Author: Shea Ernshaw
Published: March 6, 2018
Publisher: Simon Pulse (an imprint of Simon & Shuster)
Where I picked up my book: Library
Key Words: Fantasy, YA lit, Paranormal, Witches
My Rating: 4.5 star
Synopsis (via Goodreads):
Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.
Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.
Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.
Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.
But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.
When I hear Book Riot describe this YA novel as, “The Salem witch trials meets Practical Magic meets Hocus Pocus” – I’m in, full force, 100%…and I was not disappointed. First, let’s talk about this cover art. It’s shiny and amazing and hooked me in from the second I saw it on #bookstagram. Plus, there is a bit of black and white art at the beginning of each chapter that I really loved. I used to dream about creating cover art, so I’m always drawn in to these aspects of a book. Plus, if anyone says they don’t judge a book by it’s cover…I want to meet you and see how the other side lives. Second, the writing swept me off my feet. (Well, not literally. I’m positive I was in a horizontal position for the majority of the reading of this book, but you get my point). It’s enchanting and gorgeous and provocative – just like a witchy book should read. And don’t get me started on the setting. It was dark, and gloomy, and wet and Sparrow Island was steeped in legend, traditions, folklore and magic. As I read, I was immediately placed in the setting. Living in Colorado, we don’t get much of that dark, gloomy, wetness (I’m not complaining, but the 300+ days of sun can sometimes put a damper on that New England, witchy, gloomy vibe that I periodically crave)…so I’m always obsessed when reading about it. I was also entranced by the way Ernshaw weaved the past and present throughout the book. It was engrossing and kept me totally engaged while chanting “once more chapter” into the wee hours of the night. There really wasn’t one thing that I didn’t like about the book. I’ve read a few reviews that people didn’t necessarily think the romance was realistic, but I’m here to remind us all that this is a YA novel. Yes, the romance happened quickly, and no, it’s not necessarily realistic to many adult lives, but are witches that steal girls bodies and kill the boys in the town really realistic? I don’t know…so let’s just agree to read the book and love it for what it is. If anything, the only small caveat I had was after I finished up the book, I just kept thinking (in my 38 year old brain)…so where in the hell were the parents when these kids were drinking and swimming and partying on the well known night that the Swan sisters are wreaking havoc on this little town?! But then I thought…who cares 🙂
If you like YA novels, witches and magic, I would highly recommend this book. And bonus-Netflix just won the bidding war to turn this into something-a show, series, or movie-YES! I can’t wait!