"The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." — Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Book of Shadows (Sweep, No. 1) by Cate Tiernan

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Summary: A teenage girl meets the new student in her high school and is drawn to him before she discovers he's a Wiccan. Her attraction to Cal grows, despite of, or perhaps because of witchcraft.

My book club was lucky enough to have Young Adult author Loretta Ellsworth come speak to our book club after we read her book In a Heartbeat. After we discussed her book, we talked about upcoming trends in YA fiction.

Loretta Ellsworth mentioned that vampires are a waning plot device, at least in the YA market. She mentioned that werewolves seem to be popular, and talked about Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, which I hated. But I'm here to tell you that I can't get enough of the Sweep series by Cate Tiernan.

Morgan describes herself as plain and boring. And she seems like it. She's responsible, she helps fellow students with math problems and seems a little self-conscious when her best friend Bree tries to include her in Bree's clique of popular friends. Morgan's much more comfortable hanging back.

But Morgan is assigned to show new transfer student Cal around their school and can hardly function because Cal is so cute. I totally identified with Morgan, as whenever I encountered a gorgeous male, I can't stop giggling, even today. Cal is very laid back and at ease with all the different groups of people, the popular kids, the brains, the athletes, the stoners, the artists. When he invites all of them to a campfire in the woods, everyone is excited to attend a cool party. But Cal suggests that they hold hands in a circle and thank Mother Nature. Cal "comes out" as a witch (male Wiccans are still witches, apparently). Morgan is intrigued by the ceremony but her best friend Bree is more intrigued by Cal.

Bree starts exploring witchcraft as a way to get closer to Cal, and shares her books and enthusiasm with Morgan. Morgan starts exploring witchcraft on her own, but she also finds herself strangely drawn to Cal as well, but of course doesn't say anything to anyone since Bree is actively pursuing Cal. 

Morgan's mother finds her books and bans all witchcraft books and forbids Morgan to be involved in any of the Wiccan holidays and ceremonies. Morgan is torn between her typical reaction to obey her parents and her curiosity about a gentle philosophy that really seems to speak to her. Morgan starts "practicing" on her own, and creates a potion that clears up her friend's horrible acne. Morgan is astonished that her potion worked but gets scolded by Cal for practicing magick without the recipient's consent. Bree also thinks that Morgan is practicing magick to get closer to Cal and makes Morgan choose between their friendship and magick.

Morgan chooses magick, but recognizes that her pull toward magick will eventually cause problems in her whole life - with her family, her church and even her friendships. I am so hooked on this series. It has humor, teen angst, a cute guy and lots of potential problems. Delicious!

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