Josephine Hemlock has spent the last 10 years hiding from the Curse that killed her mother. But when a mysterious man arrives at her ivy-covered, magic-fortified home, it’s clear her mother’s killer has finally come to destroy the rest of the Hemlock bloodline. Before Jo can even think about fighting back, she must figure out who she’s fighting in the first place. The more truth Jo uncovers, the deeper she falls into witchcraft darker than she ever imagined. Trapped and running out of time, she begins to wonder if the very Curse that killed her mother is the only way to save everyone she loves. – Goodreads
Oh how I enjoyed this book. It had witches! Character development! Friendships! Romance! Teens being teens! Josephine Hemlock comes from a family of female witches that has been spoiled by the Curse, something that is out to destroy the Hemlock bloodline. I say female witches because men never last in the family. Through use of brilliant flashbacks, Whipple shows us Josephine’s parents together and happy and shows us how it didn’t work. Which doesn’t only satisfy the reader, but also Josephine who begins to understand her parents better.
The book takes place during a time Josephine is in love with the cute boy of school, who of course has secrets of his own. Thankfully they aren’t the typical secrets and are an excellent twist in the novel. Not only does Josephine deal with the adorable boy, she also has to deal with her mother’s killer who is out to get not only her, but also her grandmother, one of the last people she has in her life that mean the world to her. When her grandmother falls horribly ill, Josephine learns who she can count on in her time of need. Her two friends are there for her and ultimately become her family when she needs them the most and it was a beautiful thing to see. Often in YA novels girls are catty and hate each other and this wasn’t like it at all. While Josephine has some moments with her friends (and understandably who doesn’t? I’m 25 and still have moments with my friends. Mostly HOW DO YOU NOT SEE THIS IS PISSING ME OFF AND I AM BARELY KEEPING IT TOGETHER. But I digress). Her relationship with Kat and Gwen were so authentic and I really enjoyed reading that.
What I also enjoyed in this novel is how Josephine grew. While she always embraced herself and her family heritage, when things changed, and not always for the better, she worked through it. Not once did I want to shake her and/or slap her. Okay that’s a lie, there was that one time, but to be fair, there is almost always that ONE time in a novel.
I cannot recommend this book enough. I love and adore it and continue to flail at Whipple’s writing.