Thank you to Delacorte Press, Random House Children’s and Netgalley for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: Bad Witch Burning by Jessica Lewis
Release Date: August 24th 2021
Tags: Urban Fantasy | Young Adult | Necromancy | Paranormal | Ghosts | Friendship
Trigger/Content Warnings: Death of a Dog | Parental Neglect | Domestic Abuse | Physical Abuse | Emotional Abuse | Violence to a minor | Gun Violence
Katrell doesn’t mind talking to the dead; she just wishes it made more money. Clients pay her to talk to their deceased loved ones, but it isn’t enough to support her unemployed mother and Mom’s deadbeat boyfriend-of-the-week. Things get worse, when a ghost warns her to stop the summonings or she’ll “burn everything down.” Katrell is willing to call them on their bluff, though. She has no choice. What do ghosts know about eating peanut butter for dinner?
However, when her next summoning accidentally raises someone from the dead, Katrell realizes that a live body is worth a lot more than a dead apparition. And, warning or not, she has no intention of letting this lucrative new business go.
But magic doesn’t come for free, and soon dark forces are closing in on Katrell. The further she goes, the more she risks the lives of not only herself, but those she loves. Katrell faces a choice: resign herself to poverty, or confront the darkness before it’s too late.
If you’ve taken a look at the trigger warnings for this book you will know right away this is a book that broke my heart. And it will break your heart too because everything about this book is so real. The author confirms she’s dealt with similar situations in her own life in the past in the foreword. And you can tell.
Katrell can talk to the death with the help of letters. She doesn’t mind and it earns her an extra penny to help pay with the rent. Which she mostly pays on her own. Her home situation is terrible. Her mom has no job and keeps with a dead beat guy who beats Katrell. They expect her to work and make money so they have a roof over their heads and can do ‘fun’ things. Katrells only break comes from her friend Will who lives with foster parents who adopted her. She is safe there, but only Will knowns the truth about her home situation.
After a horrible incident Katrell accidentally raises someone from the dead. And she realizes she can earn a lot more money to keep a house and maybe even get out of poverty. You can imagine how well that went.
So much about this book broke my heart. Of course we have the big themes but more than that it was the broken hearted girl in Katrell that she didn’t want to show. The girl that couldn’t believe Wills mom would hang up one of her pieces of poetry. The girl that didn’t think she was worth of any kind of love. What her mom did to her was unforgiveable. But Katrell went back because that is the loyalty of a child to their parents. She didn’t want to get her mom into trouble so she never said anything to the social worker at her school. Everything about this book was real and it hurt.
The only thing I have is that I would have liked a bit of world buiding on the magic. I realize this is obviously not the focal point of this book but if you are going to use it try and put in a little more. It was just a little too thin.
Having said that this book is heart breaking and so well written. One that you won’t forget after reading.