White Cat (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2010) by Holly Black is the first book in a fascinating world of magic and mobsters.
17-year-old Cassell is living at Wallingford Preparatory to try to live a normal life. He's the only nonmagic member in a family of workers. Dad is dead, Mom in jail and his brothers Philip and Barron exclude him, although they did protect him 3 years ago when . . . But I can't tell you that!
Here are the great opening lines:
"I wake up barefoot, standing on cold slate tiles. Looking dizzily down. I suck in a breath of icy air."
As you read on you discover those tiles are on a roof and there is no way for him to get down. *shudder* Talk about a nightmare! Humiliating for a teen boy to not only have to be rescued but for it to happen publicly in front of his peers? That's worse.
In August 2009, I heard Holly Black speak at the LA SCBWI conference about how readers must be able to believe the fantastical world. As she said "the real stuff has to be really real" and she's done this with this book.
Book Two, Red Glove, came out in 2011 and you'll want to read it, too. The Curse Worker series has its own website where you can read about the books, watch a great trailer, and check out extras.
On Holly's regular site, she's got a "cover to be unveiled" picture of the third book, Black Heart. It'll be exciting to see the reveal.