Mark of the Wicked

Feiwel & Friends/Swoon Reads. Aug. 2021. 352p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250773890.
Gr 9 Up–When 16-year-old Matilda says that her hometown is only interesting at Halloween, she’s leaving out some details: Gravewick’s haunted “witching well,” the annual festival that honors the woman who haunts the well; Gravewick’s various and active witch families and covens; and the love and revenge spells Matilda has been casting on her unknowing classmates. But even though Matilda is a powerful young witch from a strong witch family, she has a lot to learn, and what she doesn’t know, including the unintended consequences of her more mean-spirited spells, have come back to haunt her. As Matilda falls for handsome Oliver, strange things start happening all around her—blackouts, dead animals around town, her old best friend stalking her, and even the murder of a classmate—and Matilda is the top suspect. While the teen works to clear her name, she must navigate her own family’s fraught dynamics. It’s only when Matilda connects with the past and accepts the power of a coven that balance is restored. Buffy the Vampire Slayer enthusiasts will enjoy Bowers’s ability to imagine the tension that might arise when ancient rules and traditions meet the realities of the contemporary world.
VERDICT An especially perfect read for fans of Lily Anderson’s Undead Girl Gone.

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