugation and freedom that propels Rossetti’s spellbinding debut, as a girl owned by her father begins to experience life outside of narrowly defined spaces. With taut, lush writing (“the wind shut my eyes for me and rioted in my hair”), a stunningly imagined setting, and a premise that’s unique among the stacks of paranormal romances, this one—written when Rossetti was a teenager—feels like a breeze in the desert. Grades 7-12. --Ann Kelley