by Maya Gold
Genre: YA Paranormal
Format: ARC obtained from Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for my honest review.
Midnight Minute: Abby has been having strange dreams, and upon visiting the town of Salem, she discovers that she is a descendant of one of the accused witches from the Salem Witch Trials.
Expected Publication: 04.01.13
There’s more than one way to be powerful . . .
It is during a routine school project that Abby Silva–sixteen and nearly friendless–makes a startling discovery: She is descended from women who were accused of witchcraft back in 1600s Salem. And when Abby visits nearby Salem, strange, inexplicable events start to unfold. Objects move when she wills them to. Candles burst into sudden flame. And an ancient spellbook somehow winds up in her possession.
Trying to harness her newfound power, Abby concocts a love potion to win over her longtime crush–and exact revenge upon his cruel, bullying girlfriend. But old magic is not to be trifled with. Soon, Abby is thrust headlong into a world of hexes, secrets, and danger. And then there’s Rem Anders, the beautiful, mysterious Salem boy who seems to know more about Abby than he first lets on.
A reckoning is coming, and Abby will have to make sense of her history–and her heart–before she can face the powerful truth.
~ You can tell the author spent some time researching in Salem, Mass, because the town feels alive and vivid. The best part of this book was the fact that I now really want to go to Salem. Especially during Halloween. (hint, hint, honey, if you’re reading this).
~ Spellbinding was a fast read, but it really felt more like a middle grade read than a YA book. Abby might be driving and working part time, but she felt much younger. It felt more like the YA from the 1980’s, where if you were writing about 16 year olds, your target audience was around 12.
~ Abby’s history teacher asks the class to trace back their family tree. Which is a cool idea. However, Ms. Baptiste, an African American, makes the comment to one complaining student that who knows? Maybe one of their ancestors might have owned one of hers. Now, maybe that part won’t make the final cut, but it really bothered me.
~ Rem is a wonderful character, and he was interesting. He’s taking a gap year, working, and he’s got a spark of realism. And he has special eyes. (Look, look with your special eyes!).
~ There were qualities that I liked in Abby, but for the most part I had trouble connecting with her. I really disliked the way she treated her friend and even though Travis’ girlfriend is a total wench and her dad’s new girlfriend was suddenly everywhere, Abby went too far with her actions.
~ Abby has a fear of crossing bridges, and hasn’t learned to swim, which I assume is a nod to the legend that witches float when thrown into water, and Abby doesn’t until Rem teaches her. I liked Abby best when she was spending time with Rem. There’s a part in the novel where Abby feels like she can be completely herself with Rem, and that’s what real love feels like.
~ Abby’s mom is dead, and her dad is all about her little brother, to the point where it’s child neglect. I could understand if he was uncomfortable with a teenage daughter, but he just seems very uncaring and oblivious.
~ Like in a lot of YA paranormal novels, Abby doesn’t just have witchy powers, she’s got super-witchy powers. Her’s powers border on Mary Sue-ism (the power to “see” the right answers on tests, which is a good thing, because she’s busy cruising around with Travis, the BMOC).
~ I liked the store Abby works at, it totally reminds me of a shop I use to buy incense at when I was in college. I loved burning incense, but I stopped because more than one person asked me if I was on drugs, because I guess marijuana and burning incense are linked? Screw them, I should have kept burning my sandlewood. I’m going to go buy some today.
~I thought Gold’s idea of Fire, Water, Air and Earth witches was very cool, although I found the link to the Salem witches to be a little weak.
~ The ending is wrapped up in a sparkly, magical bow, but I don’t mind that. If they toned down a few of the Fire-starter moments, this could totally be a Nickelodeon movie.
Rachel- cello playing brainiac senior, and Abby’s only friend
Travis Brown- handsome and supposedly really wonderful even though he’s dating
Megan Keith- who we know is shallow and bitchy because she is compared to Megan Fox and the Kardashian clan.
Ms. Baptiste- Abby’s history teacher, assigns Abby’s project.
Amber and Sloan- Megan’s cronies.
Matt- Abby’s younger bro, apparently he just plays sports and is showered with all the attention that Abby’s dad can provide.
Samson and Kate- two classmates that serve as props to Abby’s transformation from wallflower to Travis’ squeeze.
Rem- magical eyed Salem boy, previously he made a few key guest starring moments in Abby’s dream.
Dyami- owner of the new age bookstore- she and Rem are really the best characters from the book.
Joe- Abby’s dad, apparently can’t be bothered with his daughter.
Danielle- Joe’s new girlfriend and target of Abby’s new powers.
Honestly, this book wasn’t for me, and I don’t think I can recommend it to any of my bookish friends. It’s far more appropriate for my younger nieces, but Abby’s immaturity was bothersome. I’d really prefer to force them to watch the 80’s movie gem Teen Witch (which of course I own!). I probably would have dnfed this book if it wasn’t an arc tour. It does have a really cool cover, I just felt it didn’t live up to the interesting premise.
Spellbinding gets a Midnight Book Rating of: