The Black Cougar of Vernon Secondary by Marisa Chenery
Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Genre: Contemp, YA, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (197 pgs)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 3.5 books
Reviewed by Tulip
Mika Taylor has always had it bad for Trent Hunter, but she never had the guts to talk to him. Now that her best friend’s moved away, Mika dreads having to face a school year at Vernon Secondary alone. And being classed as the school freak doesn’t help matters. When Trent finally looks at her and not through her, Mika starts to think grade eleven won’t be so bad after all. Getting to know him better, she can’t shake the feeling there’s something he isn’t telling her. A chance encounter with the fabled Okanagan black cougar has her putting two and two together. When Mika sees not only the black cougar along with another cougar lurking in her backyard, she has to wonder if things can get any stranger than they already are.
What will this school year be like without her only friend?
Mika Taylor is starting school again, but this year she is alone. Her very best friend, Cathy, has moved and Mika doesn't have many friends. She is treated as a loner, with others making fun of her. She does not dress in popular clothing and always seems to have her face in a book. I automatically felt a lot of sympathy for her. She seemed so lost without her girlfriend.
Sylvia is the most popular girl in school and is consistently picking on Mika. Sylvia is a cheerleader and a bit bullyish. We all knew one of these girls, wherever we grew up. She was the uber popular and no one ever seemed to go up against her.
Mika has had a crush on Trent Hunter for about two years now. He is in her first period class and seems to be looking at her a lot, although she can't really figure out why, what with her being the school freak and all. Trent is full-blooded Okanagan Indian and gorgeous, probably able to attract any female he would like.
Trent shows an interest in Mika and they become friends at first, with a relationship starting very slowly. Mika notices from time to time that Trent's eyes are changing from his beautiful brown to a gold, shining pupil and has read enough romance novels to wonder if he is capable of shape-shifting into a cat of some sort.
Trent is the type of guy that most of us would have liked to have met and befriended in school. The description of him is eloquent and makes you want to be right there. There is a legend in Vernon Secondary about a black cougar that has never really been proven. Mika wonders about that legend and where the cougar initially came from. She has many thoughts about Trent becoming that black cougar and how awesome that might be.
There is an incident, after Mika and Trent have started to form a relationship, where someone has duped Mika into going to a very wooded and densely protected area near the reservation. Mika is hesitant to go, but she believes that Trent has invited her to go hiking with her. Mika is left in a vulnerable situation. The description used in this episode is very graphic and makes you feel as if you are taking part in the incident.
The story is very sweet and easy to read. I really liked the characters, they were like neighbors and friends to me. If you like sweet YA with a touch of paranormal, I think this just might be the book for you.