Danny didn’t know what she was looking for when she and her mother spread out a map of the United States and Danny put her finger down on Tempest, California. What she finds are the Grays: a group of friends who throw around terms like queer and witch like they’re ordinary and everyday, though they feel like an earthquake to Danny. But Danny didn’t just find the Grays. They cast a spell that calls her halfway across the country, because she has something they need: she can bring back Imogen, the most powerful of the Grays, missing since the summer night she wandered into the woods alone. But before Danny can find Imogen, she finds a dead boy with a redwood branch through his heart. Something is very wrong amid the trees and fog of the Lost Coast, and whatever it is, it can kill.
Lush, eerie, and imaginative, Amy Rose Capetta’s tale overflows with the perils and power of discovery — and what it means to find your home, yourself, and your way forward.
Oh My Goodness! I am not even sure where to start with this book and my thoughts on it. Going into it I was all “yasss, gay witches!” and keen on another queer romance. This book goes so far beyond that. If you love ‘The Craft’, or ‘Charmed’ or are a fan of the Weird Sisters from ‘The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ this is a book you will enjoy. As a big lover of magical realism, this is the genre at its peak for me. Plus it’s so damn gay I just can’t help but love it.
So full disclosure I’m originally a Michigan girl who turned into a California girl now in New Zealand. I know that pull that those great redwoods have. Danny’s thoughts and her need to kiss everyone, it is all so raw and wonderful. I loved the way she feels the outside of The Grays, but wanting so hard to be part of them. We connect to her struggles from wanting to appease her mother yet feeling constrained by the rules. Even though we know those rules are there due to Danny’s history and troubles.
There is great representation in this novel with both POC, nonbinary individuals, asexual and aromantic individuals, all with a feminist approach. There are conversations about pronouns, and slut-shaming and what happens when your parents refuse to accept you. Around this exists the bigger picture of what happened to Imogen and what is going on around town.
She made me like POV switches!
Amy-Rose, who identifies as nonbinary and bi, writes as if this is a secret love letter whispered out into the world. Each line full of poetry and power, never a word wasted. Somehow she manages to make me even put aside, here they work. Specifically, there are multiple POV changing frequently. But they are not as dis-jarring, or confusing as I usually find, here they add to the magic. Part of this I think is that Danny’s chapters are always in the first person. The other chapters are almost always groups and third person. Even the great redwoods have a few chapters solidifying them as a character.
In the end, this book is a coming of age novel about finding who you are. How everything you thought a discombobulating mess slots into place when you finally find yourself.
I give this book a solid 5 stars
Follow Amy-Rose Capetta:
Follow Candlewick Press:
A Review Copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers in exchange for an honest review.