When My Heart Was Wicked

Tricia Stirling. Scholastic Press, $17.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-545-69573-2
Is Lacy Fin a witch or not? Midway through her junior year of high school, this question isn’t on her radar. Her father has just died, and she is bracing to return to school under the gentle aegis of her stepmother, Anna. No sooner does Lacy negotiate the potential land mines of a first day back than Cheyenne, her birth mother, reappears three years after abandoning Lacy, demanding custody again. Memories quickly resurface—of strange “dreams,” spell-casting, confusion, and suffering. Fearing the rage and hate that marked her earlier life, Lacy tries to make space for “the light” she learned from her stepmother, but Cheyenne’s erratic, domineering behavior leaves Lacy questioning everything. Compact and intense, it’s a bravura examination of neglect, abuse, and survival, though first-time novelist Stirling struggles to resolve the “and then she woke up” moment. The shift in register is softened by her choice to forgo a conventional plot arc, and even if the ending is slightly off-key, the accomplishment of the story as a whole is impressive. Ages 14–up. Agent: Molly Ker Hawn, Bent Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/08/2014
Release date: 02/24/2015
Genre: Children's
Ebook - 192 pages - 978-0-545-69575-6
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