Bansi O'Hara and the Bloodline Prophecy, by John Dougherty (Random House Children's Books, 2008) was tremendously enjoyable. Never once, while reading it, did I think "I would have enjoyed this so much as a child." I was too busy enjoying it as just me! As well as a zesty little plot, with a sympathetic heroine who's half-Indian (yay multicultural fantasy with non-whitewashed cover!), considerable humor, and dangerous Danger, it features two of the best older women characters (Bansi's granny and her granny's best friend) in children's fantasy that I can think of.
When Bansi O'Hara's Irish father and her Indian mother met and married, little did they know that they were bringing together the bloodlines of two legendary leaders of the Fair Folk, who had been exiled from the other world long ago. And naturally they'd never heard the prophecy about their union: "When the Blood of the Morning Stars, joined and flowing together at last, is returned to the scared earth as the light dies, then shall the power of Tir na n'Og awaken...And one who returns the blood to the land shall come into the inheritance of Derga."
[those of you who become skeptical when Ancient Prophecies come into play--do not be alarmed. Yes, it is the basis for the plot, but it doesn't take over the story]
In any event, when Bansi arrives in Ireland to visit Granny O'Hara at Midsummer, when the way between the worlds is open, quite naturally two factions (good and evil, as usual) are competing to be the returnees of the prophecy. On the good side, a mischievous shapeshifting pooka and a friendly brownie are guarding Bansi; on the bad side, a shapeshifting, evil wolf-boy is hunting her.
This is all very well and good--nothing too surprising. But what is surprising, adding just tons of fun to the story, is what happens when Granny O'Hara and her best friend become involved--beautiful little set pieces of comedy and snappy dialogue, and a wild ride in a Morris Minor Traveller to fairy land armed with a car jack and miscellaneous scrap metal.
And in the meantime, the danger grows as Bansi is captured by the dark side...and she has to find the courage to keep fighting (even though, and this is a good thing, she has no secret Specialness! Just pluck and determination!)
I did enjoy it awfully much, and I'm awfully glad I found about it through this post at Scribble City Central last April and took a chance on it!