cover image The Price Guide to the Occult

The Price Guide to the Occult

Leslye Walton. Candlewick, $18.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9110-3

Walton follows The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender with a lyrical and robust multigenerational story set on the fictional Anathema Island in the Pacific Northwest. Now inhabited by hippies and artists, the island was originally populated by a small group of homesteading farmers, as well as Rona Blackburn, a witch. When Rona’s romantic relationship with one of the island’s founding fathers’ faltered, she cast a vindictive spell that forever entwined her bloodline to the island. In the present day, 17-year-old Nor is the eighth generation of Blackburn daughters. Like the women before her, Nor has a single magical power, known as a Burden: in Nor’s case, animals, plants, and insects speak to her. When Nor’s abusive mother, Fern, publishes Rona’s spell book, the wildlife on and around the island flees, leaving Nor and her friends and family to fight the black magic that Fern has begun to harvest. In succinct, evocative sentences, Walton paints vivid scenes while maintaining a gripping plot. Addressing abandonment, self-harm, first love, and other topics, Walton weaves a rewardingly complex tale that brims with suspense and romance. Ages 14–up. [em]Agent: Bernadette Baker-Baughman, Victoria Sanders Agency (Mar.) [/em]