FICTION

Strange Alchemy

336p. Switch Pr. Aug. 2017. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781630790769.
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Gr 8 Up—In this heavily revised version of Bond's 2012 Blackwood, history, mystery, and the paranormal combine to create a contemporary tale of adolescent angst and romance. Modern-day teens Miranda's and Grant's fears and secrets set them apart from others in their hometown on Roanoke Island, NC. When 114 townspeople disappear one day—the same number of people from the island's famous Lost Colony—Miranda and Grant resolve to use their fears and secrets to their advantage and rescue the missing people. Because all of the adults are overly permissive, missing, dead, or clueless, the stage is set for Miranda and Grant to act at will without lasting or meaningful repercussions. Grant drugs the FBI agents and local police and steals his mom's car. The two also break into the coroner's office to look for a scar on Miranda's father's corpse. Many readers will find this novel fantasy-driven teenage wish fulfillment. Bond manages the historical aspects of the story nimbly. The main characters don't travel back in time to the 1500s; rather, denizens from the 16th century arrive in the present day. A family curse, a phantom ship sailing through town on dry ground, Miranda's soothsaying dream, and a creepy birthmark that switches from dad to daughter all come across as credible plot propellers.
VERDICT Recommended for libraries wanting to add to their teen paranormal romance collections or where the author is popular.

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