The explanation for this fantastic ability is that it's a disease that occurs "when a certain aligning of the stars enables pregnant women that breathe in animal dander to have babies that can switch to animals as they please." As they grow older, "these special children are taken away to a top secret school in Wyoming. (Shh! Don't tell!)"
In this story, the kids -- and especially the protagonist -- are funny, loyal, and brave. The protag learns to stand up for herself and to speak out when she's angry. There's also a little romance and tender teasing among friends. Ironically, there's not a lot of changing into animals! Just the fact that they can makes these characters special.
Don't we all dream of being more than we are? Don't we fantasize about being placed in situations where we might be tested, and prove ourselves to be good and strong? It's almost heartbreaking to see that desire expressed by young writers . . . the vulnerability and sweetness breaks through all cynicism. It's lovely.
Image courtesy of nokhoog_buchachon / FreeDigitalPhotos.net