Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black
Kaye is a sixteen-year-old “Asian blond” girl with an alcoholic rock-star-wannabe mother. After her drug-addled stepfather comes after her with a knife, Kaye moves in with her grandmother on the Jersey shore. Once back where she grew up Kaye begins to remember playing with faeries as a child. She remembers them so vividly that they seem real to her. Suddenly, Kaye is crossing paths with them again and realizes that they are real, and that she herself is a faerie! She is a green-skinned pixie, who was apparently switched at birth with a human (a changeling). Soon Kaye is embroiled in a fight to save herself from becoming a sacrifice in the malevolent Unseelie faerie court.
This story takes place in a very specific area of New Jersey: the Jersey shore – home of Bruce Springsteen and the Asbury Park boardwalk. I grew up here so I especially enjoyed the setting of this book. There's even a scene that takes place at Delicious Orchards, a classic gourmet country food store that was my first introduction to really good cheese, bread, and produce as a kid (what I wouldn't give for a Jersey tomato right now). The story was very engaging, although some of the language and violence seemed a little excessive for the tween market. This is a gripping read for urban fantasy