in a sentence or so: Plain Kate is mourning the loss of her father when a witch rolls into town and takes her shadow in exchange for giving her cat the ability to speak. since the witch has dark intentions with her shadow, Plain Kate tries to get it back and stop any further acts of harmful sorcery.Plain Kate is a carver. but she's not just your average wood jockey, she is an expert carver. so good, in fact, that the townspeople suspect her of being a witch. she's not, but her exceptional work certainly doesn't convince anyone otherwise. even after her father's unexpected death, the townspeople show Plain Kate no mercy and she is sequestered off to live in her father's abandoned stall. it is there that she reluctantly meets Linay, a traveling witch with unclear intentions.Plain Kate's future is uncertain. she can't shake the suspicions of others. she can't be an independent carver because the guild won't recognize her. even after she leaves the town to start a new life, her past follows her, haunts her, and puts her new friends in danger.things started off pretty quickly in this read, which i appreciated. i liked that Plain Kate meets the witch and the cat starts to talk and she's in with this new life of mystery and potential danger within 60 pages. her new life presents challenges to overcome while she, you know, overcomes this whole "not having a shadow" thing and "may potentially be helping a dark witch" business.for a book that's got a Howl's Moving Castle feel, while being a tad darker and mysterious and focused on the power of accusations and lost loved ones, i'd definitely recommend this read. it's a middle grade read that many will enjoy and find meaning in the characters and complicated situations presented.fave quote: "Things will find their shape." (185)fix er up: i didn't have as deep and adoring of a connection with this read as i was hoping.