cover image The Scapegracers (The Scapegracers #1)

The Scapegracers (The Scapegracers #1)

Hannah Abigail Clarke. Erewhon, $17.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-64566-000-2

In this fierce debut, a trilogy opener, Clarke conjures up a powerful, passionate tale of female friendship and found family. Senior Sideways Pike, a witch, is used to being considered a social outcast, but when the three most popular girls at school pay her $40 to spice up a Halloween party with a little magic, she accepts. Her spell spirals out of control and leaves chalk sigils and runes all over the house, making an impression upon her fellow high schoolers. The clique adopts her as their own, and the four soon form a coven, exacting vengeance upon their enemies and exploring the depths of their new magical and emotional connections. As Sideways and her new friends—Yates, Jing, and Daisy—grow comfortable with their power, they’re hunted by a family dedicated to “purifying the world” by eradicating magic. Sideways’s lyrically defiant voice memorably conveys the group’s rough-edged intimacy, and messages about magic’s ambiguity and teenage girls’ power grants this story a complex edge. Unapologetically queer—many of the characters, including Sideways and her adoptive dads, fall under the LGBTQ umbrella—and seething with raw emotion, this fantasy opens strong while leaving much to be explored in future installments. Ages 14–up. Agent: Abby Schulman, Rebecca Friedman Literary. (Sept.)