Published by Candlewick Press on March 13, 2018
Genres: Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Format: eBook, Mass Market Paperback
Reviewed by: Tacoma
When Rona Blackburn landed on Anathema Island more than a century ago, her otherworldly skills might have benefited friendlier neighbors. Guilt and fear instead led the island’s original eight settlers to burn “the witch” out of her home. So Rona cursed them. Fast-forward one hundred–some years: All Nor Blackburn wants is to live an unremarkable teenage life. She has reason to hope: First, her supernatural powers, if they can be called that, are unexceptional. Second, her love life is nonexistent, which means she might escape the other perverse side effect of the matriarch’s backfiring curse, too. But then a mysterious book comes out, promising to cast any spell for the right price. Nor senses a storm coming and is pretty sure she’ll be smack in the eye of it. In her second novel, Leslye Walton spins a dark, mesmerizing tale of a girl stumbling along the path toward self-acceptance and first love, even as the Price Guide’s malevolent author — Nor’s own mother — looms and threatens to strangle any hope for happiness.
A PRICE GUIDE TO THE OCCULT immediately drew me in. With its intimate voice and rich magical backstory, Nor's story started strong. Though readers should be warned that A PRICE GUIDE TO THE OCCULT deals with issues of self-harm and child abuse.
If you're looking for another YA novel featuring witches, check out Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.