cover image The Memory Thief (Thirteen Witches #1)

The Memory Thief (Thirteen Witches #1)

Jodi Lynn Anderson. Aladdin, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4814-8021-5

In this heavily allusive fantasy set in coastal Maine, narrator Rosie, an avid fantasy writer, lives alone with her neglectful mother, leaving herself parental notes (“You look taller today, sweetie”). When her best friend, assertive and athletic Germ, suggests that the new sixth graders abandon childish things, Rosie burns her stories, inadvertently unlocking a special sight that reveals the ghosts—some friendly, some menacing—coexisting in her home. Helping to locate an old volume, The Witch Hunter’s Guide to the Universe, the ghosts disclose the existence of 13 witches who conjure the world’s evil, Rosie’s mother’s past as the last known witch hunter, and the root of Rosie’s mother’s neglect in the covetous Memory Thief’s curse. But the sight also places Rosie, and others, in danger of that witch and her emissaries. In this novel of ghosts, memory, and story, Anderson (Midnight at the Electric) weaves components of children’s literature mainstays into a dreamlike first-person narrative. Though reveals are clearly telegraphed, an atmospherically rendered villain and a layered portrait of two friends intent on rescuing each other elevate this trilogy opener. Ages 9–13. [em]Agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary Studio. (Mar.) [/em]