It is during a routine school project that Abby Silva–sixteen and nearly friendless–makes a startling discovery: She is descended from women who were accused of witchcraft back in 1600s Salem. And when Abby visits nearby Salem, strange, inexplicable events start to unfold. Objects move when she wills them to. Candles burst into sudden flame. And an ancient spellbook somehow winds up in her possession.
Trying to harness her newfound power, Abby concocts a love potion to win over her longtime crush–and exact revenge upon his cruel, bullying girlfriend. But old magic is not to be trifled with. Soon, Abby is thrust headlong into a world of hexes, secrets, and danger. And then there’s Rem Anders, the beautiful, mysterious Salem boy who seems to know more about Abby than he first lets on.
A reckoning is coming, and Abby will have to make sense of her history–and her heart–before she can face the powerful truth.
This novel has an interesting premise that begins with the development of Abby’s character, placing the reader in her shoes, living through her eyes. Normally, I search out novels like this, ones that give me a deep connection with the main character, but in this case, I didn’t like who I ended up meeting. Abby just isn’t the girl in school I’d befriend, and I’ll tell you why. As I got to know her, I saw how deeply selfish and nasty she really was, underneath it all. Now, I completely understand being concerned with your own troubles, but when others point out that you’re being selfish, the appropriate response is to look deeply inside yourself and figure out if it’s true. And if it is, you apologize, especially if you’re not Miss Popular on the friendship front, as it were. Abby doesn’t do that. She allows her only true friendships to fall by the waste side because of her own issues, wants, and needs, which really rubbed me the wrong way. I mean, I get that we’re selfish beings. I am guilty of being selfish at times as well, but when I’m called on it, I take it to heart. I might brood about it for a day or two, but in the end, my friendships with others override my initials wants and needs. So, truth be told, Abby and I would never be friends. Which is okay. I don’t need to be her friend. But as a reader, I do need to like her in some way, shape, or form, in order to fall in love with the story. And I didn’t.
But that’s all subjective to the reader; you may love her, so don’t write off the story just yet, especially as, overall I enjoyed much of the storyline. I liked the allusiveness of Rem, and I enjoyed the whole witchcraft aspect of the novel, as it was very different from previous novels I’ve read. I thought the writing was good, too. But I didn’t care for the love triangle (again, back to the selfishness of Abby and her love potion), and the ending felt a little too forced. It was quick and clean, but over in a matter of pages, and I think that left me with more questions than answers in the end. This is a series book, though, so more is to come, though I would have liked a more solid ending in this first novel. Two and a half stars.
Scholastic Inc. has been extremely gracious in allowing me to read a copy of this recently released novel, via Netgalley.