The Witches of Worm - Zilpha Keatley Snyder, Alton Raible
Jessica, a very lonely twelve-year-old girl, takes in a peculiar kitten and names him Worm. Now she's doing horrible, malicious things -- is Worm making her do it?

This was one of my books when I was Jessica's age. I read it a couple of times and didn't enjoy it. It was really disturbing, full of ugly emotions, and Jessica treats Worm badly -- for a cat lover like me, that was difficult to read. It's no wonder that Worm rarely shows any emotion but fear and anger, and never plays when humans are around, which is the sign of a very wary cat. Now that I've reread the book, I think it's just about brilliant, with all the characters well depicted not just Jessica. But I'm quite sure I wasn't ready to appreciate it at first. It's a Newberry Honor winner, and Newberry is known for rewarding some fairly grim stories. At least it ends on a positive note (which feels very appropriate and well earned).