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The Price Guide to the Occult


The Price Guide to the Occult

From birth, Nor Blackburn has done everything to not be associated with her family and its history. She is the eighth daughter in a line of women, starting with Rona Blackburn, her great-great-great-great-great grandmother, who landed on Anathema Island and was shunned by the “original” eight settlers. Since then, each daughter has been doomed to have a whirlwind affair with one of the descendants of the original eight and produce another daughter. The curse also dilutes the Blackburns’ supernatural powers as each new daughter is born. Nor is grateful for this, for all she wants is a normal, quiet and unexceptional life. This all seems to be going according to plan when a mysterious book comes out, promising to cast any spell at a price. But when this cost becomes too dire, Nor realizes that she must tap into her hidden power to save Anathema Island before it is too late.

From the author of the 2015 William C. Morris YA Debut Award Finalist THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER comes another tale of magic, mischief and generations of women learning to embrace their history and fates.

"THE PRICE GUIDE TO THE OCCULT boasted absolutely beautiful and intricate writing, characters, plot and history."

Ever since I read THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER about two years ago, I have been waiting not-so-patiently for Leslye Walton to release another novel. AVA LAVENDER was my perfect stew of a book with all the right ingredients: magical realism, history, generational boundaries, absolutely breathtaking writing and a little dash of romance thrown in. THE PRICE GUIDE TO THE OCCULT is somewhat “magical realism” but it is way more believable and real than the magic(k) in AVA LAVENDER. PRICE GUIDE made me believe that this kind of magic could be out there somewhere and made me very much want to find it. I mean, it is about witches, and I thoroughly loved it.

Unsurprisingly, THE PRICE GUIDE TO THE OCCULT boasted absolutely beautiful and intricate writing, characters, plot and history. I think the writing was my favorite part of the novel; finally, a book that could engross me and also challenge me while reading it. While I loved most of the characters, I found that since there were so many names flying around, I tended to get characters, families and even the names of the pets mixed up. I always say quality over quantity, and Walton could have cut some characters and improved the characterization and arcs of the other, more important side characters.

I loved the plot, also, but like AVA LAVENDER, it took a while to really get going and awhile for me to become fully invested in the characters and story. Once I did, though, I could not stop until I finished the novel. The history that was created in PRICE GUIDE was also one of my favorite parts. I love books that tell stories over many years because the reader can see how times change, thus showing the differing experiences for a great grandma and a great granddaughter, for example. In this novel, the storyline did not flash back many times to the past, but when it did, it offered vital insight to the present, and I very much enjoyed it.

Overall, I absolutely and thoroughly loved THE PRICE GUIDE TO THE OCCULT. I would not place it above THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER, but it was a fantastic follow-up to AVA LAVENDER and did not disappoint in the slightest. The ending of PRICE GUIDE seemed to set up a sequel (hopefully), so if you need me, I will, once again, be eagerly awaiting the next Leslye Walton novel to hit the shelves.

Perfect for fans of Walton’s first novel, any magical realism book(s), and THE CAREFUL UNDRESSING OF LOVE by Corey Ann Haydu.

Reviewed by Bryn D., Teen Board Member on March 14, 2018

The Price Guide to the Occult
by Leslye Walton

  • Publication Date: March 13, 2018
  • Genres: Fantasy, Fiction, Young Adult 13+
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick
  • ISBN-10: 0763691100
  • ISBN-13: 9780763691103