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This review is also available on my blog, Bows & Bullets Reviews
Josephine Hemlock has always known that the old witch under the bridge wasn't a myth....because that witch is her grandmother. And, like her grandma, she's a witch. She's spent the majority of her life hiding from the Curse that took her mother's life (as well as many of her other relatives) and it's going rather well until a mysterious man shows up looking for her mother. So now she must figure out who is behind the curse and destroy them before the curse claims her or her beloved Grandma. Will she succeed or will she succumb to the curse?
Josephine is that perfect combination of spirit and fear. She is fiesty and determined to do the best she can, but she's also terrified of her grandmother dying and of catching the curse. She has a great group of friends and a new romance with the hot, sweet guy at school, but somehow still manages to feel lonely because she can't share her magic with anyone. She's so beautiful and awesome, but still self-conscious in the most adorable way around her new beau. Her determination to save her Grandmother was endearing as hell.
Winn, said beau, is absolutely awesome. I've read a multitude of bad boy types, and he's nice guy image was a great change. He's genuinely a good guy, who always does the right thing and really likes Josephine as she is. He's a nice looking, muscly guy, but the muscles don't just miraculously appear where they have no business being on a teenage boy. They are the result of days working on his parents farm. I loved that. I'm sick of reading about characters that are all toned and hot but for no apparent reason. It was nice to see that there was a legitimate need for him to be all muscly, not just because, you know, it's hot.
There are is a parade of additional characters, including Jo's two best friends Kate and Gwen) and the inevitable other point in the love triangle, Levi. Who I kinda liked better, because he has a bad boy vibe. I know, I know, I just went on a spiel about how great it was to read about a nice guy and I like the bad guy more. I don't know what's wrong with me. I'm just fucked up. Anyway, I liked all the characters. I loved that the friends get let in on the secret and not pushed aside. What I really loved though, was the darkness of it. I've read a review or two claiming this wasn't dark enough. I wholeheartedly disagree. What I really loved about this was it's darkness. I've read a lot of YA's or witch stories in general, where the people are just born with the ability and they don't have to cast spells or make potions or anything, just wave their hand and poof! Problem solved. That's not the case here. Everything has a cost and sometime it's as simple as pulling out a flew strands of hair or going color blind for a day or two. Other times it's yanking out a fingernail or a tooth. The debt must always been paid. I loved (loved loved loved) that darker take on it. It felt more like witchcraft or voodoo, less like pansy-ass hand waving.
This is exactly the novel I was looking for when I started reading it. It's a little slow to start, but has everything you need for a great novel, with dark voodoo, a great mystery, and a light romance. This is the best witchy novel I've read since Once A Witch!
****Thank you to HarperTeen for providing me with an eARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review****