Kiki Strike and the Shadow City

Not too long ago, me and my compatriots were discussing our favorite books from middle school. Molly Moon, Artemis Fowl, and of course, the ever-popular Harry Potter all made the list. At the very back of my mind, however, lurked a very different tale from these now bargain-bin books. It was a book that had touched my soul, and changed my delicate pre-pubescent life.

I only remembered little snippets of the plot. The main character had been female, a girl obsessed with giant squid. She had discovered an underground city with an ensemble of friends (The Irregulars), assembled “Ocean’s Eleven” style. There had been cherry blitzes, and a mysterious silver-haired girl who was trying to steal Russian gems. There was also some very practical advice on how to be a spy, advice that I still use to this day. For example, did you know that you can learn how to read lips by watching TV with the sound off? Or that you can tail someone by walking ahead of them and watching them in window reflections? Obviously, this was one of the greatest books ever written, but I could not, no matter how hard I tried, remember the title of the teenage tome.

Of course, I could not just leave it at recalling fond memories. I had to know for sure that this book actually existed, that it wasn’t just a figment of my fevered post-exam mind. Thus I spent the next forty minutes (study hall going into lunch) searching computer for any trace of this lost masterpiece.  I searched silver-haired girl–couldn’t find it. I searched underground city–came up with the underground rail road. I searched girl gets impaled with icicle (which almost actually happened)–big mistake. It was only with literal minutes of internet torture (and the help of a very dear friend) that I was finally able to find the title: Kiki Strike Inside the Shadow City. Needless to say, I was happy beyond belief.

Reading the summary, so many terribly great middle school memories came rushing back. I wanted to be Kiki Strike (who isn’t the main character by the way, but the jewel thief). She was the coolest feminist character ever–when her teacher asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, she simply replied “dangerous”. If that’s not totally awesome, I don’t know what is. Although I haven’t quite gotten to dangerous levels,  yet,  I’m confident that it only a matter of time. If not, I can always follow the path of the narrator, Ananka Fishbein, and study giant squid.

And I almost forgot the best part. All the kick-ass pre-adolescent females in this book are GIRL SCOUTS! Girl Scouts Rule!

Taking all this into account, you might wonder how I forgot about Kiki Strike for so long. I don’t know myself. Sometimes when you grow up, you have to leave silly stories about girl scouts discovering underground cities behind. After all, how can the tale of street-savvy girl scouts possible relate to my life now? It’s not like I need to know how to navigate sewers and ward off a bunch of rats any time soon. Really, any reasonable person would have just re-filed Kiki Strike back in the old memory banks.

 I wonder how much “Inside the Shadow City” is on Amazon?