Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kristen Miller (387 pgs) 2006
It was an ordinary night for Ananaka, until she glanced out her window and saw a figure crawl out of a sinkhole in the nearby park. After locking eyes with her, the figure waves, grins, and runs off. Sneaking down in her slippers, Ananka discovers an underground room at the bottom of that hole. Even more amazing, she finds a book detailing a “Shadow City” stretching out beneath New York, and a trapdoor that leads to an expansive corridor filled with doors. Before she can explore, Ananka has to slip away as city workers come to fill the hole in.
Ananka resolves to find a way back to the Shadow City. Her chance comes when a new girl joins her school. Ananka becomes intrigued by the small white-haired girl who answers “Dangerous” to a teacher’s question of what she wants to be when she grows up. The girl is Kiki Strike. When Ananka begins following her, she finds that the girl is even more interesting than she first seemed: she disappears at will, never seems to eat, and foils muggers. Ananka soon realizes that Kiki was the figure she saw crawling out of the Shadow City.
Ananka soon joins Kiki as she gathers squad of quirky rebel girl scouts (a chemist, a forger, a mechanical genius, and a master of disguise) to explore the Shadow City.
Interspersed with fun how-to’s ranging from “foil a kidnapper” to “create simple disquises” and odd facts about New York, Kiki Strike is a fun adventure that promises sequels.