cover image Spells Trouble (Sisters of Salem #1)

Spells Trouble (Sisters of Salem #1)

P.C. and Kristin Cast. Wednesday, $18.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-2507-6563-5

Descendants of a witch who escaped persecution during the Salem witch trials, twins Hunter and Mercy Goode, cued as white, are celebrating their 16th birth- day with a ritual to confirm their patron deities. When the ritual goes awry and their mother dies in front of them, the twins search for ways to seal the five rotting gates of the underworld—representing Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, Japanese, and Norse mythology—that mark the boundary of their small Illinois town and have let in a one-eyed monster on a killing spree. Hunter and Mercy search for the cyclops while dealing with their own problems—Hunter’s anxiety over being bullied for her queerness, and Mercy’s aggressive boyfriend. When Hunter is asked to renounce her chosen god in favor of saving her sister and the town, her identity and power are put into question. Awkward descriptions (“Appeal poured from Emily like a tapped tree poured sap”) and troubling references to Native American people as magical conduits for white characters practicing witchcraft are found throughout, and an explicit sex scene feels out of place. Switching viewpoints among several characters, the mother-daughter collaborators (The Dysasters) also provide exciting cliffhangers that their fans will enjoy. Ages 12–up. [em]Agents: Steven Salpeter and Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown. (May) [/em]