The Witch Haven

Sasha Peyton Smith. Simon & Schuster, $19.99 (448p) ISBN 978-1-53445-438-5
Grief and empowerment lace this engrossing duology opener as it careens from boarding schools to basement pit fights in a casually diverse 1911 New York. Since her brother William’s murder, sweatshop dressmaker Frances Hallowell, 17 and presumed white, lives in poverty and has closed off her heart. But when an assault by her drunk employer wakes her inborn magic—and ends with him dead—she’s swept away to the overgrown, walled Haxahaven Academy: a school for female and nonbinary witches that’s disguised as a tuberculosis sanitarium. Soon, hints about William’s murder appear in Frances’s room, and his Irish friend Finn, part of a magical gentleman’s club, offers to teach her a spell to speak with the dead. But as the students’ ambitions surpass learning to dampen their magic, dreamwalker Finn haunts Frances’s sleep, and more boys die, Frances must stop the murders—and find a way to own her magic. Devotees of Libba Bray’s The Diviners will enjoy debut author Smith’s affectionate group of witches breaking through straitlaced expectations in a historical New York whose grittiness never tips into horror. Ages 14–up. Agent: Hillary Jacobson, ICM Partners. (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 06/24/2021
Release date: 08/01/2021
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-1-7971-3514-4
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-7971-3512-0
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