Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Every Other Day

Every Other Day

Jennifer Lynn Barnes
For ages 12 and up
Lerner, 2013   ISBN: 978-1606844151

When she was twelve years old, Kali D’Angelo’s life changed radically. She changed from being one “whole person” into “two broken, disconnected halves.” Half of the time Kali is an ordinary girl, and the other half of the time she is a “hunter,” a creature who lives to destroy the monsters that walk the earth. When she is the hunter, she is fast, strong, and nothing can kill her. She heals rapidly, and she can sense where the monsters are.

The monsters Kali hunts were first encountered around two hundred years ago. During his famous voyage on the HMS Beagle, Charles Darwin not only discovered the mechanics of evolution, he also found out that creatures that humans thought were mythological are actually real. These preternatural species - hellhounds, demons, dragons, kelpies and the like - have no fondness for humans. In fact, they like to kill and often eat them. Kali, in her hunter phase, is compelled to destroy preternaturals. She does not know why she is this way, and she hasn’t shared her secret with anyone. She knows intuitively that if the Feds were to find out about her, she would end up being a guinea pig for their tests and experiments.

Then one day at school Kali sees that the queen diva of the school, Bethany, has a mark on her back. The mark indicates that Bethany has a chupacabra in her body, a parasite that will steal her blood, her memories, and her eventually her life. Kali knows that Bethany’s body will not be able to fight off the parasite, but there is a chance that her body could. Kali is able to get the chupacabra to leave Bethany’s body and to enter her own. Though the experience is horrible, Kali survives. In fact, instead of killing her, the parasite makes Kali stronger. The chupacabra also connects her, on a psychic level, with another being, a being who looks like a human but who is different.

Bethany and Kali soon figure out that Bethany was deliberately infected with the parasite, and they know that someone is eager to find the girl who is hosting the nasty bloodsucking creature. Kali is danger, but instead of running away, she decides to find out what is going on. Why is someone infecting humans with preternatural beings, and why is she, Kali, a human half of the time, and something else the other half of the time?

The idea that dragons, demons, and other monsters could be real is not a new one, but the way in which Jennifer Lynn Barnes brings them these creatures to life in this book is truly extraordinary. The plot in this story takes so many unexpected turns, that readers will be kept guessing from the first page to the last. Kali’s growth, and the valuable lessons that she learns about herself, her history, and her role in the universe provide readers with a captivating picture. Hopefully she will be back soon to take us on another adventure.