By Elizabeth C. Bunce
Arthur A. Levine Books, 2010. 359 pgs. Teen fiction
Digger is a thief, forger, and spy whose partner in crime in nabbed by the Greenmen, the king's police group. With him gone, Digger has to quickly find a new plan, and when a group of young nobles invite her to join with them, she invents a new identity, Celyn Contrare," and soon finds herself serving as a lady-in-waiting for Merista Nemair and living with Merista's family in a remote region of the kingdom. She's waiting for a chance to escape, but one of the Nemairs's guests knows "Celyn" isn't who she says she is and forces her to spy for him, so she has to figure out how to give him enough information to keep him satisfied without revealing enough to destroy the family that has so graciously taken her in.
This book started off a little slow for me; the world Bunce is different enough from what I'm used to reading that I struggled to get into it and understand what was going on. Once I discovered the glossary in the back, that helped speed things up for me , and from then on, I was hooked. The story is adventurous, and I liked watching Digger deal with her emotional struggle: she doesn't want to get attached to the Nemair family, and she also has to face things from her past that she is running from. Overall, I really enjoyed the book and am anxiously awaiting the sequel. Four stars.
This book is mostly a clean read--a little bit of innuendo, and one of the characters is a "companion" but that's about it.
(As a side note, I expected there to be an element of romance--maybe because the title made me think of Romeo and Juliet--but there isn't any. I still hope to see that develop in the next book, but for other readers who might be seeking that element, be warned that it isn't there.)