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Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel

Review

Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel

Written by A. W. Jantha with illustrations by Matt Griffin

The Sanderson Sisters are back and witchier than ever. HOCUS POCUS AND THE ALL-NEW SEQUEL, written by A.W. Jantha, releases just in time for the film’s 25th anniversary. This original young adult novel features a thrilling adaptation of the original story followed by a new tale that builds on and expands the lore first set-out in the iconic 1993 Disney film. This double-feature book is the perfect introduction for those new to the world of Hocus Pocus or for lifelong fans looking for an enjoyable read as they wait for fall to finally roll around again.

Part One of the book is a masterful retelling of the story which has become an undeniable Halloween classic. Faithful to the original tale of Max, Allison and Dani’s fight against the fiendish Sanderson sisters, A.W. Jantha’s adaptation manages to be fresh and exciting while infusing the story with the same heart and wit that is found on screen. Remarkably, Jantha also manages to add new wrinkles to this timeless yarn, whose additions will find their expansion in the sequel.

"This double-feature book is the perfect introduction for those new to the world of Hocus Pocus or for lifelong fans looking for an enjoyable read as they wait for fall to finally roll around again."

Part Two is the all-new original sequel set 25 years after the events of the first. It follows the hair-raising Halloween hijinks of 17-year-old Poppy Dennison, daughter of Halloween heroes Max and Allison. Unwilling to learn from the mistakes of her parents, Poppy inadvertently summons the Sanderson sisters back from the grave who once again run amok on All Hallows Eve. Thankfully, Poppy isn’t alone in her quest to save Salem and the world from the latest nefarious plot of Winnie and her sinister sisters. Her friends, Travis and Isabella, stand beside her along with a few familiar faces from the past and some unlikely foes turned allies. As their Halloween night turns to nightmare, it becomes a desperate race against time to stop the coming witchpocalpyse and bring order to Salem and justice to the evil witches once again.

This sequel is just as exciting as the classic story. It does an amazing job of expanding the universe these stories are set in. The legend of the Sanderson sisters is deepened in unexpected and satisfying ways. The expansion of their histories and unexpected connections to characters both new and familiar bring greater dimension to them and their world. It knits together three timelines and brings cohesion to the two stories. All the classic tropes we’ve come to expect from Hocus Pocus are found in this new tale and many are delightfully updated for a generation conditioned by social media and modern communication.

The romantic through-line in this book is also a homage to the original Hocus Pocus story with a wonderful update. The stakes are set high early on and the action and adventure reflect this urgency of narrative, with moments that will have you blasting through pages to find out what happens next. Throughout it all, the book is filled with heart and life lessons that we all need reminding of now and again. At its core, this is a story about friendship and the openness that is required of such a relationship. It is about overcoming the differences found between people, healing old wounds and seeing what can happen when those ideals are committed too wholeheartedly. It is also about the joy and fun of Halloween and the way in which our fears can be conquered with help from and for those whom we love.

This book is not to be missed! It will put you in the mood for mulled cider and crunchy golden leaves. For pop-up costume shops and fun size candy bars. For a chill in the air and evil on the wind. Read these sinister tales of wicked witches and holiday heroes for a taste of Halloween magic any time of year.

Reviewed by Michael Crowe on July 16, 2018

Hocus Pocus and the All-New Sequel
Written by A. W. Jantha with illustrations by Matt Griffin