Misfortune seems to follow the Sayers family. Georgia has tried to re-establish normality since her mother died, and she’s no closer to escaping her strange past when a mysterious fire destroys the only other high school in her tiny Texas town. Georgia is thrown into the company of Luke, a cryptic senior who brings her face to face with the truth about her heritage. Her loving, perfect mother created her family for the singular purpose of birthing five of the most powerful witches in the world, capable of terrifying magic. Now that she knows the truth, can Georgia keep her siblings safe? Who is behind the dark cult that’s after her family? And does Luke know more about her powers than even Georgia does?
Georgia Sayers believes she is a regular teenager, albeit with a few more issues than most: oldest of five siblings, she takes on the role of their dead mother, who committed suicide, putting Georgia into therapy, along with her young brother who hears voices. Their step-dad is always busy at work (in a maternity unit) and someone is keeping alive the old slur that Georgia’s family are witches.
Well, surprise, surprise, that’s just what they are, only at the start of this story none of them know it. It’s left up to the new boy at school (after his own school burned down) to find the chink in the spell that keeps them from this alarming knowledge. The girls all take to it reasonably well, but the brother, Wyatt, not so.
This is a well-written book, with personable and believable characters, great dialogue, smooth prose, and an excellent grasp of pacing, with the tension ramping up with ever increasing speed towards the climax, that comes complete with a neat twist.
Things I really enjoyed were: the knowledge of gemstones and their magical properties, the passage where one of the younger girls firmly instructs a poltergeist to behave in a civilized manner, and the little twist reveal at the end that I’m not going to give away!
Then there were the few things that kept it, for me, to a four star rather than the full five. First and foremost was that the prologue (which is not formally titled as such) is from an undisclosed viewpoint, which left me confused about the timeline until nearly the end, when the identity of that vp character finally became clear. At one point, one of the sisters suddenly explains a spell, and I had no idea where she gained that knowledge, nor did anyone ask how she knew. I found the step-father conveniently absent much of the time, leaving even the youngest children without parental supervision rather more than I found believable, and in the final struggle, Wyatt suddenly seemed very strong for a child and – whilst there is a good reason – his sister didn’t question it.
Finally, and this is a matter of personal taste, I ‘m really not keen on stories told in present tense, but as a well-paced and plotted YA paranormal, I’d recommend it as well suited to that readership.
Kate was born in a tiny town outside of Austin, TX. At fourteen, she was accepted to a creative writing program at Oxford University in England. She attended boarding schools in Texas and California. When not writing, she’s contending with her activity ADD, which entails horseback riding, aerial silks, and playing with her menagerie or rescued animals.