Cackle

Rachel Harrison. Berkley, $27 (304p) ISBN 978-0-593-20202-9
Ghosts, witches, and romantic despair anchor this cheerfully ominous witch-lit contemporary as a small-town high school teacher becomes embroiled in an unsettling friendship. Self-sabotaging, heavy-drinking Annie Crane is disenchanted with life in New York City and fed up with being “just friends” with her ex-boyfriend while wildly grieving their breakup. When she moves upstate to picturesque Rowan for a job at the high school, she’s bowled over by her gorgeous neighbor, Sophie, who easily befriends her—despite terrifying everyone else in town. The women fall into codependency, but while Annie loves feeling wanted, she soon learns that her new best friend is a witch, complete with a haunted home, controlling ideas about Annie’s relationships, and powers that turn violent when Annie pulls away. As Annie finds her spine, she realizes she has a few powers of her own—and they might help her to build the life she actually wants. Harrison (The Return) ably executes this breezy tale, but Annie’s harsh self-deprecation and rejection sensitivity drain some of its joy as it ducks all its own questions. Readers will need a taste for black humor to stomach the deep pain hiding behind the sarcastic narration, and even then, this ode to choosing the weirder life ultimately delivers less empowerment than revenge fantasy. Agent: Lucy Carson, the Friedrich Agency. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 07/09/2021
Release date: 10/05/2021
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
Book - 1 pages - 978-0-593-33272-6
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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