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I Belong

Review: Witchtown by Cory Putman Oakes

Title: Witchtown

Author: Cory Putman Oakes

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: N/A

Publication Date: July 18, 2017

Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages

ISBN-10: 0544765575 (HMH Teen)

ISBN-13: 978-0544765573 (HMH Teen)

Reviewed by: Kristie


When sixteen-year-old Macie O’Sullivan and her masterfully manipulative mother Aubra arrive at the gates of Witchtown—the most famous and mysterious witch-only haven in the world—they have one goal in mind: to rob it for all it’s worth.

But that plan derails when Macie and Aubra start to dig deeper into Witchtown’s history and uncover that there is more to the quirky haven than meets the eye.

Exploring the haven by herself, Macie finds that secrets are worth more than money in Witchtown.

Secrets have their own power.

Quick & Dirty: Mysterious, dark story that is full of secrets and an awful mother.

Opening Sentence: Witchtown looks more like a prison than a town.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Fans of witches just may enjoy this modern-day story set in contemporary times. Witchtown is set a few years after the Second Inquisition where Witches have been forced to register and/or live in Havens. I found Witchtown to be an entertaining read set in a world that could unfortunately be very realistic whether towards witches or some other group. The premise of this books follows Macie O’Sullivan and her awful mother Aubra. Don’t read this if you don’t like books with unsupportive mothers.

As far back as Macie can remember, she and her mother, Aubra, have run cons throughout the Havens that are dotted across the states. Her mother likes to rob the Haven’s blind and since she is a witch she casts a forget spell so the Haven’s never remember who robbed them. Aubra likes to use her daughter Macie as a tool for distraction, although Aubra can be pretty distracting herself.

Witchtown is supposed to be the final con for Aubra and Macie. The town is supposed to have enough money to live comfortably for the rest of their lives. What they find in Witchtown is far from the rumors they have heard about the place and robbing it may be more difficult than they thought. As Macie infiltrates Witchtown she learns that the town and the people have even more crazy secrets than she does, and she’s got a lot!

Aubra is your typical evil mother. She uses Macie and has no problem putting her down. Aubra uses her body to distract the men and get whatever secrets she needs. She is a really awful person. She may be a little much for the younger teen reader.

Macie is the character who knows she’s doing bad things but is willing to do whatever it takes to keep getting her mother’s continued love. Macie had a terrible experience with her last job and is now having doubts about what her and her mother are doing. I felt that Macie was a bit abrasive in the beginning, she certainly had no problem passing judgement on some of the other characters, but she begins to learn lessons that drastically begin to change her state of mind.

There is a “love” connection between Macie and a guy in Witchtown that I really had a hard time buying just for the sake that he tried to kiss her after only interacting with her for a short while. Plus, Macie has this unrequited love thing going on for another boy. A boy that she keeps remembering in flashbacks. Then all of a sudden, she’s over him… that was honestly my only real issue with this novel.

Witchtown is told entirely in the first person from Macie’s point of view. It is a contemporary story but it is hard to tell at times since Witchtown doesn’t like to use modern conveniences. The story has more of a mystery feel with some paranormal elements thrown in.

Overall, Witchtown is a mysterious, dark story with a protagonist with many secrets that rival the town she hopes to rob with her mother. There are aspects of this story that I could certainly see turned into a sequel but otherwise this is a standalone novel. This novel read very quickly as secrets are unveiled just as quickly as more secrets are unleashed on the main character.

Notable Scene:

My mother introduced herself, and me, and Pendle Bishop gave no sign that she had ever seen us before. Once, I thought I caught her looking at my moonstone. But at second glance, I saw that her eyes were so cloudy and unfocused it was a wonder she could see anything at all. Even with the thick glasses.

Eventually, she puttered away. My mother flashed me an “I told you so” expression just as the mayor reemerged from her office.

“A job,” my mother reminded me, lowering her voice. “By tomorrow.”

Then she smiled and tossed something at me. I caught it. I didn’t even need to look to know that it was Pendle Bishop’s wallet.

“Easy as that,” my mother trilled, then winked as she turned to meet the mayor. “Darkness and clouds!”

“Darkness and clouds,” I muttered at her back.

FTC Advisory: HMH Books for Young Readers provided me with a copy of Witchtown. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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