Have you noticed there’s a witch craze sweeping (no pun intended) the nation? Ever since Neve Campbell strutted her stuff in The Craft and Buffy teamed up with Willow, I haven’t been able to keep up with all the Wicca and Witchcraft books and materials that are flooding the market for teens. I’ll admit, I’m fascinated by the stuff, too. So when Silver Ravenwolf’s Teen Witch came out I, like a lot of you, bought a copy and read it cover to cover. It was fun to read and quite an eye-opener as well. For instance, did you know that Wicca is a nature-based religion that has about as much in common with Satanism as ice cream has with sauerkraut? And that the image of the stereotypical hideous witch with a wart on her nose casting evil spells on people is completely insulting to a practicing Wiccan? For you non-fiction fans, I wholeheartedly recommend Teen Witch if you want to learn more about Wicca and the practice of the Craft. But for those of you who would rather read just a good spell-caster of a story, here’s a Wicca-fully wonderful list of charmers, disarmers, and readers-of-palmers. (With nary a hooked nose or wart among them!)!
Ever since the hospital she was born in was hit by lightning, PK (preacher’s kid) Jean Honeychurch has been plagued with bad luck, so much so that her friends and family have dubbed her Jinx. When her run of ill fortune results in her high school boyfriend turning stalker, Jean’s parents decide that a change of venue might be just the thing to turn her luck around. So Jean journeys from rural Iowa to the Upper East Side of Manhattan to stay with relatives and start over in a new private school. Feeling very much the country bumpkin, Jean is more than a little worried about fitting in with her sophisticated city slicker cousin, Tory. But hottie-next-door Zach, who shows her around school and introduces her to the delicious world of NYC take-out, soon allays her fears. Unfortunately, this doesn’t sit well with Tory, who has a crush in Zach herself. Will Jean’s bad luck draw Tory’s ire and cause her to lose Zach’s friendship? Or does this seemingly bumbling preacher’s daughter, who spills and trips through life, actually have a trick or two up her sleeve? This Charmed-meets-7th Heaven story, while not quite as sexy as its cover might imply, is nevertheless a sweetly entertaining read that makes a perfect posting for Friday the 13th! Full of Cabot’s bubbling good humor and go-down-easy prose, Jinx should join Meg’s other light and frothy reads (How to be Popular, Avalon High) on the beach towel this summer.
I’m not one to endorse series books–I’ve rarely read one that wasn’t the same old formula recycled over and over. But if this introductory book is any sign of things to come, then we’ve got a winner on our hands. Sweep is essentially about our main girl Morgan’s reluctance to accept the fact that she’s got some seriously witch-y genes, and I don’t mean Jordache. She’s starting to swoon during the full moon, and tell the future in small flashes. Then handsome, perky Cal Blaire comes to town and she falls under his spell pretty quick. Only Cal’s a practicing Wiccan and he wants Morgan and her posse to start a new coven w/ him. (The story’s only weak spot–like a guy new to town would draw possibly damning attention to himself by publicly announcing in his new school–“Hey, y’all, I’m a witch! Wanna be one, too?”) Morgan has to face her fate as a witch as the lines are drawn between her and her best friend Bree, who is also deeply in love with Cal. Who will win Cal and fly off into the moon rise on his-and-her broom sets? Until you’re able to score the next volume in this spooky series, sweep this off the shelf and under the covers for some midnight reading!
These companion historical fictions are set in the medieval days of village healers and midwives who were often called witches because they employed herbal healing arts and worshipped pagan deities instead of the Christian god. The story begins in Juniper with Ninnoc, a spoiled castle princess-brat, who is used to luxury and always getting her own way. Her royal parents have another plan for her, and apprentice her to Euny, a strange old woman who lives alone in the woods. Euny teaches Ninnoc the ways of herbs and magic, and though her teacher is often harsh, Ninnoc ends up becoming a knowledgeable young doran, or witch, and taking the name Juniper. Juniper ends up using her new powers for good and saving her parents from losing their kingdom and castle to her father’s sister, an evil worker of magic. Wise Child continues Juniper’s story, only it is told in the voice of Wise Child, a village orphan who is adopted by the grown Juniper and trained in the art of natural healing. Wise Child’s knowledge and loyalty is tried when her real mother, a witch of the black arts, tries to lure her back and Juniper is accused by the village priest of witchcraft. Wonderfully crafted novels with tons of historical detail and Celtic folklore woven throughout, Juniper and Wise Child are gentle Wiccan fantasy fictions.
Nola’s problem is that she’s only a little bit magical. In fact, she can really only do one spell well. By plucking a person’s hair and suspending it in a bucket of water, she can see everything that person is doing. But that little trick doesn’t keep food in Nola and her mother’s bellies, or find them steady work. Because that’s Nola’s other problem–her mother’s a little bit crazy. Most of the time she’s okay, but at the most inconvenient times she starts talking back to the voices she hears in her head. That type of behavior keeps Nola and her mother traveling from village to village trying to avoid accusations of witchcraft. At one of their stops, Nola accidentally leaves one of her spells going–and starts worrying that someone will find the bucket of fortune telling. But when she goes back to set things right, she finds that a murder has been committed in her absence and she is right in the middle of a medieval murder investigation! Lots of twists and turns in this witchy mystery make it wickedly fun reading.
Poor Ugly One. Besides her unfortunate name, she just can’t seem to catch a break. Once she was a talented midwife and healer who kept evil spirits at bay with her magic circle while she welcomed new little ones into the world. Now she is a hunch-backed crone, tricked by the demons she once she commanded because of her immense personal pride. She must always flee their taunting cries as they attempt to get her to commit the final act of damnation–devouring a human child. So she lives alone in her house of bread and sweets, hoping to overcome her unthinkable destiny. Then a lost pair of children come begging to her doorstep…By the time you’ve figured out that this miserable figure is the witch from Hansel and Gretel, you can’t help but hope that the story will end differently. A psychologically fractured fairy tale from the master of re-mastered folklore, Donna Jo Napoli. You’ll never look at the villain in any story the same way again.
Teen horror author Jessica Allodola is shocked when she comes to school one day and discovers that the brooding new guy is none other than the vampire Aubrey, a being who, according to all rules of physics and logic, cannot possibly exist outside of Jessica’s imagination. But there he is, in all his dark glory, the starring character from her latest novel, scarily real. Both repelled and attracted by Aubrey’s unique mix of evil and extreme hottie-ness, Jessica doesn’t know what to do or who would ever believe her outrageous tale. Enter teen-witch-in-training, Caryn Smoke. Caryn is a good witch, and determined to do anything she can to save Jessica from receiving Aubrey’s Hickey of the Undead. But does Jessica even want to be rescued? And are Caryn’s immature powers any match for Aubrey’s supernatural strength? Caryn may be in over her head with these two. Melodramatic and more than just a little campy, Demon is nevertheless a quick, angsty read for witches and bloodsucker-lovers alike.
Rachel has the perfect life–a great family, a cute and attentive boyfriend, a best friend who’s like a sister to her, and the real love of her life—her dog Trickle. Then Rachel’s cousin Julia moves in. Rachel is prepared to do anything for Julia–after all, Julia’s parents, Rachel’s aunt and uncle, just died in a horrible car accident and Rachel wants Julia to try and feel at home despite her enormous loss. What Rachel wasn’t expecting is how “at home” Julia becomes–to the point of stealing her best friend and cozying up to her boyfriend. Trickle is the only other family member that dislikes Julia as much as Rachel–as Julia soon takes care of that as well! Rachel is afraid that Julia won’t stop until she has stolen Rachel’s entire life! But that doesn’t make Julia a witch…does it? If all you know of Lois Duncan is her book I Know What You Did Last Summer, then you don’t know her at all. Her teen thrillers are supreme–don’t miss out on this one or any of her other titles.
In school, I hated being called “gifted.” It either meant one of two things: you were smart, and therefore made fun of, or you were slow, and therefore made fun of. Either way, you were screwed. As to which category I fell under, I’ll let you be the judge. Bridget is gifted too, but in ways that make people pretty uneasy. In past times, they’ve burned those who’ve had Bridget’s “gifts.” Yep, Bridget is a witch, but one in complete denial. She doesn’t want to be a Wiccan, doesn’t want to be different or gifted. But when a mysterious new girl joins Bridget’s class giving off some desperately sad vibes, Bridget knows she has to use her powers to help. Jean Thesman is the best author for folks like me who only like a tiny bit of supernatural in their stories. Her stuff is super realistic with only the very tips of a broomstick poking through. I just love her writing and I think you will too, gifted or not!