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I am desperately trying, and failing, to find the name of a book series I read when I was just a little girl. I have given all the details I can remember to search engine after search engine, but can’t find it so I’m coming here.

The story starts with a protagonist who works in a vet clinic or in a kennel of some kind and eventually comes into contact with this wounded leopard. I believe the book started with an intro of this leopard escaping from their home and being burned by something called ‘black fire’ or ‘black rain’.

The protagonist of this book eventually meets up with a friend and they begin discovering magical things in the forest, including stones that give them abilities. I know the protagonist could heal with a stone she either found or was gifted with, while the other girl in this series had a stone that allowed her to communicate with animals.

They ran into a magical beast that eventually was harmed and was in desperate need of healing, but the protagonist was having horrible trouble. Eventually, she finds herself healing the leopard (or it was some other big cat. Maybe it was a cheetah?) and discovers spongy patches on its back where wings were. She had to let the cat go because the cat had another master called ‘the shooting star’ or ‘the falling star,’ which was this blonde popular girl who could amplify their powers.

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  • Hi, welcome to SF&F. When was it that you read this? How many books were there?
    – DavidW
    Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 3:37
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    If anyone posts a correct answer, please consider marking it as accepted by clicking on the check mark beneath the voting buttons near the top-left corner of the answer. It's this site's way of formally indicating that a query has been solved to the querent's satisfaction. Commented Aug 21, 2023 at 22:12

2 Answers 2

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Is this Circles in the Stream (2001) by Shelly Roberts...? It's the first book in the 12-book Avalon: Web of Magic series.

This review notes that the main character is a girl whose mother works at an animal hospital, and that the girl finds she can communicate with a wild cat that was brought in with strange burns. She also discovers that there are other animals like this in the local wildlife preserve, and that there's another girl who can communicate with them:

Emily Fletcher is the new girl in Stonehill, Pennsylvania. When a wild cat is brought in to her mom's animal hospital with strange burns, Emily finds that this animal can communicate with her. She then discovers that Adriane, who lives on the local wildlife preserve, can also speak with strange animals. These animals seem to think that the girls can help, but how? With the help of a talking ferret (who claims he is a dwarf) and the snobby mayor's daughter, the girls realize that there is a whole other world... and it's in trouble!

Front cover of "Circles in the Stream" (2001) by Shelly Roberts.

This user review notes that there are three main girls in the story altogether, that one of the girls is the "blazing star," that they find magical gemstones, and mentions both a "black fire" and a "black rain:"

Animals are dying at the ravenswood wildlife animal preserve....but these aren’t any ordinary animals, they’re magical animals from another realm. And they’ve been sent to the human world to escape the deadly toxic black fire in their world. Emily’s mom is a veterinarian, and Emily loves animals. Emily is also a mage, one of three, unbeknownst to her and the others. Adrian is the warrior, and Kara is the blazing star. Emily and Adrian have found magical gemstones that contain powerful magic. Kara hasn’t found her gemstone yet, she does in the second book though. The animals that get infected with the black rain have a sickly green glow about them, almost like radiation.

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Zoey and Sassafras! It’s an entire book series :)

In the first book of this series, Zoey discovers a glowing photo and learns an amazing secret. Injured magical animals come to their backyard barn for help! When a sick baby dragon appears, it’s up to Zoey and Sassafras to figure out what’s wrong. Will they be able to help little Marshmallow before it’s too late?

Each story in the Zoey and Sassafras series features a new magical animal with a problem that must be solved using science. There isn't a set formula for each book; Zoey sometimes needs to run experiments, while other times she needs to investigate a mystery, and yet other times she needs to do research. Zoey models how to keep a science journal through her handwritten entries in each story. Each story is complete with a glossary of the kid-friendly definitions for scientific terms used. The series highlights child-led inquiry science and the topics covered align with both Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards.

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    Hi, welcome to SF&F. Can you describe this series so the person asking the question can recognize it? How does it match? Are there any aspects that don't match?
    – DavidW
    Commented May 28 at 4:31
  • There doesn't seem to be a leopard or other big cat.
    – Laurel
    Commented May 28 at 12:49

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