cover image Spellcaster


Claudia Gray. HarperTeen, $17.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-196120-5

High school senior Nadia Caldani is both the new girl in Captive’s Sound and a powerful novice witch. Her father moved what’s left of their family from Chicago to the depressed Rhode Island beach town after Nadia’s mother, who is also a witch, deserted them. A near-tragic car accident sets in motion Nadia’s relationship with the handsome but cursed Mateo Perez, and also alerts her witch sense that something strange lurks underneath Captive’s Sound. Enter Verlaine, another outsider who quickly becomes Nadia’s best friend, and Elizabeth Pike, an outwardly perfect girl who has her eye on Mateo. While Gray (the Evernight series) relies on a few too many paranormal clichés (two car-accident rescues, an overly broody star-crossed romance), she does a fine job of developing the good and evil witches around which her plot is built. The author’s intricate portrayal of witchcraft—including its theories, rules, spells, and history—raises this novel a notch above others in the genre, and Nadia is an appealing heroine as she juggles personal pain and looming supernatural disaster. Ages 13–up. Agent: Diana Fox, Fox Literary. (Mar.)