The Price Guide to the Occult

288p. Candlewick. Mar. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780763691103.
Nor Blackburn is "the eighth and therefore last of the Blackburn daughters," descendants of the infamous witch Rona Blackburn. The Blackburn women all have gifts (or "Burdens"), and Nor's is the ability to hear the thoughts of plants and animals. A high-school dropout whose only ambition is to be as unlike her mother as possible, she lives with her grandmother on Anathema Island, a Pacific Northwest community that both benefits from its ties to witchcraft ("Guided Walking Tours of Anathema Island's Witch-Relevant Landmarks and Legends. Available Thrice Daily") and lives in fear of them. Then Nor witnesses the mass exodus of all the animals from Anathema Island, and the plants begin to act strangely. Nor's impulse to self-harm becomes harder to control, and she regularly awakes from horrific nightmares full of menace and blood-all harbingers of her wicked mother's return. Walton's (The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava ?Lavender) horror tale features a vivid setting, lyrical prose, and engaging characters; Nor's formidable pipe-smoking grandmother Judd, her best friend Savvy (a "punk rock Pollyanna...with big brown eyes, ocher-brown skin, and wildly colored hair"), and her love interest Reed Oliveira provide comfort and care to a protagonist whose mother is hell-bent on murdering her. elissa Gershowitz

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