cover image Payback’s a Witch

Payback’s a Witch

Lana Harper. Berkley, $16 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-593-33606-9

Harper makes her adult debut (after YA novel Blood Countess, written as Lana Popović) with a queer rom-com that bewitches from the very first page. Almost a decade after Emmy Harlow fled small-town Thistle Grove with a broken heart, she returns home. Once a generation, the four magical families of Thistle Grove gather for a tournament to decide the strongest family, and the Harlows have always been the unbiased arbiter. This year’s competition becomes complicated when Emmy is drawn into a plan to help her best friend, Linden Thorn, and the alluring Talia Avramov seek revenge on the man who double-timed them, Gareth Blackmoore—who also happens to be the heartbreaker who drove Emmy from her home in the first place. Talia, Gareth, and Linden’s twin brother will all compete in the tournament while Emmy must remain impartial—a task which proves difficult as her anger toward Gareth grows, though not as quickly as her attraction to Talia. This magical joyride manages to feel both vibrantly current and timelessly mystical while avoiding the typical queer rom-com stereotypes. Combining John Tucker Must Die with a helping of an adult Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and a dash of Charmed, this addictive concoction begs for adaptation. Agent: Taylor Haggerty, Root Literary. (Oct.)